The brilliance of Trent Richardson
A tape review shows how Alabama's running attack can wear opponents down
Defending against the Alabama Crimson Tide's ground game is as much about stamina and depth as it is size and strength. The Tide will wear down opponents for three quarters before delivering the knockout punch in the final 15 minutes, and their early-season win over the Penn State Nittany Lions was a perfect example.
Alabama took a 20-3 lead into the fourth quarter and decided to take the air out of the ball at that point, calling 13 rushing plays compared to just two passes (one of which was an attempted screen to RB Trent Richardson) over the final 15 minutes.
Using the Penn State game as an example, here's how the Tide can attack Arkansas on the ground:(Check out the video at the top of this article to see the runs described below.)
Part 1: Richardson's impressive skills
No back in the country displays a better combination of run skills than Richardson. Every time I study him on tape I gain a greater appreciation for his abilities. He is patient yet decisive, shows great lateral agility and frequently makes one or two subtle cuts in the backfield -- while accelerating off his plant foot -- that allow him to exploit creases most other backs would never find, let alone get through.
To read Todd McShay's full evaluation of the Alabama running game, you must be an ESPN Insider.