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Alabama Running Back Jam Miller Could Be a Heisman Darkhorse

Fans and players are eager to see the new look of the Alabama Crimson Tide this upcoming 2024 College Football season. Many new attributes will be included in the Tide, especially on the offensive side where there is a new offensive coordinator and a run-game coordinator. Among the biggest questions on offense is the impact of the run game. Sophomore running back Jam Miller looks to solve one problem by being the most reliable playmaker for Alabama this upcoming season. There are reasons to believe that Miller not only accounts for a breakout season but could be a dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate. Miller has the play style, frame, and coaches to be another Kenneth Walker for college football.

Alabama Running Back Jam Miller Could Be a Heisman Darkhorse

Chris Kapilovic has helped develop a Doak Walker Award winner before

One of the reasons for Alabama’s offensive line to improve in 2024 is the change in coaches. After two lackluster seasons, Eric Wolford wasn’t retained as the o-line coach. Even better, the Tide picked former Michigan State Spartans offensive line coach/assistant head coach/run-game coordinator Chris Kapilovic. He was incredibly successful with the offensive line in an offense that clearly needed development. The Spartans went into the 2020 season with a brand new coaching staff during the massive impact of COVID-19. That season the Spartans ranked 123rd in the nation in rushing yards per game (91.7) and 117th in points per game (18).

The next season with Kapilovic and the rest of the coaching staff becoming more comfortable and the addition of Walker via the NCAA Transfer Portal, the Spartans would show more stability on offense. A more stable experienced offensive line and Walker’s addition from Wake Forest caused a huge production rise for the Spartans’ run game. The Spartans finished the season averaging 176.5 yards on the ground (53rd in the nation) and averaged 31.8 points per game (39th in the nation). As a result of Walker’s tremendous play, he won the 2021 Doak Walker Award and became a unanimous All-American. No offensive linemen for the Spartans would be named to an All-American team.

Miller is similar to Kenneth Walker

His unique elements as a playmaker made Walker a dangerous back for the Spartans. Walker has a great burst in the open field, possesses great vision in the backfield, patience to let his blockers set up running lanes, and athleticism to make moves. These were traits that Kapilovic exploited significantly at Michigan State.

Miller didn’t have a lot of opportunity to make big plays for the Tide’s offense last season. Last season, Miller rushed for 201 yards and a touchdown on 41 carries. He also caught four receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown. Miller rushed for 223 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries in 2022. Like Jase McClellan, Roydell Williams, and quarterback Jalen Milroe, Miller was unable to make multiple big plays from in-between the tackles often. This was due to the inefficiencies of the interior offensive line through most of the season.

The offensive line, especially the interior, looks to improve in a big way this upcoming season. This will be even better for Miller as he can fully rely on more efficient pulling guards for more off-tackle run plays and runs up the middle. These are plays in which Miller excels the most as a running back. Once he finds a clear path, he is hard to stop. His balance and agility make him a big-play back and a perfect back in Kapilovic’s offense.

Photo Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports


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