Crimson Tide's corners could be better than expected
HOOVER, Ala. — University of Alabama junior wide receiver Amari Cooper has no problem saying that he won most of the one-on-one battles with Tony Brown during spring practices.
However, he was also very impressed with the true freshman.
“He has a huge upside,” Cooper said Thursday at SEC Media Days. “Very fast. Covers well. If he’s getting beat on a route, he recovers well. At the same time, he has a lot to learn. The defense can be pretty confusing, because of how complex it is. We’ll see how he progresses in fall camp.”
Heading into training camp, which will likely open Aug. 1, no starting positions may be more wide open than the two cornerback positions, which were unsettled for most of last season as well.
The closest thing Alabama had to stability at the position was Deion Belue, who struggled with a season-long toe/foot injury. Sophomore Eddie Jackson appeared poised to secure one of the spots in the spring only to sustain a torn ACL that required surgery.
“He’s been out there,” wide receiver Christion Jones said about Jackson. “He’s been rehabbing. He’s been doing a lot of running with us. He can’t go full go with us right now, but he’s progressing and he’s doing a great job rehabbing every day. We’ll be happy to get him back as soon as possible.”
For A-Day, coaches went with converted wide receivers Bradley Sylve and Cyrus Jones on the first unit, after both had to play before they may have been ready last year. Overall, four cornerbacks made their first starts last season: Jones (five), Jackson (four), Sylve (three), and Maurice Smith (one).
“They’ll probably be better players for us this year because they got to play some last year,” Coach Nick Saban said.
The veterans will be pushed by a group of extremely talented young players Brown and Marlon Humphrey, who were rated the top two cornerbacks in the nation for the Class of 2014 by 247Sports.
“The two young corners that we’ve got in, they’re doing a great job learning the defense,” senior wide receiver Christion Jones said. “They’re competing and if they keep competing, things could turn and they could find themselves on the field.”