Published August 29, 2011 - 7:59am
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We all know that Trent Richardson is a physical specimen. The strength and conditioning coach at Alabama set a 465 pound ceiling on Richardson’s bench press, so what does Trent do? He starts repping it. Trent also squats 650 pounds, which is like putting a Harley Davidson on his back.
Trent carried the ball 112 times for 700 yards, 6 touchdowns and 6.3 yards per carry average last season – he also caught 4 touchdown passes.
There is no doubt that Trent Richardson is the man at running back for Alabama but expect Nick Saban to save his thoroughbred and give him rest when needed. So who will step up as the back-up to Trent Richardson?
If this question was asked before summer camp the answer would be much harder but due to the season ending injury of Dee Hart and the transfers of Corey Grant and Demetrius Goode the answer to the backup role is almost certain.
Now consider Eddie Lacy, the 6’1 220 pound running back who performed well last year as the go-to 3rd string running back for the Tide. Lacy was given the ball very few times last season, but when he got his touches, he made the most of them.
In only 56 carries Eddie Lacy rushed for 406 yards, which equals a 7.3 yards per carry average. Eddie Lacy also tied Trent Richardson in rushing touchdowns with 6 scores.
Eddie Lacy and Trent Richardson almost have identical running styles. Both hit the hole running, love going between the tackles and delivering a hit to any defender that stands in their way. The two running backs with similar body frames can be hard to take down with arm tackles and solo attempts by a defender. Eddie Lacey can also show off his speed and break the long run – see video below:
Ball security could be Eddie Lacy’s one downfall as he fumbled the ball three times in 2010.
While three fumbles does not sound like much, you have to look at the fact the he only had 56 carries compared to Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson that have only fumbled the ball 3 times in their careers at Alabama.
Eddie Lacy is assumed to be the clear backup to Richardson but keep an eye on Jalston Fowler as a short yardage bruiser of a back who could be compared to the Steelers great Jerome Bettis. At 6’1 and 246 pounds, Fowler is a mountain of a man at running back.
If Trent Richardson is a high speed bowling ball then Fowler is wrecking ball built to destroy anything in his way. Fowler led the team last year in average yards per carry at 7.9 but only was able to manage 14 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown. Jalston Fowler has flashed speed but do not expect him to blaze by defensive backs for touchdowns. Where Jalston Fowler may be used a lot is on short yardage and goal line stands as either a lead blocker or ball carrier to move the chains or punch in touchdowns.
Nick Saban has done a terrific job in recruiting a solid stable of running backs that can carry the ball for the Crimson Tide and even with the injury of Dee Hart and transfers of Goode and Grant, the Alabama backfield should still be a force to be reckoned with. Trent Richardson will more than likely take 65% of the carries leaving Eddie Lacy and Jalston Fowler to battle over the remaining carries.
Combine these guys with a solid offensive line and you could very well see an Alabama team that will rarely have to ask either of the two young quarterbacks to win the game in the air.