All dressed up in their game day best, Alabama football players walked around the North end zone of Bryant-Denny Stadium Sunday before Fan Day. Media was granted interview access and spent about 25 minutes pulling players aside and getting their take on the upcoming season.
Running back Eddie Lacy was one of the players available. Having been sidelined this spring with turf toe, there are a lot of questions surrounding the Tide’s presumptive starting running back as fall camp begins.
Head coach Nick Saban said Friday after watching the veteran players practice that there wasn’t much Lacy couldn’t do due to his injury recovery.
“He went through this summer and worked through the rehab and worked his way up to what everybody else was doing in the summer conditioning program,” Saban said. “He hasn’t done a lot of cutting. That will be the next test. He took every rep in practice [Friday] and didn’t seem to have an issue.”
Lacy said that running backs coach Burton Burns likes “one-run cuts” and he can’t quite do that yet, but he’s working up to it.
“I have to take like two or three [runs] before I can actually make the cut, so that’s what we’re working on right now, but everything else is all right,” said Lacy, who was sporting a different cleat than most players that gives him more support on the soles of his feet to prevent further injury while running and cutting.
Lacy has some big shoes to fill, being the next in line in the Tide’s backfield after Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. But the junior doesn’t feel like he needs to be exactly like those stars.
“I just want to do what I was recruited to do,” said Lacy, who rushed for 1,080 yards on just 151 carries, averaging 7.15 yards per carry and scored 13 touchdowns in his past two seasons as a backup. “I’m not trying to be better than those two because they are great athletes. I’m just going to do what I have to do.”
Alabama has a good bit of depth in its backfield behind Lacy in Jalston Fowler, Dee Hart and T.J. Yeldon. As the group’s leader, Lacy is the one that makes sure everybody stays in position and “when we get in hard games, making sure everybody keeps their heads up.”
Freshman T.J. Yeldon, who enrolled early and participated in spring drills, has been a hot button topic. Some think he’ll climb the depth chart and maybe start a couple games this year.
Lacy sees the potential.
“He’s explosive,” he said. “He’s young, but it’s like he’s been here for a couple years. He’s a great athlete and I can’t wait to see him play.”
Video by John Garcia Jr.
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