Alabama Football: Is Crimson Tide Backfield Too Young to Win Big?

Barrett SalleeFeatured Columnist IVNovember 27, 2016

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 01: Eddie Lacy #42 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs for yardarge during a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Alabama has a few question marks headed into 2012, and one of them involves questions at the tailback position.

Eddie Lacy is the presumed "next in line" to the running back throne vacated by Trent Richardson, but Lacy has never been a starter in the SEC.

The rising junior only has 325 career yards in SEC games, which makes him significantly less experienced than Richardson, who had 754 in his first two seasons playing alongside Mark Ingram.

A new wrinkle has been thrown into Alabama's running back debate after Lacy sprained his knee and ankle on Saturday, according to AL.com

He will be slowed this week, according to head coach Nick Saban. Not the best timing in the world, to say the least, since the Crimson Tide play Michigan in less than two weeks at Cowboys Stadium.

Whether Lacy is 100 percent or not, can Alabama win big with relatively inexperienced running backs?

Of course it can.

Lacy, junior Jalston Fowler and freshmen Dee Hart and T.J. Yeldon are all capable of doing different things.

The 6'1", 242-pound Fowler is more of the bruiser that can punish defenses between the tackles, Hart is shifty and has great vision, and Yeldon has great balance, power and explosiveness that can make him a star in the SEC.

Plus, running back is a position where experience isn't a prerequisite. In the last two seasons, we've seen Isaiah Crowell, Marcus Lattimore and Michael Dyer make immediate impacts in the SEC.

Are Alabama's running backs as highly touted as those players? In some cases.

But the biggest reason they can be successful is because they will be running behind the best offensive line in the country.

Barrett Jones, D.J. Fluker, Anthony Steen, Cyrus Kouandjio and Chance Warmack will make anybody look good; and those five players are the biggest reasons that Alabama's offense—which finished second in the SEC least season in total offense (429.62 yards per game)—won't miss a beat in 2012.