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October 12, 2012

A healthy Lacy is key for Tide

TUSCALOOSA | When the 2012 season started, the biggest health concern in the University of Alabama backfield was junior running back Eddie Lacy, coming off an offseason surgery.

Now, with two running backs sidelined for the year by knee injuries and two freshmen backing him up, Lacy has become the stalwart of the Crimson Tide running game. Against Ole Miss, he carried 19 times for 82 yards even though the Crimson Tide did not have its best day in the run-blocking department. But after an off week, Lacy said he will be full steam ahead once more in Saturday's game at Missouri.

"The bye week is always good for our bodies, to get our feet back under us, but we are anxious to get back on the field," Lacy said.

A healthy Lacy is important because Alabama - despite a couple of personnel moves to shore up the position - will have fewer backs to rotate.

"A rotation is good because you get some rest and don't have to bang your body up as bad," Lacy said. "You carry 20 or 25 times a game, that takes a toll on your body.

"As we all know who play football, you are one play away from injury. All we can do (when someone is injured) is encourage him and stay focused on what you have to do. That is what we have to do now."

Lacy expressed confidence in his two backups, freshmen T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake, who will get even more work in the absence of Jalston Fowler and Dee Hart.

"I don't think anything changes," Lacy said. "T.J and Drake are wonderful athletes. T.J. has already proven he can step in at any time. Drake has gotten to play some. So I think they can step in."

Running the football isn't all that is required, Lacy noted, but he said both freshmen are coming along as blockers as well.

"Pass protection is really just a matter of watching film and taking it to the field," Lacy said. "I think T.J. is picking it up and we will be fine."

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com or 205-722-0225.

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