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The Alabama Crimson Tide both won and lost Saturday’s contest against the Ole Miss Rebels.
They won via the scoreboard, dominating Ole Miss at the tune of a 42-21 victory over the then-No. 12 team in the country.
They lost, however, with the season-ending injury to running-back Jase McClellan, wearing thin a position-group that began the season with five scholarship players.
Saban announced on Monday that McClellan suffered a knee injury against Ole Miss and will have surgery that will cut his season short after contributing 191 yards and a TD on the ground.
He also brought up the status of Camar Wheaton, stating that the freshman RB is dealing with a mensiscus injury and is week-to-week. He has yet to be medically cleared to practice.
This raises some questions about the running back situation for the Crimson Tide.
Saban announced that they would be looking to see if anybody on the roster has had any experience playing the RB position to act as an emergency RB while Wheaton recovers. He said that they have some guys in mind, but wouldn’t be specific in giving any names.
“We’ll see how they might be able to develop and be an emergency guy,” Saban said.
It was reported on Tuesday that Crimson Tide LB Christian Harris and DB Malachi Moore have turned down the opportunity to fill in as emergency RB for Alabama.
Neither DB Malachi Moore nor LB Christian Harris said they were interesting in the emergency RB position for Alabama.
— Michael Casagrande (@ByCasagrande) October 5, 2021
With just three healthy running backs on the roster, the Crimson Tide are definitely in a vulnerable position.
“Five (running backs) is a good number to have and now we have three,” Saban said. “But I think that would be the case at any position. You lose two or three guys at any position, and it challenges your depth. So that’s the case. And hopefully you don’t get snake-bit and lose a bunch of guys at one position, which really can have an impact on your team.”
McClellan was most impactful as a third-down back, catching passes out of the backfield. He has caught 10 passes for 97 yards and 3 touchdowns through the first five games.
His abilities as a pass-blocker and power-runner were also evident. It will be tough to replace him as the secondary back to serve as Brian Robinson’s backup.
Roydell Williams will likely answer the call as the new third-down back.
Trey Sanders will also gain more opportunities as a result of McClellan’s injury.
“Jase is a very good player,” Saban said. “Did a great job as a runner, as well as a blocker as well as very good special teams player. We have to replace him in a lot of areas on our team, but we do have confidence in Roydell, and I think he’ll do a good job. Trey Sanders is going to get more opportunity now and he’s got to be able to step up and continue to make progress as well.”
Crimson Tide fans shouldn’t panic too much, Williams and Sanders are capable of holding things down. The only thing that should be of concern is the current depth.
Hopefully the coaching staff can identify a decent fourth option while we await Wheaton’s good-health.
Stay tuned to Roll Tide Wire for continued coverage of the Alabama Crimson Tide!