Cooper nearing full-speed after battling nagging toe injury
One of Alabama’s top offensive weapons is creeping nearer and nearer to full strength. That’s not good news for the likes of Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee — Alabama’s next three opponents. Amari Cooper, who led the Crimson Tide receiving corps last season with 59 catches for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns en route to earning Freshman All-America honors, has been slowed this season with a toe injury. He’s played in four of Alabama’s five games and caught nine passes for 100 yards. He’s yet to make a TD catch.
No one expects the 6-foot-1, 202-pound Cooper to remain too quiet for long though. Certainly not Nick Saban. “Amari’s a hard-working guy,” the Alabama head coach said this week. “As I’ve said before, he won the most points on all the tests in the summer conditioning program. He’s a hard worker and a guy who really, really wants to be good and do well. I think it’s very frustrating when you have something that’s nagging you that you can’t really do things on a consistent basis like you’d like to do them.” Cooper is healing, however. It’s just taken a little time. As well as some extra time on the sidelines on Saturdays.
“I think the fact that we haven’t played him as much lately has contributed to him getting healthy,” Saban said. “And he’s had a really good week this week. Hopefully, if we don’t have a setback, he’ll continue to progress and do a good job.” Cooper’s best game this season thus far came in the season-opener against Virginia Tech when he had four receptions for 38 yards, including a catch for 18 yards. While Cooper’s been mending, other guys like Christion Jones, DeAndrew White, Kevin Norwood and Kenny Bell have picked up the pass-catching slack.
Cooper and the rest of the Tide will visit Kentucky Saturday with kickoff set for 6 p.m. CDT. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
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