Impact Players

Is Slade Bolden Alabama’s new multi-purpose weapon?

Slade Bolden breaking tackles
Slade Bolden looks to shore up Alabama's rushing attack. Photo by Brian Pride -- Touchdown Alabama Magazine

The beginning of a legend? Alabama’s Slade Bolden is an intriguing prospect as the former 4-star ATH, who hails from West Monroe High School in Louisiana, could be the Tide’s latest wrinkle in their already thriving offense.

But what about the running game?

That’s the dilemma. To start the young season for the Tide, they have yet to have a running back eclipse 100 yards for the game, which is odd for a Nick Saban-led team.

Bolden, who lined up at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver on offense in high school, took snaps at quarterback against South Carolina, giving birth to the “Slade-Cat” (Wildcat) package, formerly run by Josh Jacobs a season ago.

Related: The birth of the “Slade-Cat”: Slade Bolden’s new offensive package

However, during the last media viewing period, Bolden was seen going through drills with the running backs. It seems Saban and Offensive Coordinator, Steve Sarkisian are looking for any way to bolster their run game, being it has lacked explosiveness and consistency for the first three games this season.

Slade Bolden in the wildcat

Slade Bolden (18) lined up at quarterback against South Carolina recently, and has been working more with the running backs during practice. Photo by Brian Pride — Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Should the Tide not produce a 100-yard rusher against Southern Miss, it would be the longest streak in the Saban-era as he has not gone more than four games since 2007 without a single 100-yard rusher — with shades of grey. See the breakdown below:

2007 – Terry Grant, 136 rushing yards, first game

* 2008 – Glen Coffee, 162 rushing yards, fourth game

2009 – Mark Ingram, 150 rushing yards, first game

2010 – Eddie Lacy, 111 rushing yards, first game

2011 – Trent Richardson, 111 rushing yards, second game

2012 – TJ Yeldon, 111 rushing yards, first game

2013 – TJ Yeldon, 149 rushing yards, first game

2014 – TJ Yeldon and Derrick Henry, 126 and 113 rushing yards, first game

2015 – Derrick Henry, 147 rushing yards, first game

2016 – Damian Harris, 138 rushing yards, first game

2017 – Jalen Hurts, 154 rushing yards, second game

2018 – Najee Harris, 135 rushing yards, second game

Now, the 2008 season was unique being both Coffee and Ingram obliterated the Clemson Tigers defense with a combined 188 rushing yards (239 total for the team), which constitutes that grey area. While Alabama struggled against Tulane the following week with 99 total rushing yards, it got back on track and put up a whopping 281 and 328 yards rushing in back-to-back contests against Western Kentucky and Arkansas respectively.

While the Tide racked up 318 yards rushing against New Mexico State, it cannot be ignored it was a 55-point favorite over a program whose had one winning record in the past 16 seasons and five in over 50 years. Those 318 yards were mere fool’s gold given the 76 yards racked up against the South Carolina Gamecocks the week after.

Bolden, while primarily used as a wide receiver in his young career, can possibly provide a spark and added depth for a position still trying to find their way.

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