But Alabama senior running back Kenyan Drake did enjoy getting back into contact last Saturday as the Crimson Tide had its second and final scrimmage of fall camp. Beginning today, Drake and his Bama teammates begin preparation for the season-opening game against Wisconsin.
Drake was having a fine year last season as something of the X-factor in the Alabama offense. After four games he was leading the Tide with six touchdowns. He had carried the ball 22 times for 112 yards (5.1 yards per carry) and four touchdowns as the backup to T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry. But he was also being used as a slot receiver, and had five receptions for 159 yards (31.8 yards per catch) and two touchdowns.
In the fifth game, Bama’s lone regular season loss at Ole Miss, Drake suffered a broken leg.
He returned for spring practice, but did not have contact. Last Saturday he participated in a full-speed scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Following the scrimmage, Alabama Coach Nick Saban said that the plan had been to make sure that Drake took some hits, and that had been accomplished.
Drake said, “The defense did their best to tack le me. I, obviously, didn’t try to make it easy for them. But it was a scrimmage and I enjoyed being out there full contact. Actually getting taken down in a live situation kind of reassured me, especially when I was tackled on my legs. It was definitely a good feeling just being out there, just being at full contact.
“I got the ball a number of times, but ironically I kind of got bumped out of bounds a few times and kind of got held up in the pile. There were a couple of times I got tackled to the ground but I didn’t actually get tackled to the ground that much.”
Drake has also had a bit of a hamstring issue in fall camp, but said it’s coming along well. They aren’t trying to rush things, he said, but he’s trying to go out and play as fast as he can.
Drake is typical of players in fall camp, excited that fall camp is over and that Bama is now preparing for its season-opener against Wisconsin Sept. 5 in Dallas. “The intensity of the practices are the same,” Drake said. “Coach expects the same mentality going into practice. But you have a specific game plan for a specific opponent.”