"Mr. Dependable" at tailback

Blessed with four athletes capable of starting at tailback, Tide Running Backs Coach Lee Fobbs looks to Ahmaad Galloway for senior leadership. <br><br>"When you look at Ahmaad, his presence, his work ethic, his drive--it just excites you," Fobbs said. "As a position coach, he gives you goose bumps.

"Ahmaad is determined to be the best that he can be in every area."

Maybe not the fastest or most elusive tailback on the team, Galloway is often described as the best all-around runner on the team. Practicing hard at both blocking and pass catching, Galloway works to have a well-rounded game.

Fobbs explained, "If I talk in a team meeting about being more productive blocking or receiving, then you're going to see Ahmaad out there on the practice field the next day working on that.

One of four athletes capable of starting, Galloway could be the most complete tailback on the squad.

"And you'll see him in the film room, working to improve himself in that area."

The Tide's leading rusher in 2001 with 881 yards and six rushing touchdowns, along the way Galloway turned in three 100-yard rushing games (144 vs. Vanderbilt, 127 vs. Auburn and 126 vs. Southern Miss). Galloway was the starter in 10 of Alabama's 11 regular-season games. The Tennessee native finished the 2001 season with 1,573 career rushing yards, 16th on Alabama's all-time list.

But as talented as Galloway is, the intangibles he brings to the field are just as important. "His leadership is another thing he brings," Fobbs said. "His senior leadership is outstanding. His presence is big."

As serious-minded a player as there is on the team, the rising senior never stops trying to improve. "The other guys follow Ahmaad," Fobbs said. "When they see Ahmaad out there, then it's ‘OK, this is the way it should be done.' It's always good to have that guy out there.

"He's the leader of our group."

Running behind the majority of Bama's starting offensive linemen at A-Day, Galloway earned most valuable player honors with 117 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts. And as a testament to his toughness, Galloway was hardly 100 percent in earning those yards.

Head Football Trainer Rodney Brown explained, "Ahmaad sprained his ankle during spring, and after the A-Day game it was still bothering him. He had developed some swelling a little bit further down in his foot. He was real tender there. We X-Rayed it, but it didn't show anything. But he was so tender over some of the bones within his foot, that we worried about a possible stress fracture.

One of the top weight lifters on the squad, Galloway sat out the recent Night of Champions nursing a bad foot.

"We did a bone scan, and it showed a hot spot, which is a sign of either a stress fracture or a stress reaction. It may not be a fracture, but it's on its way to becoming one."

Being cautious following the X-Rays, Galloway spent the Night of Champions on crutches. "We did a CT scan, to see if we could see a crack," Brown said. "It did not show one, so we're calling this a stress reaction. Which is fortunate. That means we caught it early enough to cut down on his rehab.

"We took him out, put him in a walking boot for a couple of weeks and rehab him from there. If he had just kept on going, then he would have developed a stress fracture. That cut down on his time in the walking boot to only two weeks."

At this point, the Tide medical staff expects Galloway to be fully healed for the summer conditioning program. "If it had been an actual stress fracture, then it would have been four weeks," Brown said. "He's rehabbing now and doing fine. He's walking and doing some straight-ahead running. We're not letting him cut yet. But he'll heal up and be fine."

As a member of the Leadership Council, Galloway had a great deal of input into the Crimson squad's winning strategy at A-Day. Draft as many offensive linemen as possible, and then ride the senior tailback to victory.

And Galloway wasn't about to let a gimpy foot hold him out of action. "The injury was diagnosed as a severe strain--not quite a broken foot, but he played A-Day with the injury," Fobbs said. "He was determined. And he's very productive, very productive."

But given what he sees from Galloway day-in and day-out through the season, Fobbs was hardly surprised by the gutty performance. "In practice we'll be working on situations and (from Ahmaad) it's ‘I'm going today, Coach. Tape it up and let's go.'

"That's his attitude."


BamaMag Top Stories