- Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer
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From now until kickoff in Arlington, Texas, we'll be counting down from 100 to 1 until Alabama and Michigan get the season started. Today, we move to No. 67 and what it means to UA football.
Last season Eddie Lacy battled a turf toe injury to appear in 12 games for the Crimson Tide. The fleet-footed running back from Louisiana showed glimpses of his elusiveness and power with the ball, but couldn't find a level of consistency because of the injury. Still, Lacy averaged 67.1 total yards per game -- nothing to sneeze at for a sophomore learning to play as the No. 2 back behind Heisman Trophy finalist Trent Richarson.
Two years ago, Richardson was in a similar situation to Lacy, backing up a Heisman Trophy back in Mark Ingram. The next season, with Ingram in New Orleans playing for the Saints, Richardson blew up, rushing for 1,679 yards and averaging 160.2 all-purpose yards per game. Richardson saw the biggest increase in rushing yards per game (+65.6 yards per game, or an increase of 103.1 percent).
Whether Lacy will be able to double his production carrying the ball is up for debate. If he does follow on the same track as Richardson, Lacy would run for more than 115 yards per game in 2012. Should fans expect that? Maybe, maybe not. With a crowded backfield (see Jalston Fowler, T.J. Yeldon, Dee Hart and fall enrollee Kenyan Drake) and lingering questions about durability, don't expect Lacy to carry the ball 22 times a game like Richardson did last season.
However, the possibility still exists. Quarterback AJ McCarron has another year under his belt and will do more to command four and five defensive backs away from the line of scrimmage and the offensive line is poised to be one of the best in the SEC with five linemen with starting experience.