For Alabama junior running back Mark Ingram, his ability to bounce off defenders, spin off would-be tacklers and pound defenses for extra yards after initial contact involves more than keeping his knees up and his pad level low.
"It's something mental. I don't think it's something you can work on," Ingram said. "When it comes to game time, it's your willingness, your desire to keep getting extra yards, keep fighting, try and make a play for the team."
Ingram's unwavering desire to stay on his feet exemplifies what makes him a solid all-around football player. He doesn't have ideal size for a running back, and his speed is not elite, but it's the intangibles that turned him into Alabama's first Heisman Trophy winner.
"I mean, he is just tough, relentless, hard to get on the floor, " San Francisco 49ers running back and former Alabama backfield-mate Glen Coffee said. "When you hit him on square parts of his body, he's not going to fall."
And with an elite No. 2 back in sophomore Trent Richardson -- who many consider a better prospect than Ingram -- sharing his carries and lessening his load this year, odds are that a team will pluck a fresh and uninjured Ingram in the first round of the 2011 draft -- if he decides to forgo his senior season.
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