Earlier in the week I wrote of the role that the running game will have to have if the Alabama Football team wishes to create a dynasty in Tuscaloosa, delivering its 3rd title in 4 years, and 15th national championship.
The Crimson Tide may not have four horsemen, but they do have a stable of four running backs that could each carry the ball twenty-plus times a game. However given the depth at the position, Alabama’s backs will wreak havoc on defenses with a pair of fresh legs in the backfield all game long.
Whether it is Eddie Lacy, Jalston Fowler, Dee Hart, or the freshman phenom TJ Yeldon, each back will bring a unique skill set to the field providing plenty of options for new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
Eddie Lacy, 6’0 220lbs Jr
Without question, Lacy will be the featured back in the ‘Bama backfield and deservedly so. Lacy has always shown plenty of potential and after overcoming a fumbling problem in his freshman season, he is primed to take the reigns in an offense that has produced two first round draft picks in two years.
Lacy is a complete back with the size to power through the line of scrimmage, the speed to take it to the house, and a spin move video game engineers can’t even replicate.
Jalston Fowler, 6’1 242lbs Jr
It is hard to believe that a back that averaged just under 7 yards a carry in limited duty could fly under the radar, but that has been the case with Fowler. After beginning his tenure atAlabamaon the defensive side of the ball at linebacker, Fowler has settled in nicely in the backfield.
Just by looking at his size you can tell that Fowler is the bruiser in this running back corps. However, don’t let the size fool you, he can break the big one as well (career long of 69 yards v. Ole Miss in 2011).
Dee Hart, 5’9 190lbs rFr
Hart was expected to have a big impact for the Crimson Tide in 2011, but was derailed by an ACL injury last summer. Now, Hart is back to full strength and showed the same flash he had prior to injury in this years spring game (5 carries for 44 yards).
Lacy and Fowler may be the first ones up, but Hart is way too explosive to keep on the sidelines. He’s this units home run hitter and will make an impact on the game as a change of pace back and as a receiver. Also, don’t be surprised if Hart shows up in the return game.
TJ Yeldon 6’2 216lbs Fr
Yeldon came to Tuscaloosa with lofty expectations as some recruiting analyst compared his running style to Eric Dickerson. Although the expectations were high, Yeldon lived up to the hype this spring stealing the show during the annual spring scrimmage game with nearly 200 yards of total offense (88 rushing, 91 receiving, 1 TD).
Yeldon may not make an immediate splash but is a talent too good not to get his share of carries. Given the depth of the unit, I expect Yeldon to see limited action early his carries begin to increase with the progression of the season. But given his talent, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Yeldon hit the field early and often.