Long Term Benefits

Kenneth Darby didn't mind some of the things about being a solo act in the Crimson Tide backfield, like piling up carry after carry and yard after yard. He wanted the ball as much as he could get it and there was nothing to complain about in that regard.

After Ray Hudson was injured for the year Kenneth Darby had 29, 25, 36 and 35 in the next four games against Southern Miss, Tennessee, Mississippi State and LSU.

After this year's second game Darby said he would have liked to gotten more than the 22 attempts he had, which is his season high this year. But not only is Bama building depth by using young runners Glen Coffee and Jimmy Johns, they are saving Darby.

"That's one of our goals is to reduce those numbers just because of the long season," Tide running backs coach Sparky Woods said. "The schedule's hard. We ended up losing him last year, I don't know if it was a result of that. But we wanted to cut it by 10 or so snaps, and he carried it 20 times Saturday. That's about what we would like, 20-25 times."

While wanting the ball as much as possible just like everyone else, Darby is on-board with the philosophy.

"I haven't been tired after a game yet," Darby said. "Coach Woods is subbing us in and out, I'm getting my - probably not as much as I want to get them - but it's keeping me fresh and feeling good when I go into a game."

Darby said that aside from the injury, piling up carries in the teeth of an SEC schedule is tough.

"It will take a toll on you during the middle of the season," he said. "You're going against some great SEC teams that play real well up front and hit pretty good. It'll take a toll on you toward the end, but it can be a mental game, too. It's either-or, it takes a toll on you but it can be a mental thing, too."

Said Woods, "I don't want him carrying it 30-something times. We were stretching it about as far as we could. I appreciate him for doing it, but I think we'll have a better back and have him longer if we can reduce that to around 20 instead of 35."

BamaMag Top Stories