Nick Saban has praise for Amari Cooper after scrimmage

Anniston StarAugust 11, 2013 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- If numbers truly never lie, then it's safe to say that sophomore wide receiver Amari Cooper is headed for another big season in 2013.

In Cooper's past three scrimmages, including two in the spring, he has 13 receptions for 410 yards and eight touchdowns.

Cooper finished Saturday's scrimmage with 182 yards and three touchdowns on just four catches. He scored on explosive plays of 75, 60 and 39 yards.

"The guy's worked really hard," coach Nick Saban said. "He's a hard worker, he's got a really good attitude, he plays fast every day in practice."

In the first scrimmage of spring practice, Cooper caught three passes for 120 yards and one touchdown. In the second scrimmage, he six catches for 108 yards and four touchdowns, which combined with Saturday equals 13 catches for 410 yards and eight touchdowns. He caught four passes for just 21 yards in the A-Day game.

But Cooper may do his best work off the field.

"When we do the summer conditioning tests when we come back, we do the cumulative points of the three tests, and he won," Saban said. "He had the most points of anybody on the team -- and Vinnie was second. So that means the guy's worked really hard. He's in great shape. And he's had a really good camp so far. And he had a really good day today."

The 6-foot-1, 202-pound wideout from Northwestern High School in Miami isn't the biggest, strongest or fastest receiver, but he continues to find ways to make plays. Last season, he set Alabama freshman records with 59 catches for 1,000 yards, both previously held by former Tide star Julio Jones. He also broke the overall school record with 11 touchdown grabs, previously held by Al Lary who had 10 in 1950.

The school records for receptions and receiving yards in a single season are currently held by Jones, who in 2010 had 78 catches for 1,133 yards.

All three of Cooper's touchdown passes were thrown by quarterback AJ McCarron. McCarron finished the day 13-of-21 with 267 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Saban said McCarron got a little banged up during the scrimmage.

"Everybody's going to make a big deal about this, but he got his foot stepped on … and he's got a bruised foot," Saban said. "He'll be fine. He'll be practicing on Monday and he won't have any problems. We just didn't put him back in for two minute at the end. But I really wanted Blake and the other quarterbacks to get a chance to play two minute because AJ has a lot of experience doing it. So it really wasn't that big of a deal."

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