At the end of Alabama’s 2014 season, the Crimson Tide were faced with a pretty good problem to have. The roster for 2015, even with T.J. Yeldon leaving early for the NFL draft, was absolutely loaded with running backs.

About halfway through spring practice, running back has gone from the Tide’s deepest position to one where they’re now hurting for depth.

The losses keep piling up. First, Altee Tenpenny, who played a reserve role in 2014, decided to transfer out of the program. That was no problem, as Alabama still had plenty of players in need of carries. Following Tenpenny’s transfer, Tyren Jones was suspended indefinitely, then was dismissed from the program following an arrest for marijuana possession. To add onto all those two dpeartures, touted freshman Bo Scarbrough, who had to sit out last season due to academic issues, tore his ACL in last Friday’s practice.

Just like that, Alabama went from as many as eight running backs capable of playing in 2015 to four or five.

Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake, who is well on his way back from a season-ending broken leg suffered last October, are still the anchors in the backfield, the two players expected to carry the load. They’re the only two running backs on the roster with any college carries to their name. Now, instead of having two veterans and a player who had been around the program since bowl practices backing them up, Alabama will have to hope its freshmen are ready to play a more significant role than expected.

Desherrius Flowers, a four-star signee from Mobile, Ala., is already on campus as an early enrollee. The 6-foot-1, 211 pound Flowers was expected to fight for carries even before Scarbrough got hurt, and his development is of even greater importance now. Scouting reports say Flowers is a decisive runner that hits holes hard while also possessing soft hands. Some thought Flowers might end up switching positions once he got to UA, but he’ll be needed at running back this fall.

Also still on the roster is Ronnie Clark, a redshirt freshman. His first year in Tuscaloosa was cut short by an Achilles tendon injury, but he’s back at practice this spring. The problem Alabama faces with Clark is that he rotates between running back and another position of need, defensive back. Alabama’s staff will have to make a call on where Clark is most needed.

On the way in this fall is Damien Harris, a five-star running back who was the top-rated player at the position in the class of 2015. With the depth the Crimson Tide had a few months ago, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Harris would take a redshirt in his first year on campus. Now, it looks like he’ll have to be ready to play as an integral part of Alabama’s running game as soon as he arrives on campus.

With Alabama’s passing game going through a complete turnover — Blake Sims, Amari Cooper, Christion Jones and DeAndrew White all depart from the team — the Crimson Tide are using spring practice to search for answers. We don’t yet know who will start at receiver, let alone at quarterback (although Jacob Coker is the presumptive favorite there). With that in mind, it would make sense for Alabama to lean on the run.

Now, the Tide will have to hope they have enough depth to make it to the season with the running game intact, and they’ll have to hope their talented freshmen are ready to step up into vital roles.