Alabama wide receiver Chris Black yearns for more playing time

Anniston StarApril 24, 2014 

Chattanooga Alabama Football

Alabama wide receiver Chris Black (5) dives into the end zone on a 31-yard run as Chattanooga linebacker Nakevion Leslie (28) defends during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

DAVE MARTIN — AP

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama wide receiver Chris Black became frustrated after going two seasons and having played few snaps.

Black, a former four-star recruit, redshirted in 2012 and expected to push for playing time in 2013. But with a log jam at wide receiver last season, Black played only in mop up duty.

"Yes, of course, it was frustrating," Black said. "The coaches understood. It was a depth thing. It wasn't anything I took personally. I still came out and did what I had to do every day in practice."

Black enrolled early along with junior Amari Cooper in 2012. Black put up impressive numbers in the Tide's scrimmages and appeared to be heading for a prominent role in his first season, but a hit from teammate Ryan Anderson sidelined Black for the season with a shoulder injury.

Heading into his third season with the Tide, Black has found new life as a few players ahead of him on the depth chart have moved on. While Alabama returns Cooper and seniors Christion Jones and DeAndrew White at receiver, the Tide lost Kenny Bell and Kevin Norwood.

"I feel I was a lot more focused (this offseason)," Black said. "I didn't worry too much about making mistakes as much -- just focused on my game and focused on the good things I can do."

With White out recovering from toe surgery, Black was one of the top three receivers along with Cooper and Jones this spring.

During the A-Day game on Saturday, he was the leading receiver for both teams with three receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown. On his score, Black showcased why many consider him one of the most explosive players on the team with the ball in his hands. He ran a short slant route and turned it into a 55-yard touchdown after breaking a tackle.

"He's something awful to cover, too," Tide safety Jarrick Williams said. "He's pretty good. Quick. He's a shifty slot guy. He can do it all."

When White returns, he'll likely push Black to the fourth receiver spot, but with new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin coming in, the personnel groupings are unknown at this point.

Black feels he is different than the other receivers.

"Being versatile. I can be in the slot or outside," Black said. "I've really made a lot of progress playing outside this spring with DeAndrew White being out; taking more reps outside than I've done in the past."

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