Saban Discusses Use Of Several Tailbacks

Back in the summer, Alabama Coach Nick Saban and South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier were together on a television panel show and Saban was asked how he managed to entice top prospects to keep coming, even though the roster was full of top players.

Alabama under Nick Saban has been able to pile top recruiting class on top of top recruiting class. As Saban began his explanation, the self-proclaimed Ball Coach began to smirk. Of course, he was a lot cockier when his team was undefeated and considered one of the nation’s best before getting dismantled by Texas A&M.

On Wednesday, Saban was asked about the willingness of Alabama tailbacks to share time in the lineup and, thereby, sharing the carries.

For instance, last year T.J. Yeldon had 207 carries for 1,235 yards, but that was fewer than half of Alabama’s rushes and yards. Kenyan Drake had 92 runs for 694 yards and Derrick Henry 35 carries for 382 yards.

In last week’s 33-23 win over West Virginia, Yeldon had 23 carries for 126 yards and two touchdowns and Henry had 17 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown.

Saban has said that he expects Drake to get more carries, perhaps when Alabama returns to action this week hosting Florida Atlantic at 11 a.m. CDT Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Saban said he couldn’t really answer for the tailbacks, but explained, “I can tell you from our standpoint, it's always been our philosophy in terms of managing that position is to play more than one player because it is the position that has the shortest shelf life relative to your career.

“I would rather have guys touch the ball 15-20 times a game for every game all year than a guy that has to be a workhorse and do it 30 or 35 times, and at some point in the season he's not the same kind of guy. We've always kind of managed it that way. We have a history of that, so guys see that and are more willing to come because they know they're going to have a role on your team because you're going to play more than one guy at that position.”

It was suggested that Saban could recruit with the offer to limit carries and preserve the bodies for an NFL career.

“I don't really tell them that,” Saban said, “but I think we provide them with an opportunity and there's enough history all the way back to Michigan State, LSU and here that we've always played more than one guy so I just think that they see the opportunity.”

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