If only Alabama’s Derrick Henry had a twin. One with a cannon of an arm and pinpoint accuracy.
That would solve a lot of questions.
"Somebody's got to make it happen," a somewhat exasperated Nick Saban said of the quarterbacks this past Saturday following the Crimson Tide’s first fall camp scrimmage. "I can't make it happen. As bad as I'd like to make it happen, I can't make it happen.
"As bad as everybody wants it to happen and they want to create this great hope that Coach said this guy is the man, I can't make it happen."
A few feet behind the handful of quarterback contenders receiving snaps from center this fall ... it's a far different story. At the running back position, somebody is making it happen. And somebody is the man. And that somebody is Henry.
Maybe it started last January when Ohio State — not Alabama — was putting a pounding on Oregon in the inaugural College Football Playoff championship game. During the sans-Crimson Tide title game, Henry put out a photo of himself on Instagram drenched in sweat working out inside Alabama's weight room.
His caption? “Only way I can release anger.”
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That drive to get Bama back to the mountaintop of college football apparently hasn't waned in the Tide’s new feature running back for 2015. Henry was co-recipient, along with Kenyan Drake, of the Johnny Musso Offensive Back Award this past spring, and Henry has continued to impress and — to stick with Saban's phraseology — “make things happen” in fall camp thus far.
"He has done a great job in this camp of carrying the football and being a hard guy to tackle and finishing plays," the Bama head coach said Saturday of the 6-foot-3, 242-pounder. "Nobody can complain about his work ethic and how he's playing. He's doing a fabulous job."
As a sophomore last season, Henry, playing behind then-starter T.J. Yeldon, rushed for 990 yards and 11 touchdowns, while averaging a hefty 5.8 yards per carry. He also had five catches for 133 yards and two more scores.
With Yeldon now gone to the NFL, everyone expects all those numbers to go up — maybe way up — for the one-time, record-setting high school running back out of Yulee, Fla., this fall. Especially if that fire that started in his belly last January continues to rage.
Yeah, Alabama may not have its “man” at quarterback just yet. But it does at running back.
— Written by Erik Stinnett, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Stinnett is an experienced college football beat writer who has been covering Alabama since 2009.