‘Little Strain' Doesn't Bother Eddie Lacy

Eddie Lacy has been a top story this year. Sort of. Alabama Coach Nick Saban was running down the beginning of fall camp when the subject of injuries came up. That lit a bulb, and Saban lit up the media.

During Alabama's summer workouts, there was a report that Crimson Tide sophomore tailback Eddie Lacy had been involved in a weight room accident. Moreover, the reports – which raced around the Internet – said he had torn his pectoral muscle and would be out for the year.

Crimson Tide followers were well aware of how serious a torn pectoral muscle could be because Bama All-America safety Mark Barron suffered that injury at the end of last season.

Depth chart analysis was rampant. Who would be the second back? The third?

Saban decried the lack of professionalism (save one or more "older guys" who called the football office to check on the situation).

When Alabama began practice, it appeared that Lacy had some sort of padding under his jersey around his right shoulder.

Wednesday, Eddie Lacy made his first appearance before the media.

After some talk about the progress of the team and Lacy personally, he smiled and answered the question of "what really happened in the weight room?"

"I was bench-pressing and kind of strained it," Lacy said. "It was a little strain.

"I don't even know how it got out so fast. I was in the weight room and then the next thing I know it was all over the media and stuff. But it was just a little strain."

Lacy said he is wearing a harness to keep him from extending his arm too far back, but that he doesn't expect to bother with that much longer.

And so, Alabama has its second back. Lacy said that fall camp thus far has been good with "everyone progressing," and he, personally, is "doing much better. I've progressed a lot. I'm starting to be able to actually step into my role as the number two back. And when the season starts, I'll be ready."

Trent Richardson, a pre-season All-America candidate who split time with former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram in his first two seasons, is expected to be Bama's top tailback. Traditionally, Saban has used at least two tailbacks in the rotation and Lacy is expected to be the one sharing most of the alternate load. Jalston Fowler is also in the mix.

"We've got to have three good backs," Lacy said. "We have a three-back rotation system that we're just going to stick to. Fowler's doing real good this year. He's stepped up a lot. He's running like me and Trent.

Lacy, a 6-0, 220-pound sophomore from Geismar, La., said that "whether you're number two or number three, you're going to play. You know you're going to get in the game and you have to do what you have to do whether you are number one, two, or three."

Lacy said playing with Ingram and Richardson the past two years has taught him "it's not all about being elusive. If you just follow the play that the coaches lay out, take your steps, read the hole, then you'll be a very successful back."

Lacy said that practices are more intense this year than last fall when Bama was coming off a national championship. The Tide would go on to a 10-3 season.

"Everybody's a lot more focused," Lacy said. "You don't want to go through anything like that again."

The 2010 season may not have gone as well as expected, but it had a good ending for Alabama and for Lacy. In the Capital One Bowl against Michigan State, Lacy averaged 17.2 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns in Alabama's 49-7 win. He had five carries for 86 yards and scored on runs of 12 and 62 yards.

" I think it was very important," said Lacy. "I set a standard for myself to play hard and play fast and play strong. Starting that game and then coming into this season, that's basically the expectation that everybody has and I have to play up to it."

For the year, Lacy played in 12 games and had 56 carries for 406 yards (a 7.2 yards per carry average) and scored six touchdowns.

As good as Lacy showed he could be in that game, early in the season he was best known for some inopportune fumbles.

"I got a little down on myself," Lacy said. "Fumbles happen; it's football. All you can do is think forward. You don't keep thinking about what you've done in the past. You have to move on. You've got to keep going."

Although he went through the last three-fourths of the season with no ball security issues, and then had no fumbles in spring drills, he continues to work on his ball-handling.

"That was a concern for a lot of people," he said. "That's what I've been working on all camp, and that's what I'm going to continue working on. I do the same drills as all the other running backs. I just make sure I have the ball high and tight at all times."

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