Sports

No. 4 Alabama's backfield posting underwhelming numbers compared to other star-studded groups

Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon (4) fumbles in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. LSU recovered the fumble. Alabama won in overtime, 20-13. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon (4) fumbles in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. LSU recovered the fumble. Alabama won in overtime, 20-13. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)  (The Associated Press)

The season has taken a toll on Alabama's once deep, imposing backfield.

T.J. Yeldon is nursing an ankle injury leading up to Saturday's game with No. 1 Mississippi State and Kenyan Drake is out with a broken leg. The fourth-ranked Crimson Tide's running game already hasn't been forcefully overwhelming opponents quite as it has in recent years.

The result is the team that has been continuously delivering bruising runners to the NFL doesn't have anyone among the Southeastern Conference's top 10 rushers.

Alabama coach Nick Saban says the tailbacks' production "has not been what it needs to be, not solely on what they've done."

Wide receiver Amari Cooper has replaced the tailbacks as the offensive go-to guy.

But Alabama's per-carry average has dropped by nearly a yard from last season.