"I'm pretty comfortable. I don't have any complaints," Kenneth Darby said of three-man rotation at the Tide's halfback spot. "Coach (Sparky) Woods is doing the best he can because we have some talented backs."
Getting roughly just one third of the carries in an offense has its advantages, especially in the running back coach Sparky Woods's system of changing backs often in the midst of a long offensive drive. Most defenses don't often change linemen or linebacker personnel during the middle of a series, which gives the Tide backs the advantage of being fresh.
"We're starting to get the hang of it and get a feel for it," Darby said. "The good thing is it keeps us fresh and keeps the defense on its toes."
With the rotation, Darby can go into a game with the mindset of being in on several short sprints, where he can go all out without any worry of wilting in the fourth quarter, as opposed to the game being a marathon in which he has to pace himself. Darby currently has 28 carries on the season for 197 yards, a seven-yard-per-carry average.
"If I was getting 35 carries a game I would just think about pounding," he said, "but with all three of us we can't really think like that."
Sharing time with Ray Hudson is one thing, but when the Tide enters the red zone it's not uncommon for Darby and Hudson to be together on the sideline while Tim Castille and Le'Ron McClain hammer away at the end zone. Watching that gives both Darby and Hudson some extra incentive to cap off long runs with touchdowns if at all possible.
"The jumbo set!" Darby laughed when asked about being on the side with Hudson during short yardage situations. "We crack a lot of jokes on the sidelines, saying that if we break a long one we better try to make sure we get it in because there's no guarantee we're going to stay in there."
To this point, Darby is holding his own in the touchdown category - Hudson and Castille have two touchdowns through two games, and Darby has one.
Darby had one more thing to be happy about Saturday night. After a 35-yard pick-up versus the Rebels, it was noted that the run was just behind his career long, a 41-yard carry against Mississippi in which he injured his shoulder a year ago.
"Believe it or not, I thought about that when I got up off the ground," Darby said. "That run was similar to what happened last year. But I got up feeling fine."