Nick Saban provides outlook of running back depth after first scrimmage

On3 imageby:Steve Samra04/08/23


Nick Saban provided some insight into the depth of the Alabama running back room following the Crimson Tide’s first scrimmage.

After an impressive 2022, Jahmyr Gibbs is off to the NFL, and there’s a huge hole at the position. However, Saban has four capable ball carriers on the roster in Roydell Williams, Jase McClellan, Jam Miller and Justice Haynes, giving the Crimson Tide plenty of options.

As spring football rolls on, the Alabama leader elaborated on the team’s depth at the position, explaining that he doesn’t believe the loss of Gibbs will be an issue for their offense.

“It’s been great,” started Saban. “I mean, all guys have done well. You know, all four guys have had really, really good springs. They’re all very productive players. All these guys can contribute to the team in some ways.

“I mean, going really, really, really well. That’s, as long as we can stay healthy, I don’t think that’s an issue on our team.”

Moreover, along with replacing their star running back, Alabama’s offense is undergoing a face-lift under new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees. However, some familiar names are retuning, specifically at the wide receiver position for the Crimson Tide.

Last year’s two leading receivers — Jermaine Burton and Ja’Corey Brooks — are both back for the Crimson Tide this season. Burton led the team with 677 yards and seven touchdowns after transferring from Georgia and Brooks was right behind him with 674 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns as a sophomore. Additionally, Isaiah Bond is also returning after totaling 220 yards and a touchdown last year.

Saban also pointed out a new face, JUCO transfer Malik Benson, and the type of impact he can have on the offense. That’s why he sounded happy with where the receivers are in their development. 

“I think Burton made some big plays today,” Saban told reporters afterward. “Ja’Corey Brooks made some big plays today. Benson’s had a really, really good spring and is capable of stretching the field and making big plays. Good all-around player. He’s certainly going to help us. Isaiah Bond has had a really good spring and has done a really good job. 

“So the receiver core has developed very nicely. Consistency and performance is what we need to continue to work on.”

As you can see, the Alabama offense may look slightly different in 2023, but Nick Saban remains confident. The Crimson Tide should remain a force next season, regardless of who they have on offense.