UA’s Derrick Henry to re-establish himself in Heisman conversation
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Alabama’s showdown with Georgia at Sanford Stadium (Athens, Ga.) next Saturday will feature two of the most dynamic running backs in the conference, Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry.
Chubb, a sophomore, was stellar in 2014, totaling 1,547 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on 7.06 yards per carry. He averaged 119.0 yards per game and earned Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year honors. Chubb has a become a marquee name is this year’s Heisman conversation. He has recorded 599 rushing and six touchdowns in four games.
Henry, a junior, started the year with a dominant performance against Wisconsin.
He submitted his name into the Heisman talk after totaling 147 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 13 attempts. Henry averaged 11.3 yards per carry and earned three awards in week one, including player of the week honors from the Maxwell Award Foundation.
His eight rushing touchdowns tie him for first nationally with LSU’s running back Leonard Fournette. Henry’s 422 rushing yards have him fourth in the SEC, behind Alex Collins (Arkansas), Chubb and Fournette. Spotty play calling and inconsistent efforts from Alabama’s offensive line made Henry relatively quiet last week. Establishing an identity on offense was Alabama’s goal against Louisiana-Monroe; however, it did not work according to plan.
Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin wants to open up the playbook this week, and give quarterback Jacob Coker more confidence, but Georgia is going to consistently run Chubb. Georgia’s defense coordinator Jeremy Pruitt looks to create pressure to Coker.
The best way to neutralize it is to run into the middle of the defense. The Bulldogs have experience at defensive end and outside linebacker, but it is young at defensive tackle.
Alabama has to run Henry.
Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.