Yeldon, Drake latest dynamic Alabama running back duo - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Yeldon, Drake latest dynamic Alabama running back duo

Posted: Updated:
Alabama's lastest running back duo, T.J. Yeldon, left, and Kenyan Drake, right, are pounding at, or running away from, opposing defenses. (AP Photos/Butch Dill/Timothy D. Easley) Alabama's lastest running back duo, T.J. Yeldon, left, and Kenyan Drake, right, are pounding at, or running away from, opposing defenses. (AP Photos/Butch Dill/Timothy D. Easley)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's string of formidable tailback tandems continues unabated.

Now, it's sophomores T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake pounding at, or running away from, opposing defenses. The top-ranked Crimson Tide's Tailback 1 and 1A have been piling up yards and touchdowns at a clip that would make the Trent Richardson/Mark Ingram and Richardson/Eddie Lacy combos proud.

It's business as usual in the Alabama backfield. One goes in, one comes out, and the Tide keeps rolling.

"It's not really competing because coach sees us as two people that can come in at any given time," Drake said. "Whether he's in or I'm in, we're both excited for each other. He scores a touchdown, I score a touchdown. He gets a big run, I get a big run. Or any of our backs. We're just happy for each other because we're helping the team win regardless."

They've been powering the way lately for an offense whose biggest star is quarterback AJ McCarron and deepest position is wide receiver.

Yeldon has run for 333 yards and four touchdowns in the last three SEC games going into Saturday's visit from Tennessee. Drake's production has been similar with 309 yards and five touchdowns, and both have been effective catching passes too.

"They're similar in terms of stature, and they play with a high level of physicality," Tennesssee coach Butch Jones said Monday. "Both have great speed. I think the one thing you can say about their program — it's what we're building here at Tennessee — it's based on competition. It's a competitive environment every day you walk in there. That's what we're building here, kind of the next-guy-in mindset."

The next guy in has been Drake, who has shed a slow start and squashed any speculation about whether a member of the latest group of hotshot running back recruits could overtake him on the depth chart.

Drake had 53 yards through three games and was held out of the opener against Virginia Tech for unspecified reasons. Now, he has seven touchdown runs and is averaging 8.2 yards a carry, the highest among the SEC's Top 15 rushers.

Since those three games, Alabama's running game has climbed from last in the Southeastern Conference in rushing to fifth.

The Tide is pounding away at a clip of 271.5 yards per game and 7.2 yards a carry since those early struggles and ran for 352 yards against Arkansas.

"I think those two guys have played well," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "Both tailbacks complement each other in terms of their style. One guy's a little bit faster (Drake). The other guy's more of an inside, make you miss, hard to tackle."

"I think the change of pace that the two guys complement each other with is really something that's good for our team. I think it's good for both of them as well."

This is starting to look like Saban's typical Alabama backfield. The Tide's tailback duos during the three national championship seasons under Saban have averaged 2,423 yards and 27 touchdowns. The only "down" year in the past four seasons was 2010 when Ingram and Richardson combined for 1,575 yards and 19 touchdowns and the team went 10-3.

Those two were both first-round picks — Ingram won the 2009 Heisman Trophy and Richardson was a finalist in 2011 — while Lacy was a second-round pick of the Green Bay Packers this year.

Lacy and Yeldon both topped 1,000 yards last season.

Yeldon and Drake have some ground to make up to match those numbers. Yeldon is sixth in the league with 686 yards while Drake's 402 ranks 13th. Both have run for seven touchdowns.

But their recent tear has still been impressive. Plus, Yeldon also has 11 catches for 104 yards and Drake eight for 101 yards.

"They are both great running backs and I have confidence in anybody we have really as a running back when they step in, they'll do the job needed," McCarron said. "Both of those guys have been playing great for us. The things that I'm happiest about is they do a really good job in protection and get out when they are supposed to and give me a check-down option, because a lot of teams know we have a lot of vertical threats, so they drop a lot of people back in the zone now.

"The check-down has been big for us. They've done an excellent job."

___

AP Sports Writer Steve Megaree in Knoxville, Tenn., contributed to this report.

