Alabama has been able to handily take care of their first two opponents without the presence of defending Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, who has missed time rehabbing from arthroscopic knee surgery. Backup running back Trent Richardson (if we can even call him a backup) has thrived in his new starter position, averaging 6.6 yards per carry so far this season.
Ingram returned to practice earlier this week, and all signs seem to be pointing towards him returning to the Crimson Tide lineup this weekend against Duke.
“He looks good. He’s excited to be back (and) we’re certainly thrilled to have him back,” Crimson Tide center William Vlachos said. “How much he’ll play, I don’t know. But he’s practiced the last two days, and he’s looked good. His spirits are high.”
In Ingram’s absence, sophomore Trent Richardson has averaged more than 100 yards per game, but Richardson is glad to have one of his closest friends on the team back just the same.
“It doesn’t look like he had any surgery, or that anything happened to him,” Richardson said.“I’m very excited he’s come back. I (texted) him just last night, and said, ‘Glad to have you back, big bro.’ There’s nothing like having him in the backfield with me.”Any doubts about Alabama's place atop the polls has been put to rest with two convincing wins against San Jose State and Penn State. The Alabama defense has yet to allow a touchdown all season, and with Ingram healthy they carry arguably the two of the best running backs in the nation. Some would even contend that Ingram is one of the best players in the nation and still isn't even the best running back on his own team.
Regardless of how you would rank them, the Crimson Tide are better with Ingram in the lineup, and they've looked awfully good without him. It would not be a surprise to see him take the field in limited action this week to get some game experience under his belt. Duke's defense gave up 54 points to Wake Forest and 27 to Elon, currently resting them at 114th in the nation in points against. This should be a good warm up so that Ingram does not have to see his first action at No. 12 Arkansas next week in Fayetteville.