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Eddie Lacy can jump, spin and juke his way to big yards -- Michigan has to limit him at all costs.
Michigan is probably at least a little lucky that Trent Richardson opted for the NFL draft instead of staying for his senior year.
Richardson, the third overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft (Cleveland Browns), rushed for a team-high 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2011.
He averaged 5.9 yards per carry.
And then there was Eddie Lacy, now a junior, who rang up 674 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011... as a No. 2 back.
Lacy, of course, will be the focal point this year. The 6'1", 220-pound junior stands to be the next in a very recent line of bruisers in the 'Bama backfield, following Heisman winner Mark Ingram and Richardson, a Heisman finalist.
"You're going to see a lot of Eddie Lacy, and you're going to see three new defensive linemen for Michigan that are going to have to find out in a hurry whether they can play at an SEC level," former Wolverines quarterback Brian Griese told the Detroit News in July. "He's going to get the ball a lot."
Alabama also has a few other guys that might be worth mentioning: Jalston Fowler, the third-ranked back in the 2009 class (according to Rivals), and T.J. Yeldon, the No. 2 back in the 2011 class.
Oh, and Dee Hart.
Michigan fans probably don't recognize that name, though.
A Little Side Info...
Alabama didn't play in many close games in 2011. In fact, the closest—by far the closest—was a 9-6 regular-season overtime loss to Louisiana State. The Tide rushed for just 96 yards.
But, on the other side of that "hold them under 100 yards and we're safe" thought is this: Alabama's second-closest game was a 27-11 win over Penn State at Happy Valley. Alabama ran for 196 yards that day.
Sept. 1 promises to be a day of hard-hitting, bone-breaking football. And if the Wolverines can at least compete at a level close to Alabama's physicality, they should remain competitive. As always, Denard Robinson is the key.
Sure, the defense has to play well. The linebackers have to hold their ground, Will Campbell has to anchor the defensive line—but Michigan's success almost exclusively boils down to how well Robinson plays.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81