Are Alabama Running Backs a Bust?

By LaDonna Williams

The question I would like to have answers to, are the Alabama running backs a bust in the NFL? When people hear the name Alabama University they think great school, great football team and other sports. Others think it’s the school is where bad running backs come from. It that really true?

The last four running backs from 2015- 2011. If you are an Alabama fan or not these names will be familiar to you if you keep up with NFL players. The running backs that will be discussed are T.J. Yeldon, Eddie lacy, Trent Richardson, and Mark Ingram. I will mention the two that just got drafted Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry as well.

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The Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon. The 2016-2017 season will be his second year in the NFL. His rookie year wasn’t bad at all. He avg. 4.1 yards per carry and had a total of 740 yards. Downside he only had two touch downs and he missed four games last season. This year the Jags added Chris Ivory. Will Yeldon lose his starting job to Ivory or will they continue with him as a starter.

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The next Alabama running back is Eddie Lacy. Eddie Lacy plays for the Green Bay Packers. This season will be Lacy fourth year in the NFL. The first two years Lacy was a beast and had over 1000-yards seasons. He averaged 4.1 in 2013 and 4.6 in 2014. Last year he avg. 4.1 yards per gain and only 758 total yards for the season. Last season he had his highest total of fumbles of four. Since then Lacy during the off-season has lost a lot of weight. Will this help him next season? Will he go back to being the old Lacy?

 

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Then there is Trent Richardson. The guy that thinks he is going to get a golden jacket one day. Richardson has played since 2012. His first two seasons were with the Browns. His rookie season he had 950 total yards avg. 3.6 yards per gain. The next season he got hurt and only played 2 games. The two season after that he played with the Colts. Neither year did he get over 550 total yards. His best average was 3.4 yards per gain. Last year he didn’t even play.  This season he has a team (well for now). He is on the Baltimore Ravens. Will his 3.3 per gain average really help the Ravens? Or will he be jobless again?

Update: Richardson has been cut. The Ravens basically gave him money to go home.

 

Then there is the Saints dearly beloved Mark Ingram. He has been playing since 2011. To this date he still hasn’t had a 1000-yard total season. He has only had one season (2012) that he played the whole season. All the other years he has gotten hurt. His career avg. is 4.3 yards per gain. That average isn’t bad at all, but would it be that great if he played all 16 games most or all of the seasons he has played? Another positive stat he doesn’t have a fumbling problem. He only has six throughout his whole career.

During this year’s draft Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry were the two big named running backs from Alabama. Drake went to the Dolphins, while Henry went to the Titans. Henry is the best running back of the two, but Drake was good at Alabama too. Henry is huge and strong. The downfall of that it slows down his speed behind the line, but if he does get through get ready to see him plow over defenders. Drake on the other hand is tall, but very quick. His downfall lack of patience when he has the ball in his hands.  These two will be backups unless they out play the team’s starter.

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SpursUp! Q&A with Perry Orth

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Last year was a trying season for our beloved Gamecocks. We had not had a season like that in a long time. I think in the back of our minds we all saw the HBC stepping down within the next couple of seasons, but nothing could have prepared us for the way he left. It had been a QB by committee, but once Shawn Elliott took over, the team just had a different feel. There was a fight to them. Sure there were a bunch of tough losses, but the team fought every step of the way. QB Perry Orth was a perfect embodiment of coach Elliott and his mentality. Perry was able to throw for almost 2000 yards despite only logging considerable game time in 8 games. I was fortunate enough to ask Perry a couple of questions regarding his time at Carolina. #ForeverToThee

See the highlight of his big run at Texas A&M here

1.) Growing up in Rural South Carolina, we had talent, but I never realized just how different the talent levels were in other areas. I realized that when I first moved to Jacksonville and caught a Fletcher game watching your teammate Jamari Smith. How did that prepare you for the level of competition you face at the collegiate level?

Perry: Playing against top level high school football talent in Jacksonville helped prepare me for the next level because each and every week we were playing against at least two or three Division I players and possibly more. 

2.) What was it that attracted you to the University of South Carolina?

Perry: South Carolina gave me an opportunity to walk on and potentially earn a scholarship. And when Coach Spurrier calls you and asks you to play quarterback for him, the answer is usually yes. Then everything that comes with South Carolina football: the atmosphere, 2001, Sandstorm, and the tradition that Coach Spurrier built.

3.) What are some must-go places for students and athletes alike at USC?

Perry: Places I really enjoyed to eat besides the stereo typical chain restaurants. For lunch you can’t beat Andy’s Deli in Five Points, and for dinner, Pawley’s Front Porch has incredible burgers. 

4.) We lost a truly iconic figure in the Old Ball Coach, what is one of the memories that really stands out to you with Coach Spurrier?

Perry: With Coach Spurrier there are so many moments that I could talk about but overall it was his personality which separated him from your normal football coach. His sarcasm and jokes were as funny as they come. What you see in his interviews, is the exact same as how he is in person.

5.) Coach Boom…I’ll admit I was a little hesitant at first but his energy is contagious from a distance, just how influential has that been having that renewed energy in the locker room?

Perry: Coach Muschamp has got us believing. That’s what has made him so great so far. He is tough on the field, but as soon as we are off the field, he is one of our friends. He laughs and jokes with all the players and that goes for our entire coaching staff as well. We have a great relationship with them.

6.) The defense has taken its share of lumps, but there are plenty of talented athletes donning the garnet and black on Saturdays on the defensive side of the ball. Who is a player that you fear or respect the most on that side of the ball in practice?

Perry: I’m expecting Marquavius Lewis to have a big year. He has put in the work in the weight room and in the film room. He has got all the talent he needs to be a big-time player for us this season.

7.) Coming into Carolina with two of the greatest QBs statistically in the history of the program, you paid your dues and waited for your time to shine. How good did it feel to finally lead the team out as the guy?

Perry: Being able to start at quarterback for a school like South Carolina is a dream come true. It was incredible to play in the places that I did and in front of our fans, but losing all those games left a sour taste in my mouth. Fortunately, it has kept me hungry through the off-season to get ready to turn this season around.

8.) I think we can all admit that we love Coach Shawn Elliott. His passion is evident on the sideline each game. How did that assist in the transition during the second half of the season?

Perry: Coach Elliott’s style of coaching is very similar to how Coach Muschamp handles things. Working hard, attention to the small details. And playing with a fire and passion that the game of football is supposed to be played with. It was unfortunate we couldn’t finish some of those games that we were in because Coach Elliott is a phenomenal coach and will be a head coach again one day.

9.) If you had to pick one memory that really stands out in your playing career at South Carolina what would it be? A certain game, play or series?

Perry: Right now I would say the Kentucky game. Because it was my first opportunity to play consistently throughout a game. Storming back in the second half and coming just short of which would have been a 17 point comeback victory was very exciting to be a part of.

10.) Is there anything you want to say to Gamecock nation?

Perry: Expect our team to be more disciplined and play with a lot of energy! We are all ready to get back out there and get our program back on the map. 

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