After the first spring scrimmage for the Crimson Tide, all eyes are focused on how the quarterbacks played and who will replace Bryce Young under center, but one thing that is certain according to Nick Saban is that the running back position is not an "issue" this season.
“All guys have done well,” said Saban after the Crimson Tide’s first spring scrimmage. “All four guys have had really, really good springs. They’re all very productive players. All those guys can contribute to the team in some ways. They’re doing really, really well. As long as we can stay healthy at that position, I don’t think that’s an issue on our team.”
Yes, Alabama is losing a dynamic running back, Jahmyr Gibbs, a projected second round pick, to the NFL Draft, but the Crimson Tide have three or four guys that are plenty capable of filling that void. Gibbs accounted for just over 40% of the carries last year, so with his departure, there will be plenty of opportunities for others this season at a deep running back position.
“There’s a lot of talent, a lot of guys that can play anywhere else in the nation,” running back Jase McClellan said. “But they came here and we all work together. We all better each other.”
McClellan is projected to be the starter in this stable of running backs, as he has the most on-field experience and production. Next up in experience is Roydell Williams, who is a big powerful back Alabama used more in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Jamarion Miller was mostly used in mop-up duties last season but has a ton of talent and upside that many Tide fans would love to see. The fourth man in the rotation is a talented five-star freshman, Justice Haynes. With the three running backs mentioned before him, Haynes’ playing time could be limited. So far, he has made some good impressions on the coaching staff, but in a crowded room of running backs, he could find himself sliding into that mop-up duty spot his first year.
As well as replacing the starting running back position, Alabama is also welcoming in a new offensive coordinator, Tommy Rees. With the addition of Rees, it is expected that Alabama will get back to a more balanced approach on the offensive side of the ball. Last year, Alabama’s running game with Gibbs was based more on quickness and speed, but with the four running backs this season, the Crimson Tide are more equipped to have that balance of both speed and power.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.