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Nick Saban says Keilan Robinson would ‘be playing a lot’ at Alabama

The Texas running back has four carries in his last five games.

NCAA Football: Texas at Baylor Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports

The usage of Texas Longhorns junior running back Keilan Robinson has perplexed fans and observers in recent weeks, including, apparently, Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban.

Shortly after Saban’s comment surfaced, Robinson appeared to respond on Twitter.

A consensus four-star prospect in the 2019 recruiting class, Robinson committed to Saban in 2018 and spent one season playing under current head coach Steve Sarkisian — the Alabama offensive coordinator at the time — before opting out of the 2020 campaign.

Robinson received 39 carries for 254 yards and two touchdowns in 2019 with most of those carries coming in blowout victories. But after Alabama moved him to wide receiver during spring practice this year, he opted to transfer and committed to Texas in June.

The third-string running back for the Longhorns behind sophomore Bijan Robinson and junior Roschon Johnson, Robinson received 23 of his 27 carries in the first four games, mostly in mop-up duty, scoring touchdowns against Rice and Texas Tech.

Robinson has also flashed on special teams, blocking a punt against the Owls and having another negated via offsides penalty in the next game against the Red Raiders. He also has two tackles on special teams and a punt return for 28 yards.

But Robinson has been mostly missing in action on offense despite the coaches meeting to discuss his role, receiving one carry against Oklahoma State and then three carries late in the blowout loss to Iowa State, as well as two catches against TCU and one catch in each of the Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Iowa State games. Robinson’s 233 yards of total offense are currently less than his rushing yards as a freshman for Alabama.

Against Kansas, Robinson missed the game due to COVID protocols, but will be active this weekend in Morgantown and in position to receive more playing time with Bijan Robinson out for the season, freshman Jonathon Brooks dealing with a shoulder injury, and Johnson battling turf toe.

If Saban’s point is that Robinson has been underutilized with the Longhorns, though? Well, it’s difficult to argue with that.