While Alabama handily beat Mississippi State 31-6 Saturday, the news wasn't all good for the Crimson Tide as RB Kenyan Drake injured his arm and is expected to be out for three weeks.
His absence will be felt, if not this week against Charleston Southern, then in the Iron Bowl and, presuming he is still out a week later, in the SEC Championship Game as well.
And the backfield isn't the only place Nick Saban's staff will have to make an adjustment.
Drake is a key special teams player, so along with a backup rusher behind Derrick Henry, special teams coach Bobby Williams will be looking for a new face on the kickoff team and in kickoff returns, as well. Freshman RB Damien Harris is Drake's backup on kickoff return, so expect that to be the move on the KOR team. He's also next up on the depth chart a running back, but don't assume Harris will merely be plugged in for the next three games behind Henry. More likely, the second half of the Charleston Southern game will be something of an audition between Harris and Bo Scarbrough. And who runs the football better might be the least of measures. After all, Henry is the man the UA staff wants to run the ball. What UA will need down the stretch from either Harris or Scarbrough is an effective pass blocker and a reliable receiver. Which of the two does a better job in those aspects is at least as important as which runs the football better, if not more.
The pseudo-tryout will be a public affair at Bryant Denny Stadium against CSU on Nov. 21.
And whoever emerges will play a significant role as Alabama tries to seal a second consecutive SEC title.