Kenyan Drake – Alabama Man on a Mission Despite Setback in Sugar
By Larry Burton
I have emphatically said all year long, all preseason long and will continue to say that Kenyan Drake is a better running back than TJ Yeldon. I said it before the this season’s stats proved that Drake would have a higher yard per carry average as well as demonstrating more game breaking ability than Yeldon has. He’s also got a higher yards per catch average too.
But this past week, his head coach demoted him to third string in favor of a freshman.
Will Drake be like so many other greatly talented running backs who felt they weren’t getting enough playing time and take their ball and go somewhere else?
Not a a chance, at least according the Drake himself. Following the Sugar Bowl, Drake posted, “I’m not goin anywhere. Miss me with all this transferring mess. Much love to all my teammates and coaches. We doin big things next season.”
Did Saban do this to get the attention of the talented running back? Like he did with McCarron, is he testing Drake’s character and leadership instincts?
One thing is for sure, Drake has buckets of raw talent and Alabama would be well served to pour them onto any football field, but will this setback for Drake get the desired results? Will Drake cure his ball security issues, his blocking and blitz pick up abilities and more?
I wouldn’t be against it.
This year, in what seemed very limited playing time, Drake was still the second leading rusher on the Alabama team with 694 yards and eight touchdowns. He hasn’t touched the ball since one series of downs in the Auburn game that started in the late first quarter and ended with a touchdown. In that series, he ran the ball four times for 33 yards, never fumbled and averaged 8.3 yards a carry. All the other carries went to Yeldon who averaged just 5.4 yards a carry in that game.
So when Saban that Drake had gone to third string mostly because of “ball control” issues, certainly it wasn’t from that last game. Since none of us reporters were privy to Alabama’s practice over the time from the Auburn game to Saban’s statement, we can only guess that Drake had a tough time in practice holding on to the ball.
But whatever the issues were, and there have been rumors of other issues, look for Drake, a talented young man who also has the right mindset, to cure them.