TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — The questions facing Eddie Lacy these days are turning more from the toe and ankle to TDs and yards.
Top-ranked Alabama' starting tailback had a slow start as Trent Richardson's successor this season, but appears to be hitting his stride after an offseason limited by injuries.
Lacy ran for three touchdowns against Arkansas and gained 106 yards on 15 first-half carries versus Florida Atlantic, reclaiming some of the spotlight from talented freshman T.J. Yeldon.
"It took a while," Lacy said. "But I'm slowly getting better and I'm starting to feel a lot better out there, getting more comfortable as far as running without thinking so much about injuries."
He missed spring practice to recover from toe surgery then had a hamstring and ankle injury slow him down late in preseason camp.
As a result, Yeldon took center stage in the opener, gaining 111 yards against Michigan.
Heading into Saturday's game against Mississippi, Lacy seems to be returning to the form of two years as a backup that helped ease Alabama fans' worries about replacing Richardson, a Heisman finalist.
"He's really had to fight through a lot," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. "He didn't really get back into shape because some of the time that he missed. Now, he's starting to get there."
It seems unlikely a third straight Heisman candidate will emerge from the tailbacks after Richardson and Mark Ingram (the 2009 winner) shined the spotlight on Bama's backs.
For one, a series of four blowouts have limited the chances for any of the runners in a backfield that runs at least four-deep. Lacy is averaging about 11 carries a game, splitting carries with not only Yeldon but Kenyan Drake, Dee Hart and, before a knee injury, Jalston Fowler. His 15 rushes against FAU marked a season high for the team.
Neither he nor Yeldon is even on track to reach 1,000 yards at this point, but Lacy doesn't seem particularly concerned with numbers for a guy who's finally getting his turn.