With T.J. Yeldon, Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake, Alabama returns a trio of electric running backs in 2014 and new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is understandably excited to get them back on the field this fall.
Kiffin, the former USC and Tennessee head coach who was hired by Nick Saban in January, spoke at an event in Mobile, Ala. on Thursday night where he detailed the prospects for the Crimson Tide offense in the upcoming season. After saying that the team kept many elements from the 2013 offense while also changing other dynamics during spring practice, Kiffin offered a thought about his group of running backs.
“As you guys know extremely well, I think the offense is led by the tailbacks. There probably aren’t three more talented tailbacks in the NFL on a roster than we’re fortunate to be able to work with them at Alabama,” Kiffin said, per AL.com.
He could have said that Alabama has the best running back group in the NCAA and no one would have batted an eye, but to compare his group to an NFL depth chart -- comprised of the best players from colleges around the country -- is just silly.
All three backs are undoubtedly NFL prospects, but that is at least another year down the line.
Yeldon, a junior, ran for 1,235 yards and 14 touchdowns on 6.0 yards per carry last season. Drake, another junior, ran for 694 yards on just 92 carries while also scoring eight touchdowns. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Henry made his presence known in the Sugar Bowl with 100 yards on eight carries and a 61-yard touchdown reception.
Kiffin anticipates significant roles for Yeldon and Drake while also getting plenty of touches for Henry.
“Finishing his true freshman year at 245 pounds, running 4.4, that was really easy to come in and see that it’d be good to give him the ball,” Kiffin said.
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