'Bama back not focused on Heisman

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. --- Archie Griffin knows that one day he won't be the only multiple Heisman winner.

Alabama running back Mark Ingram is seeking to become just the second player to win multiple Heisman trophies.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Alabama running back Mark Ingram is seeking to become just the second player to win multiple Heisman trophies.

"Somebody's going to do it three times," the former Ohio State star said. "It's not going to be an easy deal, but somebody out there can get it done."

Enter Alabama's Mark Ingram.

The Crimson Tide running back has a chance this season to win his second, and if he sticks around for his senior year, possibly a third.

Last season he became the third consecutive sophomore to strike the Heisman pose, when only juniors and seniors had previously won the award.

But Florida's Tim Tebow couldn't do it. He made two unsuccessful runs at winning a second Heisman.

And Oklahoma's Sam Bradford had his quest for a two-peat end early with a shoulder injury last season.

For his part, Ingram sidesteps talk of a Heisman repeat.

"You really can't worry about that type of stuff," the compact tailback said, "all the pressure that people put on you."

But it's there, and will likely be there all season. So will the scrutiny, the attention and of course the trophy -- which is on display in Alabama's football building. It's the only one, after all, a Tide player has ever won.

Before the sophomore surplus, 11 juniors had won the Heisman since Griffin captured his second in a row in 1975. Only Oklahoma running back Billy Sims (1978), Brigham Young quarterback Ty Detmer (1990), Oklahoma quarterback Jason White (2003) and Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart (2004) returned for another shot.

The rest turned pro early.

Ingram has a couple of things in his favor: He plays for the defending national champions at a program that prides itself on winning national titles.

Tebow says that makes winning Heisman No. 2 secondary.

"There was people talking about it, but in my mind it wasn't a big deal because there was always so much more pressure in trying to win games and trying to win a championship than winning a Heisman," said Tebow, now a Denver Broncos rookie.

He came close -- twice. Tebow was the first three-time finalist and the first player since Georgia's Herschel Walker, the 1982 winner, to finish in the Top 5 three times.

Tebow offered Ingram advice after the two became friends during the trip to New York for the Heisman ceremony last December.

"He just tells me don't worry about all that, just to be the best player I can be," Ingram said.

Griffin says Ingram is the front-runner -- for now.

"I always have the incumbent being the favorite because they won it the year before," he said. "... With the type of team that Alabama's going to have and with what they've got coming back, I would imagine that he's probably the favorite."


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