Amari Cooper Injury Gives Alabama's Young WRs Chance to Step Up in Camp

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterAugust 14, 2013

Alabama WR Amari Cooper
Alabama WR Amari CooperKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The injury bug tends to make the rounds during fall camp, and apparently Alabama is not immune.

Crimson Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper is listed as day-to-day with a strained foot, head coach Nick Saban told after Tuesday's practice.

Cooper worked with a trainer during Tuesday's practice and was a non-contributor in either of the two Monday sessions.

Saban said that he "will be out a few days, and be day-to-day" according to What does this mean for Alabama's wide receivers?

It means more reps for some of the younger players in camp, which could allow one or more of them to jump up the depth chart.

The wide receiving corps is much more than "Cooper and everybody else," and now everybody else will get a chance to step up.

Saban and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier know what they're getting with Cooper when healthy, and he should be healthy by the end of the week. He's a 6'1", 190-pound superstar with home-run speed, great hands and route-running ability that's second to none in the SEC.

His absence creates a void that will be filled by some other wide receivers who—for a variety of reasons—will benefit from a few extra reps.

Kenny Bell and Kevin Norwood are veterans who have established a good rapport with quarterback AJ McCarron. They don't really need the extra work. But now the younger guys have an even bigger opportunity to develop that same chemistry with the quarterback and familiarity with the offense.

That's not only going to help Alabama this year, but the transition to the next quarterback in 2014.

Giving junior DeAndrew White a little more attention off of his ACL surgery can only help his confidence. He says he's 100 percent and can "shine by anything;" and if that's true, a little more attention will work wonders for his already glaring confidence.

The newcomers are the ones to watch, though, especially 6'3", 187-pound true freshman Robert Foster and 6'4", 203-pound true freshman Raheem Falkins.

It was debatable whether or not Foster would even qualify, but the hot-shot recruit in the class of 2013 will now get a few extra reps in practice—which could pay an immediate dividend. One look at his highlight reel and you can see how dangerous he can be.

He's got the frame to be a major weapon over the middle, the speed to take the top off of a defense and the height to go up over opposing defensive backs.

Falkins could also benefit. Like Foster, the former 4-star prospect has the size and frame to be dangerous in a variety of ways. Unlike Foster, Falkins enrolled early, got a jump-start on the playbook this spring and shone in offseason workouts, according to

"Raheem Falkins has been unbelievable," McCarron said at SEC Media Days in July. "You throw it anywhere in his area, he does a great job of going up and getting the ball. He’s got really strong hands for a younger kid. In traffic, he holds onto the ball really well."

To a lesser extent, Chris Black will get some more attention too in the slot behind Christion Jones.

Chris Black was supposed to make an immediate impact last season for the Tide, but a shoulder injury derailed his season. After redshirting while rehabilitating, the 5'11", 182-pounder will get more work with the first team and give Nussmeier more of an idea of how to use him in the offense.

He's a bit smaller than Cooper; and if a healthy Cooper is drawing the attention in game situations, Black could become the breakout star of the Crimson Tide offense.

All of these players will get a little extra work in the immediate future in Alabama camp, which will help solidify mind-blowing depth at wide receiver this year and ease the transition into 2014 with a new quarterback.


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