Reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram, who helped lead the Alabama Crimson Tide to a National Championship last season, is out with an injury. He will miss the season opener against San Jose State.
Ingram recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. The injury is not considered too severe, but it could be a few weeks before the Tide can get their beast-like running back out on the field again.
Normally when a returning Heisman winner gets injured, it spells disaster for the team he’s been trying to lead to victory. But this is not the case for the Crimson Tide.
The defending national champions are as cool as Marty McFly sipping a Slurpee in a January snow storm.
They know that their backup running back is the real deal.
It’s not easy to fill Ingram’s shoes, but fortunately for the Tide, Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram wear the same size cleats.
Richardson, like Ingram, is a deadly combination of size, power, and speed. He was a five star recruit in 2009 and ranked in the top five among running backs coming out of high school.
The young and talented back averaged 5.2 yards per rush on 145 attempts as a freshman for the Crimson Tide last season, finishing with eight touchdowns.
If you break those numbers down, he averaged a touchdown every 18 rushing attempts. Not too shabby for a guy that backed up the only Heisman winner in Alabama history.
He had one of the best runs in college football in '09 when he went pinball wizard on five Arkansas tacklers on his way to a 53 yard touchdown scamper.
Having a gifted running back like Richardson will keep opposing defenses honest when defending Alabama’s passing game.
With another year of development under the belts of quarterback Greg McElroy and wide receiver Julio Jones, a consistent run game will make for some big pass plays for the Crimson Tide combo.
Richardson will have a great opportunity to showcase his talents in the second week of play as Alabama goes up against Penn State. If Ingram is not back by week two, Richardson will be trying to prove his worth against a tough opponent.
With Alabama potentially playing two ranked teams in the first month of the season without Ingram, Richardson will have to step up big.
Luckily for Bama, Richardson averaged 5.3 yards per rush against ranked teams last year and his 7.4 yards per rush in September of '09 bodes well for the Tide who will be returning a stout offensive line in 2010.
A lot of analysts think Richardson is an even better running back than Ingram.
So don’t panic Alabama fans. If you don’t know Trent Richardson by now, you will very soon.