Many great tailbacks have played for the University of Alabama. Johnny Mack Brown, Johnny Musso, Shaun Alexander and Mark Ingram, to name just a few. Current coach Nick Saban has taken the running back talent at the Capstone to a new level, however.
He helped Mark Ingram to the university's first Heisman in 2009, and Ingram's former backup and now starter Trent Richardson is ready to challenge for the Heisman as well. The Tide will continue to load up on great backs throughout Saban's tenure, because they are crucial to his style of offense.
Under Saban, Alabama has produced physical offensive lines that excel at run blocking. In 2007, Saban's first year, the running game improved significantly along with the offensive line. The great run blocking helps Alabama land top tailback recruits year after year.
After all, when a player the caliber of Trent Richardson is willing to take a back seat to Mark Ingram for two years, that's a big statement.
Saban prefers to have two good runners to keep each other fresh. For the past two years, those two have been Ingram and Richardson. Now that Ingram has moved to the NFL, it appears Richardson will form another dynamic duo with Eddie Lacy.
It doesn't stop there, however. Always looking to the future, Nick Saban has landed five-star 2011 RB Demetrius Hart and is making a big push for another five-star: Isaiah Crowell. Alabama's chances with Crowell are considered to be at about 50 percent.
Alabama running backs have put up crazy numbers the past two years, and don't expect that to change with a river of offensive talent running into Tuscaloosa. So, America, say hello to college football's new Running Back U.