Bama's Backs Looking to Improve

Aaron HarrellCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2009

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 25:  Roy Upchurch #5 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs with the ball during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on October 25, 2008 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

You can never have too many good running backs.

At Alabama, they have three good running backs with experience and two true freshmen that are getting ready for practice later this evening.

Last year behind a powerful offensive line, the Tide's running backs gained 2,585 yards on the ground, an average of 184 yards per game. It was a steady improvement from the 2007 season where they gained 1940 yards and averaged 149 yards per game.

What is more impressive is that Alabama gained 133 first downs through running the football.

Although Glen Coffee has taken his 1,383 yards to San Francisco, the cupboard is not exactly bare in Tuscaloosa.

Mark Ingram is hoping to duplicate his solid freshman campaign and he is without question, the No.1 running back on the depth chart.

The sophomore from Flint, Michigan took everyone by surprise during the Clemson game with his ability to run between the tackles. However, he had some signs of slowing down throughout the season due to a few injuries he suffered.

Roy Upchurch will probably take the role as the change of pace running back. His career at Alabama has been sketchy at best. Due to injuries and off the field issues, we haven't seen Upchurch play a full season. 

Last year, he had the role of the third down back and became a playmaker every time he touched the ball, but in the latter part of the season where 'Bama could have used him, he was out with back spasms.

Terry Grant had the role of the "forgotten man" last year. In 2007 his first carry was a 47 yard touchdown run, displaying the speed that he was known for in high school. 

He ran for 891 yards and eight touchdowns that year, but he wasn't the same after suffering a sports hernia. His running style didn't fit into the offense last year, but during the A-Day game, he displayed that he was willing the run in between the tackles, instead of trying to outrun everyone.

There are two running backs that didn't practice this morning who probably have more upside than the three backs mentioned so far.

Trent Richardson came from Emmitt Smith's high school of Escambia, Florida and most are saying that he is the best running back from that high school since the NFL's all-time leading rusher.

He is a weight room warrior who won the Florida state weightlifting championship, by benching 380 pounds and did the clean and jerk at 325 pounds. Rumors close to the Tide program are saying that Richardson is benching over 400 pounds, while still maintaining a 4.4 time in the 40 yard dash.

Eddie Lacy has become a name that has garnered a lot of attention lately. Probably due to his YouTube highlight, but the Geismar, LA. running back is now a fan favorite.

He suffered through injuries in his senior season in high school and was considered an afterthought for qualifying for the fall semester at Alabama. He has since overcome both of those obstacles and now the question of whether or not he will become a better running back than Richardson are starting to come to fruition.

Alabama now has five running backs and one ball.

It sounds like a problem, but at Alabama, it's a good problem to have.


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