Richardson Expects To Get Lions' Best
"Oh, yeah," said Alabama junior tailback Trent Richardson. "I'm 100 per cent. My leg was wrapped, but I was 100 per cent. the coaches just wanted to be cautious about the situation. I don't have any problems."
He said that he would feel confident in any on-the-field race. In fact, he said, he had a conversation with 6-1, 294-pound senior center William Vlachos "about racing the other day. He loves to challenge me."
Vlachos might not be much of a challenge in a foot race against Richardson, but Richardson knows a challenge is coming. A year ago Richardson was slated to start against Penn State in Tuscaloosa. Mark Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, had already missed one game following knee surgery and was about to miss the Penn State game, a nationally-televised non-conference headliner.
"It was one of the biggest games of my life," Richardson said. "I knew it was going to be big for me because Mark was out. I knew they were going to count on me. I knew there were going to be ups and downs and that it was going to be a fight.
"And I know it's going to be just like that this weekend. I know them boys want revenge, and they are going to bring everything they have, they are going to throw everything they can at us, so we have to go out there and execute like we've been coached, do everything on point."
Richardson said a half hour before last year's game "I was probably praying." That and going over the mental checklist he reviews prior to each game – running assignments, pass routes, pass blocking, "square up, get downfield, get vertical, get all my checks down, all that kind of stuff."
Richardson did just fine against Penn State in Tuscaloosa last year, rushing 22 times for a career-best 144 yards and a touchdown. He also caught four passes for 46 yards. And Alabama was a 24-3 winner.
Alabama is coming off a 48-7 win over Kent State, while Penn State downed Indiana State by 41-7 last week.
Richardson said last week's game showed Tide players "what we need to work on. We've got a lot of work to do. We've got a lot of challenges this year and everyone's going to bring their best game. We're that big target, and it's always going to be like that because of our tradition."
He said he expects a physical game. "What do they call it? University of Linebackers? ULB? So we know it's going to be physical. That's the tradition they have. It's a big rivalry game. Alabama-Penn State is pretty rough."
Compared to last year, he said, "I think they are going to be more physical and I think they are going to be more up-tempo and ready to play us. And I know they will want to bring everything since we beat them last year. We've got to come in with the mindset that we are going into their house and they are going to want to lock the gates and beat us up."
If Richardson had to grade himself on his first game, in which he had a relatively low 13 carries for 37 yards and one reception for 16 yards, but three rushing touchdowns. he would say "I need to be a little bit more patient with my runs. I think I did fairly good with my blocking. That was one of the things I tried to emphasize because I thought this game was going to be a quarterback game. I probably need to communicate with my offensive line a little better."
Richardson was impressed with his cohorts at tailback, Eddie Lacy who had eight carries for 58 yards and a touchdown and Jalston Fowler who had four runs for 69 yards and a TD.
"Them boys did pretty good," Richardson said. "I like the way they both play. They keep me on my toes every day at practice when we're out there grinding. I think those boys did tremendous. I can't wait to see what they do against Penn State this week."
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