Although the 2011 campaign saw minimal depth due to transfers and injuries, the Tide still had two solid backs, and Heisman finalist Trent Richardson, to carry the load.
In 2012, the Crimson Tide will have as many as five talented players in the rotation. While Richardson left virtually impossible shoes to fill, Alabama is deeper at the running back position this season than they were in 2011, and certainly more talented as a complete unit.
The prominent players
Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon
While T.J. Yeldon is only a true freshman, the five-star talent was the MVP of the annual spring game and is expected to make an immediate impact in 2012. On the surface it appears that Yeldon will at least split time with Eddie Lacy, and it is not out of the question that Yeldon could eventually, this season, carry the bulk of the load.
As it was well documented toward the latter part of 2011, Lacy battled a turf toe injury, one that eventually required surgery during the offseason which forced him to miss spring practice. Only time will tell if Lacy is 100 percent, or if he’s still battling the ailment that caused him difficulty last season. Yeldon will play a major role regardless, but if Lacy is still operating on a gimpy wheel, the addition of the talented freshman will serve ‘Bama in more ways than one.
While T.J. Yeldon is certainly someone the fans are anxious to see, the Crimson Tide debut of Dee Hart should be special as well. Hart, who was a five-star talent in his own right, was forced to miss the 2011 season due to a torn ACL. Hart should provide Alabama with a different element at the running back position which will complement Lacy, Yeldon, and the “bull” that is Jalston Fowler.
While Alabama has all the tools at the running back position, the talented cast will be afforded the opportunity to run behind what is arguably the best offensive line in college football. The Crimson Tide have been known for having a tremendous “ground game” since Nick Saban arrived, but the 2012 version has a chance to be very, very special. Multiple backs, of varying styles, running behind the best big men in the conference, is a recipe for success.
As with any position, health is a concern. Will Eddie Lacy be 100 percent? Will Dee Hart be the five-star prospect the Tide signed in 2011, or did his knee injury tarnish his value? While those questions will be answered in time, the surface appears to sparkle like a gold coin.
The stage is set, and if the actors perform at a high level…AJ McCarron may never have to pass again.
Unit Rating: 9.5/10