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Coop, One of Those Freakish Freshman

When Amari Cooper showed up on campus last winter to enroll in classes and go through spring camp some thought that he would be a pretty good receiver in time being the 4th ranked receiver coming out of high school.  But, I would expect most didn’t see him contributing as much as he has this year and especially at the end of the season to become one of the top receivers in the SEC.  What set his early contribution in motion and set him apart as a true freshman was that when he showed up on campus he went to the coaches to request a playbook.  He didn’t wait until spring training or wait on the coaches to contact him he took the initiative to start learning the system and now it is showing with 53 catches and 895 yards and 9 touchdowns on the year.

Cooper, or “Coop”, as the fans and teammates like to call him has made a significant impact to the Crimson Tide offense this year and has helped them get to the national championship game.  Coach Doug Nussmeier knew he had talent coming in but he didn’t really expect him to contribute as much as he has thus far.  The Tide “OC” has been pleasently surprised and has in turn found more ways to get Amari the ball.  “You know,  when you get a wide receiver of his caliber, and to have the big play capability he has, obviously the big challenge early on is not to give him too much to where he’s playing slow.  So we really started with a small package for Coop, and it’s kind of evolved as it’s gone, and now he has the ability to do a lot of different things for us”.

Cooper has proven he has the maturity as a freshman and explains why he asks for a playbook which contributed to his early success. “I think it was important that I came in and asked for a playbook early on.  My goal was to play and contribute to the team this year, and I knew the sooner I could learn the offense, the quicker I could get on the field.  It also helped me a lot going through spring and getting out there and throwing all summer with AJ and the other quarterbacks”.

Jr. quarterback A.J. McCarron has had some very long, game winning, down-right impressive plays to Cooper this year and he knows just what the freshman receiver is capable of, (Cooper) “one of those freakish freshmen that you get in every once in a while in a class.  You can’t say enough about Coop.  He’s been an outstanding player for us this year.  He’s helped our offense grow a lot in the passing game, and being able to, I guess, spread the ball out all the way across the field.  He’s helped us tremendously.”  McCarron went on to say that ” ’Coop’ allows us to spread the ball around to a lot of people, and not just him, he draws a lot of double-teams, and that opens things up for other guys.”

When Cooper takes the field it seems as though he has this quiet calmness about him.  You don’t see him jumping up and down and in people’s faces but maybe that’s because he is a true freshman and just wants to focus or maybe that’s just his style.  Side Note: His demeanor is very similar to freshman T.J. Yeldon with the quiet and collected.  After a big time catch you don’t see him jumping up signaling a first down or TD he just gets up runs back the huddle and gets ready for the next play.  I think that is one of the standout characteristics of a Nick Saban team that is loved by fans and hated by rivals.  A “Sabanite” team typically (forgive me) “oozes” Confidence and Poise.  They have this calm about them that “takes the air out of the ball” for oppopponents.

Maybe that is what draws players like Amari Cooper and makes him fit in so well to a system like Alabama.  Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart made a comment in his press conference that at Alabama “we certainly have player descriptions, player profiles that we want, and if guys don’t fit that certain description, they may be a five star great player, and there are examples of that this year all over the country where everybody is like, why aren’t y’all recruiting him? Or he calls us and has great interest, we’re just not interested because we recruit to a certain standard”.  Obviously Cooper has the talent that fits the Alabama “standard” for sure, calmness he has as well and Monday night may determine just
what type of season Arami Cooper will finish with but it will more importantly determine what type of future he will have while at the Capstone.

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