RB Has a Burning Desire to Roll
Since Nick Saban came to Tuscaloosa in 2007, he has restored the Crimson Tide’s storied football program to its traditional winning ways. Winning three national titles in four years, Saban is only to be rivaled with Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant. Although Saban is a defensive master mind, Alabama seems to also be noted for their running backs. Producing consistent superior backs since Saban has started the reign of the Crimson Tide, a great deal should be mentioned of the running back’s Coach Burton Burns.
Upon Burns’ arrival, also in 2007, he has coached four phenomenal running backs in Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy, and the current T.J. Yeldon. This is not a small undertaking, for he has contributed in turning talented running backs into NFL first round draft picks. Mark Ingram was Alabama’s first Heisman Trophy winner, and Trent Richardson was a finalist two years later. The Modern ‘BCS” era hasn’t seen this many strong running backs year after year.
So what makes Burns such a great coach? Let’s start with his recruiting. Notably, he has been voted by ESPN and ESPN The Magazine as one of the “top recruiters in college sports”. With the running backs that he has produced and the continuous way Alabama has dominated the BCS, it doesn’t appear as if his recruiting will be slowing down anytime soon.
The factor that stands out the most about his coaching is how he has a great niche and instinct to not tamper with the natural talent that the running backs possess. Each player has their own running style and a certain flare they bring to the field. For example, Eddie Lacy’s “spin move” he executed. Burns doesn’t seem to want to change who they are, but more so, he wants to polish their talent and let each one shine respectively. With the success that Burns has experienced at his position coaching, what more could Nick Saban ask for?
The question that shines brightest with this season and coaching the running backs is the lack of experience. Eddie Lacey was Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson’s backup, while Trent Richardson was Mark’s for two years. This year however, T.J. Yeldon is the only back with experience. Kenyon Drake, who scored five touchdowns last season as a true freshman, is also expected to get a considerable amount of carries.
Tide fans are expecting the breakout emergence of the herald freshman Derrick Henry. Another player that should be noted is true freshmen Altee Tenpenny, he didn’t play much in the season opener, however, when he did, he showed Tide fans why he was raved about during fall camp.
Two players who are coming off of injuries are Dee Hart and Jalston Fowler. Dee Hart has shown his toughness and looks as though he will help Christian Jones on punt return. Fowler who is coming off of an ACL injury will be used as a fullback and hback as he gets more comfortable.
This weekend Tide fans are wondering who will be Yeldon’s backup. With many impressive five-star running backs on the roster, it may come down to who performs the ‘smaller’ tasks better, such as learning their blocking assignments and who gets most comfortable with the offense the fastest.
My prediction is that Kenyan Drake or Derrick Henry will win the nod at backup behind Yeldon. Drake has a whole season under his belt, and with Henry coming in early, he also has an advantage over the freshmen. Dee Hart and Jalston Fowler are both coming off of injuries from which normally takes a considerable amount of time to bounce back. Tenpenny could also be the surprise treat and impact the Tide significantly.
With so many impressive backs Crimson Tide fans have a good problem on their hands, who will win backup. With Coach Burns on the side of the Crimson Tide, I am sure there will be nothing to worry about come Saturday in College Station.
About The Author
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.