Wiregrass Daily News Logo

2023 Alabama Preview: Running Backs

For the first part of the Nick Saban tenure at Alabama it was about a physical running attack and great defense. Those teams featured running backs like Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy, and many more. While Alabama continued to have talented players in the backfield, the offense went more with the air attack over the last few seasons. That started in 2014 when Lane Kiffin arrived on the scene as offensive coordinator with Brian Daboll, Steve Sarkisian, and Bill O’Brien following. That proved to be successful with great quarterbacks and receivers that are now in the NFL. With the departure of Bryce Young and not having an elite group at receiver, Alabama may look to go more run oriented in 2023.

Returning Veterans

New offensive coordinator Tommy Rees is used to presenting a more balanced offense like he had at Notre Dame. Also, Saban must look over at what is going on in Athens thinking that team is winning championships the way the Crimson Tide used to. A couple of experienced backs could be the focus of the ground game early in the season. Both Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams return to give Alabama a solid one-two punch. The two combined for 905 yards and 11 touchdowns last season sharing playing time with Jahmyr Gibbs. With Gibbs now off to the NFL, they should be able to produce even more. One will need to step up in the passing game with that being a big attribute that Gibbs brought to the team.

New Guys

That room does not stop with McClellan and Williams though. Alabama has a trio of young talented backs that could jump up in the depth chart. A lot of Alabama fans were very excited about Justice Haynes after the A-Day Spring Game. Haynes did not rush for a lot of yards, but he did score three touchdowns in the game. He was the number two rated running back out of high school, and already looks like a two- or three-year college player. The Tide also welcome in Richard Young who is a four-star recruit out of Lehigh, Florida. He was ranked as the fourth best running back nationally. Not to be forgotten is sophomore Jamarion Miller. He had 223 yards and two touchdowns last season.