Bo Scarbrough may have waited until the middle of the season to get going, but he's definitely going.
Alabama's touted sophomore tailback rushed five times for 109 yards last Saturday in the top-ranked Crimson Tide's 49-10 win at Tennessee, punctuating the rout with an 85-yard touchdown run with 11:38 remaining. The 6-foot-2, 228-pounder rushed seven times for 56 yards and a score the week before in a 49-30 win at Arkansas.
"I think Bo has gotten better and better every week, and I think he's playing with more and more confidence," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said in a news conference after Wednesday's practice. "He probably has a little better understanding of what's expected from him, and he's made some really good plays. That probably contributes to him feeling pretty good about the progress he's making and the role that he has and the way he can contribute to the team.
"We're happy with his development, and we certainly need him. He's got a lot of ability, and hopefully he will continue to progress and play well for us."
Scarbrough was expected to be Alabama's top tailback after occupying that role throughout spring and August camp, but fellow sophomore Damien Harris got the better start to the season with his 138-yard performance in the 52-6 opening rout of Southern California. Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts collected a 100-yard rushing game in the third week at Ole Miss, while freshman tailback Josh Jacobs rushed for 100 yards in the fifth game against Kentucky after just missing out with 97 the week before against Kent State.
The 85-yard run by Scarbrough last week is Alabama's longest of the season, and it was the result of him outlasting Tennessee defensive backs Rashaan Gaulden, Emmanuel Moseley and Micah Abernathy to the end zone. Abernathy suffered a pulled hamstring while giving chase.
After the run, Scarbrough stuck his hand in the face of a Tennessee fan in the back of the end zone, and Saban was asked Wednesday if there had been any discussion about that.
"I did talk to him," Saban said. "I talked to the whole team about it. I don't know what category you would put the conversation in, whether it was talking to or — we've talked about these elements of (butt)-chewings before. I don't know where you would categorize that one.
"That's a young kid who people look up to. The world needs sports figures to have some admiration for with the way they carry themselves and the examples that they set, and that was not an action that contributed to that in any way. It's not how we want our players to represent themselves, their family or the program."
Scarbrough has 43 carries this season for 273 yards (6.5 yards per carry) and five touchdowns.
The Tide worked out indoors for more than two hours in full pads Wednesday, with Saban moving the team inside due to the unseasonably hot weather. Saturday's game against No. 6 Texas A&M will be Alabama's eighth in eight weeks.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.