The NFL and college football have progressively moved away from relying on a running back to be the guy from the first game of the season until the final game. However, as the season creeps toward the the portion of the season where words like playoff and championship are included in the stakes of the game, the big, physical running back that was not the marquee guy during the first two months of the season can become a fresh-legged brute force. Think James Starks’ 2010 season with Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. Starks actually didn’t make his debut until December of that season and was extremely fresh for the playoff run in which his rushing yards in one season’s playoff was good enough for third-best all-time for a rookie.
These running backs are physically fresh relative to the guys on the other side of the ball that are carrying the burden of bumps and bruises acquired after weeks of punishment. To top it all off, no amount of game film study will prepare you for a player if said player can’t be found on any of that game film.
Alabama’s version of this player is sophomore running back Bo Scarbrough (6-2, 228). Because of the hype leading up to the 2016 season, Bo is a secret to no one. Scarbrough is known as a hybrid of Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy, and Derrick Henry. Due to injury, however, Scarbrough has not been as effective in 2016 as expected. But now is when guys like Bo Scarbrough become most effective. Scarbrough should be as healthy as he has been since September with the much needed four-week break.
The Tide coaching staff appear to be on board with this line of thinking as in indicated by Scarbrough’s 90 yards rushing on 17 carries on November 26th against Auburn and 11 rushes for 91 yards and two touchdowns against Florida in the SEC Championship Game. Not only will Scarbrough get 27 days of rest, he only needed a total of 28 carries to be productive in the last two games of the season.
Remember Derrick Henry in 2015? He ran for a ton of yards in those final two games, but he carried the ball 90 times. Granted, that is a ton of work for one running back in this day of “pitch-counts” and “carry-counts,” but Alabama had that luxury last year because Henry didn’t reach 30 carries in a game until the middle of October.
With all that being said, expect Bo Scarbrough to become a guy who wins the game MVP in one of the next two games. Of course, if Alabama loses to Washington, there will only be one game and all of this prognosticating will be sillier than it already is.