Alabama Football: How Eddie Lacy Will Make Fans Forget About Trent Richardson
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Even though he’s entering his junior season, Alabama Crimson Tide running back Eddie Lacy must feel like his first two seasons in Tuscaloosa were an internship of sorts.
In 2010, Lacy was a true freshman backing up reigning Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and his sensational sidekick Trent Richardson.
After patiently biding his time sitting behind a pair of All-Americans, Lacy is next in the Crimson Tide's assembly line of elite rushers and it is now his time to carry the load as the featured back this season for Nick Saban’s offense.
With the 2012 season opener against Michigan less than three months away, Lacy’s task is to fill the massive hole left by Richardson—who left early for the NFL and was the highest running back drafted (third overall to Cleveland) since Reggie Bush in 2006.
So how can Lacy accomplish this?
Here are three ways he can make fans forget about Trent Richardson.
Embrace the Transition
Richardson made the move from backup to featured back with ease last season.
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For starters, he can study how Richardson was able to thrive in the featured role after Ingram departed after the 2010 season.
Lacy has shown flashes of being a well-rounded back when his number was called since he’s arrived at the Capstone.
In his two seasons of backup duty, Lacy has rushed for 1,080 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging more than seven yards per carry—and he has averaged more than 11 yards per catch on his 13 career receptions.
As long as he’s able to stay healthy, there is nothing stopping him from increasing those numbers to the levels of his predecessors in their respective years as the team’s No. 1 back.
Seize the Moment
Lacy is the most experienced returning skill player on offense for Alabama.
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The main thing he has to do is produce like Ingram and Richardson did when they found themselves with the opportunity to grab the spotlight.
Alabama has always been at its best when its offense plays a physical, smash-mouth style that chews up the clock and wears down its opponents—so do not expect radical changes to the offense despite breaking in a new offensive coordinator in Doug Nussmeier.
With the wide receiver group breaking in new starters, Lacy will be the most experienced returning skill player on the Crimson Tide roster—which means he will be counted on to be a go-to player from day one this season.
It’s up to him to take that challenge and run with it as Ingram and Richardson were able to do.
Lacy's ability to spin his way out of trouble should help him bust some big runs for the Tide's offense this season.
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Lacy only carried the ball 95 times last season (an average of nearly eight times per game), but he recorded 16 carries that went for 12 yards or more.
His ability to be physical to run through tacklers, yet agile enough to pull off spin moves like this make him a threat to bust a long run at any moment.
Considering that the passing game could take time to get in sync with so many new and moving parts, and with a veteran offensive line that ranks among the nation’s best blocking for him, Lacy’s penchant for creating big plays will come in handy when his number is called with greater frequency this season.