Last year when people would speak of Trent Richardson being better than Mark Ingram, I was one to scoff at those remarks. Sure, Richardson showed us that he has amazing physical tools, but Ingram clearly had the experience, talent, and he was simply playing better. He won the Heisman trophy for a reason. I did think that Richardson had the potential to eclipse Mark Ingram, given time.
Perhaps that time has come, judging by this year's stats.
Overall, Mark Ingram has averaged 5.2 YPC compared to Richardson's 6.9. Now, that includes the early games against weak competition, which may skew things. If we just look at the past 4 games (South Carolina through LSU) Mark Ingram has gained 4.7 YPC on 61 carries while Richardson is averaging 6.1 YPC on 35 carries.
Clearly Richardson has been the more productive back this year. I have to wonder if starting him might be/have been the better option given our tendency to come out slow in games offensively. For now, this is going to be a moot point because of the injury that Richardson sustained in the LSU game. Furthermore I understand that there are other factors at play here. The coaching staff will do a much better evaluation of the players than what you get simply by looking at stats. Stats can be deceptive. And Mark Ingram does seem a little less prone to fumbles than Richardson (not that either one has butterfingers), so that might play a significant role in the decisions.
Still, if Richardson can get healthy for the Auburn game, I wouldn't mind seeing him get the start. We simply cannot afford to get behind in that game. Mark Ingram is an amazing running back. He's one of my all time favorite players. He brought us our first heisman trophy, and was a major contributor to our first BCS championship. He is a great person by all accounts. But the simple fact is that Richardson seems to be producing better runs this year.