| NEWS Alabama football: Mark Ingram pushes back against Crimson Tide critics - 247Sports


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Former Alabama running back Mark Ingram pushed back against the notion that his alma mater is heading in the wrong direction after missing the College Football Playoff last season.

“I don’t think they’re heading in the wrong direction,” Ingram said to the New York Post. “They lost two games last year by what, four points? Both on the last play of the game. Obviously there’s a quarterback question mark, but there’s NFL talent all over that roster. No. 1 recruiting classes over 10 of the last 13 years. There’s no better person at developing talent than coach [Nick] Saban. I feel like we weren’t really running the ball effectively and efficiently last year, so I feel like we need to get back to running the football and stopping the run.”

Alabama has yet to announce a starting quarterback. It's a three-man competition between Jalen Milroe, Ty Simpton and Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner. Buchner is the most experienced of the three.

“I think Jalen Milroe is probably the front-runner to be the starter, and when you talk about dual-threat quarterbacks… he might be the fastest on the team full of NFL talent. I think Alabama can get back to where they need to go, I think we’re going in the right direction. If we get effective quarterback play, I think we’ll be right there in the playoff,” Ingram said. “Don’t count ’Bama out, man. I think we’re right where we need to be, and everybody doubting us, that’s when we make people pay, when everybody doubts us and counts us out.”

Ingram had a legendary career with the Crimson Tide. He played a major role as a freshman at Alabama, rushing for 728 yards and 12 touchdowns, but he really emerged in 2009 — his second year with the Crimson Tide. He stepped into the starting role out of the backfield and became the first Heisman Trophy winner in Alabama’s history after rushing for 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns with 334 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He guided Alabama to a BCS National Championship that year, earning SEC Offensive Player of the Year, first-team All-America and All-SEC honors. Ingram missed a couple of games in 2010 due to injury and declared for the NFL Draft following his junior year, finishing his Alabama career with 3,261 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns.

Ingram signed with the Crimson Tide in 2008 out of Flint (Mich.) Southwestern Commencement Academy. He ranked in the 247Sports Composite as the No. 112 prospect nationally, No. 10 running back and No. 4 player in the state of Michigan.
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