What a difference a week can make. Going into last week’s game against the Arkansas Razorbacks, Trent Richardson was off to a disappointing start. Richardson had padded his stats in the second half against North Texas but there was no denying that Richardson was off of his game.
Richardson looked hesitant and unsure of himself in the first 10 quarters of the season. However, from the third quarter against North Texas and throughout the game against Arkansas, Richardson looked as good as advertised.
Was it the evolution of the offensive line? Was it Richardson knowing his team needed more out of him? Did he gain his confidence back in the second half of the North Texas game? I am not sure what made the difference but the results were undeniable.
If Richardson can give a similar effort this week, he will officially be back in the Heisman conversation.
We will not know just how impressive Richardson’s 17 carries for 126 yards and three receptions for 85 yards were until we see more of Arkansas. However, Richardson once again looked explosive and fearless.
This weekend’s game against the Florida Gators is a true Heisman statement game. Richardson will be called upon to lead the Crimson Tide offense into The Swamp. Florida appears to have one of the top defensive lines in the nation.
Moreover, this is AJ McCarron’s first real road test. I know that people will point to the Penn State game. However, let’s be honest—the Nittany Lions fans are the least-intimidating 100,000-plus fans ever gathered. This week, in The Swamp, the Gator fans will be loud and the environment will be buzzing.
The defense will have their hands full with Charlie Weis and the offense. If Richardson can carry the offense on his back, he could be on his way to bringing the third straight Heisman to the state of Alabama.
The task will not be an easy one for Richardson. The Gators are giving up just 56 rushing yards per game. Look for the Tide to find creative ways to get the ball in Richardson’s hands. I also expect to see a strong dose of Richardson in the screen game.
It took 75 selections in the history of the Heisman Trophy award before a Crimson Tide player heard his name called. Richardson can ensure that there will not be another drought starting this week. There is far greater competition than when Mark Ingram won it. Strong cases will be made by Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore.
Three straight Heisman Trophys awarded to the state of Alabama would be impressive. However, I imagine Richardson greatest goal is a third straight BCS championship headed to sweet home Alabama.