Roundtable: UA's RB situation

Every other week, TideNation's writers will answer a handful of questions that address a pressing topic regarding the Alabama football program. And with every Roundtable, we'll seek out the opinions of a guest. This week's contributor is ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill.

Question: Alabama picked up a commitment from ESPN 150 athlete Derrick Henry last Friday. What role do you see him filling when he gets to Tuscaloosa?

Tom Luginbill: As promised I'm sure, we feel he will start out in the offensive backfield in some capacity whether as the deep set I back or as a utility back in the role of a Jalston Fowler. However, we believe there are many factors that will determine whether he remains at running back. First off, his pad level is a real concern and it is hard for him to get it down without changing or decreasing his effectiveness as a natural runner. He is a downhill, one-cut runner who is most effective with his shoulders square, but he has marginal lateral agility and lacks sudden explosiveness to jab, cut and most importantly, avoid and make people miss. This has manifested itself against marginal competition at the high school level and will only become more accentuated against SEC competition. He is a back that if the middle is clogged, he will immediately bounce the play to the perimeter, but against top flight competition this will be far more challenging for him because he is not a sudden, 0-to-60 guy in terms of speed. It takes him a bit to build to top-end speed. The positive is that when he gets to top speed on a straight line he will win most, if not all, foot races.