Arkansas vs. Alabama: Why Trent Richardson should be in the Heisman conversation

Stix SymmondsCorrespondent ISeptember 24, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 24:  Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide holds four fingers up on both hands before the start of the fourth quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Trent Richardson isn't high on the Heisman hopeful list. Why not? Can anyone show me a player in the country who has been more impressive than Richardson?

I suppose the argument could be made that Richardson isn't absolutely necessary to the success of the Alabama offense like Marcus Lattimore is to South Carolina's. And I suppose it could be argued that Richardson's 28th national ranking for yards per game amongst active running backs (coming into this week) isn't overly impressive.

However, you have to also consider the situation Richardson is in at Alabama. As mentioned, he's not the only weapon the Crimson Tide have. Therefore, he's not asked to do as much as other backs might.

Eddie Lacy routinely picks up half as many carries as Richardson. Sometimes, it's because the Tide have such a huge lead, they pull Richardson to protect him and allow Lacy to pick up additional carries. Other times, it's simply to give their opponents something else to prepare for and to keep Richardson fresh.

Think about it this way: Richardson has been averaging 105 yards per game—which isn't entirely eye-popping. Likewise, Lacy has been averaging 101.33 yards per game. Those are yards that would undoubtedly be Richardson's if they didn't have Lacy so readily and skillfully able to relieve him.

Against Arkansas, Trent carried the ball 17 times for 126 yards, averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Compare that to what Marcus Lattimore did for South Carolina. Lattimore had 20 carries this week and picked up just 77 yards and a score.

Coming into this week, Lattimore carried the ball 87 times and averaged 6.14 yards per carry. Richardson carried the ball 37 fewer times (50) and averaged 6.3 yards per carry.

 

Yet, Lattimore is in just about everyone's Top 5 candidates. Richardson is generally part of the "others to watch" category.

With the relative struggles the Tide have had in getting A.J. McCurron settled at quarterback, a fair amount of pressure has been placed on Richardson and Lacy to provide stability on the offense. They've delivered, and Richardson has been the one leading that charge.

You cannot adequately argue that Richardson doesn't mean enough to this team. He means a lot to this team, and he is no small part of the reason the Tide are legitimate National Title contenders.

Hey, it's time to put Richardson where he belongs. He belongs right up there with Lattimore in the Heisman hype. Wrong, he belongs above Lattimore in the Heisman hype.

He belongs at the top of the list.