The Norman Transcript

National Sports

August 22, 2013

Alabama receivers generating buzz, expectations



The 6-foot-1, 202-pounder produced the fourth-best yardage total by a Tide receiver and had 29 catches of 15-plus yards.

Cooper has been limited in practice with a strained foot but produced 182 yards and three touchdowns on four catches in Alabama’s first scrimmage.

“He is absolutely amazing,” Tide cornerback John Fulton said. “Some of the stuff he does, I have no idea where he learned it from, but he’s absolutely amazing.”

Cooper has plenty of help, too. Alabama’s five returning receivers who played last year have a collective 128 games and 44 starts while producing 3,092 yards and 29 touchdowns.

Kevin Norwood has 144 yards in the last two national championship games while Bell is averaging 19.8 yards on 36 catches. White started the first five games last season before his knee injury.

That doesn’t include the highly touted Black, who was expected to play last season before a preseason shoulder injury. Coach Nick Saban pondered giving up Black’s redshirt for the Southeastern Conference and BCS championship games if necessary.

“He’s going to be a great receiver,” Bell said. “Y’all just watch out for him.”

Five-star recruit Robert Foster and fellow freshman Raheem Falkins are joining the mix, creating plenty of competition.

“Not one receiver is letting another receiver slack,” Cooper said. “We’ve been pushing each other every day. We’ve been pushing the young guys to learn the system, and it’s been very fun.”

Sophomore Cyrus Jones, a five-star receiving prospect who played some last season, has moved to cornerback.

Saban always insists he seeks a balanced offense, and the Tide has only a 124-yard edge in rushing yards versus passing in claiming the past two national titles. The offensive line underwent a makeover, but with tailback T.J. Yeldon and the receivers, there are plenty of skill players.

“I think this offense could be great,” H-back Jalston Fowler said. “I mean really good. We’ve got weapons everywhere. I think you could take any guy out and not miss a heartbeat.”

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