Alabama Crimson Tide: Why Mark Ingram Jr Resumes Starting Role When Healthy

Steve ButlerCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2010

Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram are one of the strongest friendships on the team.
Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram are one of the strongest friendships on the team.Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Mark Ingram lit a bit of a scare under Alabama fans when he injured his knee, which required arthroscopic surgery. My full faith is in Trent Richardson's ability to carry the load for Alabama, but once Mark Ingram is ready to go he will be the starter.

I have seen many people writing off Mark Ingram Jr's injury as the beginning of the Trent Richardson era. This simply will not be the case and there is one simple reason that is readily apparent to all.

If one examines the process by which Nick Saban builds a revolving door of National Championship contenders, it is by consistently attracting top talent.

When grade "A" recruits come through the door, they do so because they trust in one thing, and one thing alone, and that is that they have found the system where they will most likely succeed.

The mental thought process of going through colleges to find the best choice involves a lot of thoughts. Locations, coaching staffs, personal commitments, reputations of your position from the school, playing time, academic programs that meet my needs, or what school is going to put me in the best spotlight for the NFL are all things that go through an uncommitted recruit's head.

Right now, if time is on your side, the answer to the latter is Alabama for any RB. To make the point of the article, I will focus on one question in particular. "Where will I get playing time?" This is a tricky one.

By not reinstating Mark Ingram as the Tide's starting running back, this is sending a serious negative message to the Trent Richardsons, Malcolm Browns, and Isaiah Crowells of the future. The reason is not because it's an unacceptable coaching move, it's not because in reality Richardson probably won't overshadow Ingram, it has nothing to do with that.

Nick Sabans program's sales pitch to four and five star recruits is that those recruits that have preceded you are playing now. They are living in the same system that you are. They, as developed players, will keep some of the scouting spotlight here, waiting for your turn to step into it.

Every once in a while, you have a positional upset to this rule, like we did in our defensive secondary last year.

Most saw it coming, and look at how many top players jumped on it? Dre Kirkpatrick, John Fulton, and DeMarcus Milliner were all some of the top DB's in the nation in their respective recruiting class. These guys intelligently jump all over a chance to be a two to four year starter, at will, in this kind of program.

I'm sure some of you caught on that I mentioned Texas Longhorn commit Malcolm Brown. Why? Because even at his level of talent, he still had to consider us even though our stable is full, and the stable at Texas was much more wide open.

Brown could have easily gone to a team where he will start at will, and may have done so at Texas. While the reality is, Richardson probably would have started on any other team he went to, I do hope that Brown still realizes that it's not going to be that way in the NFL and the special teams experience will help his next level success.

Nick Saban's program prepares kids well for the NFL as they come in and get special teams experience, end of game playing time, and eventually work their way into the starting lineup.

He is not willing to send the reputation of what he's doing a deathblow by starting Richardson over Ingram when Ingram is ready. Richardson will get his shot, and he knows it.

The team has done an excellent job showcasing Ingram and Richardson, and they won't take a step backward on that and demote Ingram due to injury.

Talent is a revolving door in Tuscaloosa, get in line, and wait your turn!