Tide notebook: Nagging injuries have held back Amari Cooper
by Marq Burnett
Oct 09, 2013 | 2452 views |  0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper (9) has his catch attempt broken up by Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper (9) has his catch attempt broken up by Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
TUSCALOOSA -- Because of nagging injuries, Alabama sophomore wide receiver Amari Cooper hasn’t performed up to the lofty expectations set before the season.

This season, Cooper has just nine catches for 100 yards. He has gone without a catch in two of the Crimson Tide’s five games.

Cooper has been bothered by foot and toes injuries since the beginning of preseason practice. Alabama coach Nick Saban said Wednesday that Cooper is “getting healthy.”

“It’s very frustrating when you have something that’s nagging you that you can’t do things on a consistent basis like you’d like to do them,” Saban said. “The fact that we haven’t played him as much lately, I do think he’s getting healthy and he’s had a really good week this week, so hopefully if we don’t have a setback, he’ll be able to continue to progress and do a good job.”

RUNNING BACK HELP: Sophomore running back Kenyan Drake has given the Alabama a nice counter to starter T.J. Yeldon in the running game.

Drake is the Tide’s second leading rusher with 192 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries. But it took a game to get started on his season.

Drake didn’t play in the Crimson Tide’s season opener against Virginia Tech a and didn’t even make the trip. At the time, Saban said Drake wouldn’t have a role in the game, but on Wednesday, Saban revealed a little more.

“Look, Kenyan Drake didn’t play in the first game because he didn’t do what he was supposed to do,” Saban said. “So he might have played more in the first game if he had done what he was supposed to do.”

Saban said Drake “hasn’t done anything different” to earn playing time, but has done “what he was supposed to do.”

Saban said Drake has played well for the team and he hopes he continues to improve.

“He's shown a lot more maturity in doing things the right way, and (we) trust and believe in him," Saban said. "I think the other players do as well. He’s been very productive so far this year. We’re hopeful that he’ll continue to do the right things so that he can play.”

HAHA CLINTON-DIX: While his stance hasn’t changed much, Saban provided a brief update on safety HaHa Clinton-Dix’s suspension. Saban said Clinton-Dix won’t play this weekend when the Crimson Tide travels to Kentucky on Saturday.

“HaHa’s suspended until we make an announcement that he’s not,” Saban said. “I think I’ve made that statement more than once. We would tell you if anything changes.”

Clinton-Dix was spotted at Wednesday’s practice working with the safety group.

KICKOFF AGAINST CHATTANOOGA: The Alabama-Chattanooga game Nov. 23 will be televised on a pay-per-view basis with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.

The University of Alabama and the Crimson Tide Sports Network will televise the game live in high definition with Chris Stewart and Tyler Watts calling the action.
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