Richardson Doesn't Expect Drop-Off
Trent Richardson has been an outstanding tailback for Alabama the past two years, even though he was sharing time with a Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram. Ingram has now gone to the NFL, along with other offensive stars like Julio Jones, James Carpenter, and Greg McElroy. Some might expect a drop-off in offensive production.
"Oh, no, no, no, no," Richardson said. "I expect to step it up because we know we don't have Julio and Mark and Carpenter on our side anymore working hard as they did last year. They did what they could for us and showed us the ropes and then went into the draft. We know we've all got to step up our game, follow behind, and do what we can."
Richardson has done pretty well to date. The 5-11, 224-pound Pensacola, Fla., native is a pre-season All-America candidate based on his first two seasons when he had a total of 257 rushing attempts for 1,451 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and 14 touchdowns. He has also caught 39 passes for 392 yards and four touchdowns and returned 26 kickoffs for 645 yards and one touchdown.
"I just use a lot of tools that God gave me and blessed me with so I just play one play at a time and try to get better at practice," he said.
Part of the attention for Richardson came when Sports Illustrated had its pre-season issue predicting Alabama to be number one this year with Richardson pictured in the middle with stars from other contenders -- No. 2 Oklahoma (QB Landry Jones), No. 4 Stanford (QB Andrew Luck), No. 7 South Carolina (WR Alshon Jeffery) and No. 9 Nebraska (DT Jared Crick).
Richardson said he had just one copy of the magazine, but that his mother had several copies. "It's a special thing, an honor, to be on there, especially with the other four guys I was on there with."
It was suggested Richardson might be in for more attention this week. Classes began at The University Wednesday. When students learn Richardson is in class with them, might not they show up with copies to be autographed?
"I don't know," he said. "Bama fans are Bama fans. I lot of folk don't try to mess with me much, but we'll see. There's no telling. It might be a lot, and it might not be. I'll just go to class and raise my hand when I need to ask a question."
Richardson said that practice gets easier as game time gets closer. The Crimson Tide is working towards the September 3 season-opener against Kent State from Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff will be at 11:20 a.m. CDT.
Bama was back on the practice field Tuesday after a two-day break. Not surprisingly, Richardson said the break was good, allowing players "to get our legs back, get healthy."
Alabama had two scrimmages during fall camp, the second one last Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama Coach Nick Saban said the running game showed improvement from the first scrimmage to the second.
"I think we got to touch the ball a little more," Richardson said. "I think everybody is doing pretty good, especially the offensive line. The offensive line, those boys are out there working and trying to keep their jobs, and at the same time got guys trying to earn jobs on the second team offensive line, so everybody is out there competing."
Richardson is pleased with offensive leadership, naming linemen William Vlachos and Barrett Jones and wide receivers Darius Hanks and Brandon Gibson, and also including himself.
As for the running backs, he said the group is "looking pretty good. Eddie Lacy doing good. Jalston Fowler looking like a beast out there. I can't wait to wait to see what both those boys do this year. Blake Sims is doing pretty good. He plays all positions. You never know where he's going to be on the field."
Freshman Brent Calloway didn't join the team until fall camp, but Richardson said, "Calloway is doing pretty good. He's doing better. He's young, so it's going to take a little longer for him. The rest of us have been doing it for a while. Calloway will be good to go when his time comes."
Running backs are usually more effective behind a quality offensive line, and Richardson is pleased with the Bama front. Four starters and the tight end return from last year. Richardson has seen a lot from a true freshman who is trying to move into the starting rotation at the important left tackle position.
"I'm very impressed by Cyrus Kouandjio," he said. "I like him. That boy has got some ability that can't be coached."
What's special about him? "Everything," Richardson said.
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