Lacy heals during open date

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama running back Eddie Lacy has been slowed in recent games by a toe injury, but he got a break in the schedule with last week’s open date. Teammates say he’s looking like his old self at practice.

For the first time in a while, Crimson Tide star Trent Richardson’s change-of-pace backup could return to an impact role Saturday when second-ranked Alabama faces No. 1 LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

“Eddie’s going to be 100 percent,” Richardson said. “I can’t wait to get him out there Saturday and let everybody see what he can do.”

The timing of it all fits just fine.

Lacy starred for Dutchtown High, right down the road from the LSU campus, as one of the South’s top running back prospects. He was a high-school teammate of LSU safety Eric Reid.

Because he saw no action against LSU in Tiger Stadium last year, Saturday marks the 6-foot, 220-pound sophomore’s first shot at the school he knows so well.

“He’s from Louisiana so a lot of people have been asking him what he’s going to do and if he’s 100 percent and ready to go,” Richardson said. “I’m sure he sees it as a homecoming-type situation. I’m sure he’s ready to play.”

Coming out of Dutchtown, Lacy considered Tennessee and Ole Miss before signing with Alabama.

Closer to home, LSU showed only some interest.

“LSU tokenly recruited him,” Dutchtown coach Benny Saia said. “They came back on him pretty hard, but there were six months to a year where Alabama had recruited him aggressively and LSU had kind of put him on the backburner. He felt like Alabama had been with him from the beginning.”

Lacy took a redshirt in 2009, then carried 56 times for 406 yards and six touchdowns in a reserve capacity last year.

He began his sophomore season playing the role Richardson had behind former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram the previous two. He had three catches for 76 yards against Kent State and 11 carries for 76 yards the following week against Penn State. Against North Texas, he carried nine times for 162 yards, including 67- and 43-yard touchdown runs.

Since racking up 365 yards rushing in the first four games, however, he has only 100 in the past four.

The toe injury kept him out of an Oct. 8 rout of Vanderbilt and has limited him to 17 carries in three other games.

With the showdown against LSU closing in, Lacy appears to be back healthy again just at the right time.

“He looks good,” Alabama tight end Michael Williams said. “He looks like he’s ready to go to me.”

Alabama’s media relations department did not make Lacy available for interviews this week.