Alabama Football: Crimson Tide Returning to its Roots

Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports /

Even as college football is rapidly and constantly evolving, some things will always remain the same. As the game moves towards spread offenses with an emphasis on throwing the ball, the DNA of Alabama football is still defense and the power running game.

With Heisman winners at quarterback and wide receiver in recent years, it is undeniable that the Crimson Tide has played its part in this evolution. Even two of the major names in Alabama’s running back room don’t look like traditional Bama backs. Jahmyr Gibbs and Jase McClellan are very talented, but their skill sets are highlighted by speed and pass catching ability. They thrive in space.

I am a firm believer that Alabama football will not return to the CFP mountaintop without some semblance of a power running game, and there are four players who I think can greatly contribute.

Junior running back Roydell Williams is returning from a knee injury, but should be back at full health this season.

Alabama football boasts four returning running backs, all juniors, and Williams is the undisputed power runner amongst the group. At the peak of his potential, Williams adds another element to the Alabama offense. He is the proverbial thunder to Jahmyr Gibbs’ lightning, and could be Nick Saban’s second half back to salt away games and batter exhausted defenses. He is also the most likely option at running back in short yardage situations.

Alabama Football: Lead Blockin’

Sixth-year senior Kendall Randolph has played a role in Alabama football’s power running game for years now. The wily veteran may find himself starting at one of the tackle positions this season. If Tyler Steen takes that spot as expected, Randolph will resume his normal role as a reserve lineman who also doubles as a jumbo tight end in power lineups.

Jumbo may be an understatement, as Randolph tips the scales at nearly 300 pounds. While he is undersized as an offensive lineman, he is massive for a tight end and essentially serves as Alabama’s sixth offensive linemen when inserted into the lineup. Kendall Randolph is one of the most seasoned players on the Alabama roster and should contribute mightily to the Tide’s power running game in 2022.

Sophomore tight end Robbie Ouzts saw limited time last season, both as a tight end and as a fullback. He is a physical, throwback type of player and may see an unexpected increase in his role early in the 2022 season. With the injury to senior tight end Cameron Latu, Ouzts may be next up at the position. While he is likely not the pass catching threat that Latu is, he is an effective blocker and may help spark the Tide’s running game.

Junior college transfer Miles Kitselman is another physical, in-line tight end that may have to step up in Latu’s absence. Like Ouzts, Kitselman is a hard-nosed, blue-collar worker that is more reminiscent of tight ends from the early Saban era.

These players give Alabama football some flexibility, as well as the opportunity to reinstate the power running game. Of course, that starts with the offensive line improving, but these guys can give the offense some added toughness and brawn.

Next. Fall Camp Position Battle at STAR. dark

Picture a goal line package with Roydell Williams in the I-formation behind Robbie Ouzts. Now picture Kendall Randolph, Miles Kitselman and a healthy Cameron Latu as the tight ends in a jumbo set with 23 personnel. It would be mighty hard to keep the Crimson Tide out of the end zone.