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During Alabama’s 2009 title run and the 2010 season, many people looked at the backfield combination of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson as the best tandem in football. That notion was probably correct, but it is irrelevant now, as Ingram was taken in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints.
Richardson will finally get his turn to prove that he was the better back of the backfield team-up in ‘Bama.
We know Richardson is a freak. We know he is a 220-pound monster who can break away or run right through you. We know he can put a move on you with his legs or push you over with his arms.
This year in Tuscaloosa will be a little bit different than it has been in recent years. Coach Saban will focus in on defense (as usual), but more importantly, he will key in on running the ball as he breaks in a new quarterback.
What remains to be seen on this Alabama team, which will be competitive once again, is how Richardson responds to being the Tide’s lifeline. There will be no Ingram, and there will be no McElroy or Jones. What I can’t wait to see is what Richardson does with all of the workload that many in college football nation believed he deserved all along.
When I said most of these running backs are not ready to take their team to a title yet, this is the guy I was referring to as the exception. Alabama has never really relied on a prolific passer, but rather a guy who can manage a game and be a leader. With a new quarterback, Richardson may have to be that leader as well as the main piece of the Alabama offense.
Without a doubt, the defense will be good this year. But, as evidenced by LSU's performance last year, you cannot win a championship without offense as well. If Richardson lives up to his potential, though, we could be talking about the Tide competing for their second national title in three years.
I again put emphasis on the word "if."