Countdown to kickoff: 15

From now until kickoff in Arlington, Texas, we'll be counting down the days before Alabama and Michigan get the season started. Today, we move to No. 15 and what it means to UA football. See all the previous editions here.

The University of Alabama and successful running backs have become synonymous in recent years. The last two starting tailbacks have played their way to New York City for the final Heisman Trophy voting. Mark Ingram became the first Alabama player to ever win college football's most prestigious award, and Trent Richardson was beat out by a pair of high-profile quarterbacks: Robert Grifffin III and Andrew Luck. But Alabama's success in developing quality running backs goes further back than Richardson and Ingram. It stretches beyond Shaun Alexander's run as well. A total of 15 times Alabama has had running backs reach 1,000 yards rushing in a season.

In 2012, it's junior Eddie Lacy's turn to carry the torch, though a 1,000-yard season may be in doubt. Given the loaded backfield -- Jalston Fowler, Dee Hart, T.J. Yeldon, Kenyan Drake -- and health concerns, there's a sentiment that Lacy won't get as many carries as most feature backs.

For Lacy, the number of carries doesn't matter, though. Neither did Alabama's history of producing tailbacks. Coach Nick Saban's no-nonsense attitude was enough to lure one of the top prospects in Louisiana to Tuscaloosa.

"My mom liked Coach Saban right off the bat," Lacy said. " I mean, he's very strict. So when she found that out, it was Alabama from there."

1,000-yard rushers at Alabama

  1. Johnny Musso, 1970

  2. Johnny Musso, 1971

  3. Bobby Humphrey, 1986

  4. Bobby Humphrey, 1987

  5. Siran Stacy, 1989

  6. Sherman Williams, 1994

  7. Dennis Riddle, 1996

  8. Shaun Alexander, 1998

  9. Shaun Alexander, 1999

  10. Shaud Williams, 2003

  11. Kenneth Darby, 2004

  12. Kenneth Darby, 2005

  13. Glen Coffee, 2008

  14. Mark Ingram, 2009

  15. Trent Richardson, 2011