Ingram’s Injury Could Actually Help Tide
It’s a strange thing to say, but Mark Ingram‘s injury might make the Tide a more dangerous team. Now there is no doubt that it hurts the Alabama’s overall depth, but it means sophomore Trent Richardson will take over as the starter and that might make ‘Bama a better rushing team.
Ingram’s injury does take him firmly out of the Heisman race this year, which means once again we won’t have a repeat winner. Outside of that though, the only thing I really see it affecting is Ingram’s draft status. I had listed Ingram as the top running back in the country that was draft eligible (*note that was before I realized Dion Lewis of Pitt is eligible). My guess is with this injury and likelihood of splitting time when he gets back, could drop Ingram into the mid-late 2nd round range. If he finishes strong he still could be among the top 5 running backs, but he is in a precarious position.
Now don’t get me wrong Ingram is a great back, and among the top 20 in the country. Running behind that offensive line, and with those weapons around him his numbers would have been similar to what they are last year. But to me Richardson is a special back. Even last year as a freshman I thought he was the best back on the team. Richardson is a strong powerful, quick runner that isn’t easy for opposing defenses to bring down. He is even faster than his size would indicate, and has all the makings of a true franchise back.
With Richardson now in the starting role while Ingram is out/recovering, Alabama doesn’t have to worry about giving Ingram the majority of the carries due to his veteran status. And when Ingram does come back, Richardson will probably have a pretty good strangle hold on the starting job and the lion share of the carries. If and when Ingram shows that he is healthy, the Tide can go with a 60/40 split (with Richardson getting the 60) the rest of the way. While this might hurt Ingram’s draft status and prestige, it could very well help Alabama repeat as National Champions.