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Damien Harris or Bo Scarbrough: Which running back shows out for Alabama?

Alabama running back Damien Harris (No. 34) rips off huge gain against Southern California: Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

The notion of having two talented running backs on the same team is never a bad thing.

Southern California had its pairing of thunder and lightning with LenDale White and Reggie Bush, while Alabama always tends to mold a duo in the backfield that complements each other.

Despite having Derrick Henry carry the load himself in 2015, many Crimson Tide fans thought that sophomores Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough could share the load. Scarbrough (6-foot-2, 228 pounds) snatched all headlines throughout the offseason, but Harris proved to be more reliable during the final weeks of fall practice and in the team’s season opener against the Trojans.

If it weren’t for a speedy track athlete in cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, Harris ends week one of college football with two rushing touchdowns. The Kentucky native and five-star recruit led all backs in rushing, totaling 138 yards on nine carries. Scarbrough did record a touchdown on 11 carries, nevertheless, Harris collected more explosive plays on a 15.3 yards per attempt average.

bo-scarbrough

Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough (No. 9) scores 1-yard TD against Southern California: Cedric Mason – Touchdown Alabama Magazine

One statement from Nick Saban’s presser after the team’s second scrimmage continues to resonate.

“Talent is given. Effort is not.” These were words that the Alabama coach told the media; however, it should be words for Scarbrough to meditate on. He has all the potential in the world to be special, but he doesn’t seem to be engaged when the offense is not going through him.

As for Harris, he possess a few traits that are similar to ex-Tide standout Mark Ingram.

The 5-foot-11, 214-pound developed much patience in the offseason, while improving on his vision, speed and reading cutback lanes. He is shifty with the ball in his hands, and a sound blocker when it comes to giving a quarterback time to make a decision. Harris was the most valuable player in Alabama’s spring game, and he intends to show why he should be the No. 1 back moving forward.

Saban wants a complete player at every position. Between Scarbrough and Harris, it boils down to which back wants it more. Both players will see action on Saturday against Western Kentucky.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama MagazineYou can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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