Alabama Football: All Chips Still In On Trey Sanders’ Future

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Alabama football has three top tier running backs in the backfield. Highly touted Trey Sanders’ success is key to ensuring the Tide doesn’t miss a beat

Alabama football redshirt freshman running back Trey Sanders had a disappointing introduction to college football on a balmy Saturday night Crimson Tide 38-19 victory over Missouri. Sanders finished the game with nine carries for one yard and one catch for negative two yards.

Do not become discouraged. Two items need to be taken into account— he entered the game with several starters from the offensive line removed. Also, struggling in first games are nothing new for hyped Alabama running backs; Najee Harris gained only 5 yards on three carries in his first game. Derrick Henry carried four times for 19 yards. Lastly, Damien Harris scooted for 23 yards on nine attempts. All went on to become great players at Alabama.

Experience Needed

During his Monday afternoon press conference, Nick Saban spoke about Sanders’ debut and the second half running game,

"“It wasn’t nearly as good. We had a couple other offensive lineman in there, you know, [Trey Sanders] didn’t have a lot of opportunity but at the same time I think the experience will do him well. We didn’t handle their front as well when we took some of the first guys out and I think that contributed to it as well."

Later in the season, the gained experience will help the six-foot-one, 214 pounder by adding quality depth alongside Harris and senior Brian Robinson Jr. and giving Alabama an additional advantage by wearing teams down in the second half. Back in August, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian provided context on using more of a committee approach after going away from it late last season,

"“I think, ideally, we would like to have a little bit more rotation, so that Najee is maybe a little bit more fresh into the second half.”"

Ready for the next level

Sanders came to Tuscaloosa as the seventh five-star running back under Saban, joining Damien Harris, Najee Harris, Derrick Henry, TJ Yeldon, Trent Richardson, and Bo Scarbrough. An extremely confident player in his dynamic ability, Sanders proclaimed he would bring another Heisman Trophy to Alabama as a freshman.

Unfortunately, Sanders suffered a significant foot injury in preseason camp forcing him to miss the entire 2019 season. This was Sanders’ first live-action in a game in over two years, and he did appear tentative when hitting the holes. However, missing spring and COVID-19 restrictions hampered his learning curve.

The Port Saint Joe, Florida native is still the same self-assured playmaker he was a few years ago: the nation’s top back who possessed an uncanny blend of speed and strength.

Alabama backs have won two Heisman Trophies, one Doak Walker Award, and three all-SEC recipients. The uber-talented Sanders is in great hands on the path to becoming a feature back under the tutelage of running back Charles Huff, who coached Saquon Barkley, who became the NFL’s highest-drafted back since Reggie Bush went number two in 2006.

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No. 2 Alabama football faces No.13 Texas A&M Saturday afternoon in newly renovated Bryant Denny Stadium at 2:30 pm. Stay engaged with Bama Hammer for updates.