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Alabama Running Back Success Rate: Game 6

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Not a good week for the running backs at all. At least one of them scored?

Wesley Hitt

Yes, Alabama won a road SEC game. Yes, we are still only one game (two, in theory) back from the division lead. And yes, it is becoming more and more obvious that our offensive line will need to get in some serious shape before long. I haven't been a fan for long, but this is easily the most somber I've ever felt after a win. Just a bad week all around for the runners. For the first time reader, the success rate tracks the frequency at which a running back has a "successful" run. A "successful" run is when a runner gains 40% of the remaining yardage on first down, 60% on second down, and 100% on third and fourth down.

School Player Carries Successful Carries Yards Yards Per Carry Success Rate
Alabama T.J. Yeldon 16 5 45 2.8 31.3%
Alabama Derrick Henry 7 2 25 3.6 28.6%
Arkansas Jonathan Williams 20 8 83 4.2 40.0%
Auburn Cameron Artis-Payne 16 8 70 4.4 50.0%
Georgia Nick Chubb 38 18 143 3.8 47.4%
Georgia Brendan Douglas 13 9 65 5.0 69.2%
LSU Leonard Fournette 27 13 140 5.2 48.1%
Mississippi State Josh Robinson 19 12 97 5.1 63.2%
Tennessee Justus Pickett 10 6 27 2.7 60.0%
Texas A&M Tra Carson 11 4 29 2.6 36.4%
Vanderbilt Ralph Webb 15 5 56 3.7 33.3%
Vanderbilt Dallas Rivers 11 7 47 4.3 63.6%

Well, ummm...yeah. Seventy yards between our two best backs (and really, two of the more talented backs in the country) is nothing to get excited over. "But Kevin, maybe Altee Tenpenny came in and got plenty of carries!" He didn't. A 30.4% success clip for the two main horses is just...not good. At all. The offensive line HAS to do better opening up holes, and the running backs have to do better hitting those holes. This was a bad night for the offense as a whole, but the running game was especially putrid.

Observations:

1) Vanderbilt's top two backs gained 103 yards and had a 46.2% success rate. That's not good. It all came in a one-point win against Charleston Southern. That's even worse. Vandy is just...bad. I know that's not shocking to anyone, but I hope this stat provides more insight into just how deplorably they're playing right now.

2) It took them until the middle of October, but the LSU coaches finally realized that Leonard Fournette is the most talented player on that offense. He absolutely trucked a Florida defender who, to be honest, should have put more consideration into what was going to happen when he got in Fournette's way. I'm still not sure how I feel about this LSU team as a whole, considering the defense gave up 27 (almost 31) points to Jeff Driskel and Anthony Jennings is still Anthony Jennings. But Fournette is going to cause a lot of problems for a lot of defenses.

3) However you feel about the Todd Gurley situation is your opinion, and I probably am not going to ask you for it. But he wasn't in Missouri on Saturday, so Mike Bobo, in all his glory, decided to give a freshman running back 38 carries in an SEC game. Look, I think Nick Chubb is a great player. He has All-SEC written all over him in the future. But they leaned on him more than they have leaned on Gurley all year. Chubb's YPC and success rate were nothing to write home about, but he was force-fed the ball all game long. I hope he can keep this up, but for his sake, I really hope Bobo splits up the carries a bit more.

Alabama still has to play Mississippi State, Auburn, Texas A&M, an improved Tennessee team in Knoxville, and LSU at night in Death Valley. Playing this poorly on offense will not get it done against at least three of those teams. Do you see another loss on Bama's schedule? Has LSU righted the ship? Do you now feel at least a little better about the Ole Miss loss? As always, thank you for reading.