Countdown to kickoff: 86

June, 7, 2012
6/07/12
8:00
AM ET
From now until kickoff in Arlington, Texas, we'll be counting down the days before Alabama and Michigan get the season started. Today, we move to No. 86 and what it means to UA football.

In the 2011-12 season, Eddie Lacy and Jalston Fowler combined for about 86 yards per game. With Trent Richardson carrying the load, they didn't need to do much of the heavy lifting. With the defense worn out from having to chase and bring down Richardson, Lacy and Fowler could feast -- both averaging about 7 yards per carry.

[Keep in mind that they were two of the three SEC running backs (minimum 50 carries) to accomplish that.]

But the single-digit-per-game carries that Fowler and Lacy enjoyed last season will all but evaporate with Richardson gone. Lacy steps into the role as the No. 1 tailback and Fowler is anywhere from second, to third, to fourth, depending on how you see Dee Hart and T.J. Yeldon fitting in.

While Lacy will be the lead back, don't look for him to tote the ball 22 times a game the way Richardson did. Because of his health and the overall depth at the position, there's no need for Lacy to be that kind of workhorse back. Expect to see something similar to the 2010-11 season, when Mark Ingram was the No. 1 back but carried the ball only 34 percent of the time while Richardson took care of 24 percent of the carries in a backup role.

Alex Scarborough | email

Alabama/SEC reporter

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