In the first two games of the 2007 season, the Tide rushing attack was quite stout. Against the Hogs, however, the Alabama rushing attack was stifled by tough Arkansas defense.
If you look at the traditional statistics, our three tailbacks (Grant, Coffee, and Johns) combined to rush for 115 yards off of 29 carries, with a touchdown being added by Glen Coffee. That's only about 3.9 yards per carry, which isn't very good in its own right.
But it gets worse when you look at the advanced statistics.
If you look at it through the perspective of the Running Back Success Rate -- which takes not only total yardage into account but also down and distance -- it was a terrible night for the Crimson Tide rushing attack. All told, of the twenty-nine carries by our three tailbacks, only ten carries would be counted as successes based on the Running Back Success Rate. That's a success rate of a lowly 34.4%. Yikes.
Last week I touched on the notion that Terry Grant very much seems to be a "boom or bust" runner, and he only reinforced that notion with his performance on Saturday. Long story short, ten of his twenty carries went for two yards or less, while only three of his carries went for 20 yards or more. To put percentages to it, against Arkansas 50% of his runs went for two yards or less, while only 15% of his runs went for ten yards or more. Compare that to the Vanderbilt game, where only 33% of his runs went for two yards or less, while almost 40% of his runs went for ten yards or more. Unfortunately, that disparity only highlights the downside of "boom or bust" runners. While they may light it up against poor running defenses, against better defenses they tend to have a dramatic upsurge in busts, and a dramatic downturn in booms.
Glen Coffee struggled almost equally. He had seven runs, but only two were successes. He had a nice touchdown run, but aside from that, productivity was non-existent.
Even if you look at things solely through the traditional statistics, you see that the overwhelming majority of our rushing production came off of four carries: runs of 39, 14, and 12 by Grant, and a 14 yard run by Coffee. If you take out those four carries, we had had a mere 36 rushing yards off of 25 carries. That's only 1.44 yards per carry over the course of 25 attempts. Again, yikes.
All told, the running game -- aside from four good carries -- was simply not able gain any solid production. We would hand off to the tailback, and the majority of the time the play went for a small and insignificant gain.
Credit goes where credit is due, and the Hogs essentially whipped us up front in the running game.