In the history of Alabama football, only a special few runners deserve mention in the same breath with the hard-charging Major Ogilvie.
Yet, thanks to the Crimson Tide’s enormous depth in the backfield, starting halfback Ogilvie rushed for just 512 yards during the national championship season of 1979 — one of 18 players to touch the ball.
“One of the reasons we were so successful was because everybody got to play,“ recalled Ogilvie, the first player ever to score a touchdown in four consecutive New Year’s Day bowl games. “Everybody got experience, which was a tremendous boost to team attitude and made us stronger.“
Times have changed, but backfield depth, albeit a much less pronounced 21st century variety, has played a significant role in the Nick Saban era. Junior tailback Eddie Lacy is now coming into his own thanks in no small measure to all the touches he got in relief of Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and first round draft choice Trent Richardson. Time after time, he came in to spell those upperclassmen and ran for big yardage, gaining the sort of experience that is paying dividends now that he’s the featured back.
Ogilvie, a Birmingham businessman who still follows Alabama football closely, has been impressed with Lacy’s progression.
“He’s got a good number,“ said Ogilvie, one 42 talking about the latest man to wear the jersey.
“I think it was very important for Eddie to be running behind those guys and learning from them on a daily basis. Mark and Trent set such a standard…[in terms of] competitiveness and maturity. Being around both of them was a very positive thing for Eddie.“
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