___

Follow John Zenor on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jzenor

  • Auburn University SportsMore>>

  • Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:33:03 GMT
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.More >>
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.
    More >>
  • CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:22:20 GMT
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
  • Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-23 22:37:43 GMT
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Social media helps Homewood bakery find missing truck in under an hour

    Social media helps Homewood bakery find missing truck in under an hour

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:33 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:33:35 GMT
    A Homewood bakery got its missing truck back less than one hour after asking for help on social media. Two people saw the plea for help on social media and spotted it on their way home from a Barons game.More >>
    A Homewood bakery got its missing truck back less than one hour after asking for help on social media. Two people saw the plea for help on social media and spotted it on their way home from a Barons game.More >>
  • Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:08:43 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
  • Woman doused with gasoline and burned by ex-boyfriend

    Woman doused with gasoline and burned by ex-boyfriend

    Sunday, July 27 2014 5:04 PM EDT2014-07-27 21:04:38 GMT
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Social media helps Homewood bakery find missing truck in under an hour

    Social media helps Homewood bakery find missing truck in under an hour

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:33 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:33:35 GMT
    A Homewood bakery got its missing truck back less than one hour after asking for help on social media. Two people saw the plea for help on social media and spotted it on their way home from a Barons game.More >>
    A Homewood bakery got its missing truck back less than one hour after asking for help on social media. Two people saw the plea for help on social media and spotted it on their way home from a Barons game.More >>
  • Nationwide manhunt for Ozark man accused of kidnapping, sexual assault

    Nationwide manhunt for Ozark man accused of kidnapping, sexual assault

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:00:39 GMT
    David PittsDavid Pitts
    A 30 year old woman and 8 year old child are receiving medical treatment after they were kidnapped and sexually assaulted. A nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect.More >>
    A 30 year old woman and 8 year old child are receiving medical treatment after they were kidnapped and sexually assaulted. A nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect.More >>
  • Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:08:43 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
  • Woman doused with gasoline and burned by ex-boyfriend

    Woman doused with gasoline and burned by ex-boyfriend

    Sunday, July 27 2014 5:04 PM EDT2014-07-27 21:04:38 GMT
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
  • A triple shooting leaves one person dead

    A triple shooting leaves one person dead

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:51 AM EDT2014-07-27 15:51:55 GMT
    One person is dead and two others in juried in an early morning shooting in Ensley. Birmingham Police report incident occurred in the 1600 Block of Avenue I. Around 2:30 a.m. police were called to the location and found the victim lying face down in the street suffering from a gunshot wound to the back. Birmingham Fire and Rescue also responded to the scene and pronounced the victim deceased at the scene. The name of the victim has not yet been released pending notification of relatives. Ther...More >>
    One person is dead and two others in juried in an early morning shooting in Ensley. Birmingham Police report incident occurred in the 1600 Block of Avenue I. Around 2:30 a.m. police were called to the location and found the victim lying face down in the street suffering from a gunshot wound to the back. Birmingham Fire and Rescue also responded to the scene and pronounced the victim deceased at the scene. The name of the victim has not yet been released pending notification of relatives. Ther...More >>
  • Judge Rules Benz Plant Violated Labor Laws

    Judge Rules Benz Plant Violated Labor Laws

    Saturday, July 26 2014 11:29 PM EDT2014-07-27 03:29:07 GMT
    A judge has ruled Mercedes-Benz U.S. International violated labor laws while dealing with employees interested in forming a labor union.An administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board ordered MBUSI to revise rules in its employee handbook governing the solicitation and distribution of materials at its auto manufacturing plant in Vance.The United Auto Workers accused Mercedes managers of stymieing pro-union employees' efforts to distribute information about the union.Mercede...More >>
    A judge has ruled Mercedes-Benz U.S. International violated labor laws while dealing with employees interested in forming a labor union.An administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board ordered MBUSI to revise rules in its employee handbook governing the solicitation and distribution of materials at its auto manufacturing plant in Vance.The United Auto Workers accused Mercedes managers of stymieing pro-union employees' efforts to distribute information about the union.Mercede...More >>
  • Glen Allen man killed in accident involving logging truck

    Glen Allen man killed in accident involving logging truck

    Saturday, July 26 2014 6:17 PM EDT2014-07-26 22:17:25 GMT
    Alabama State Troopers say a 63 year old man from Glen Allen was killed in a two vehicle crash in Fayette County. It happened Friday night on County Road 73.More >>
    Alabama State Troopers say a 63 year old man from Glen Allen was killed in a two vehicle crash in Fayette County. It happened Friday night on County Road 73.More >>
  • Shooting victim's wife and sons want answers concerning homicide investigation

    Shooting victim's wife and sons want answers concerning homicide investigation

    Saturday, July 26 2014 6:11 PM EDT2014-07-26 22:11:45 GMT
    Family members grieve the loss of a 37-year-old man shot dead. Birmingham police are investigating. A family is asking questions as police hear conflicting stories.More >>
    Family members grieve the loss of a 37-year-old man shot dead. Birmingham police are investigating. A family is asking questions as police hear conflicting stories.
    More >>