Sophomore receiver Amari Cooper caught touchdown passes of 75, 60 and 39 yards Saturday afternoon to highlight Alabama's first scrimmage of the preseason.
Cooper, who last season became the first Crimson Tide freshman ever to accumulate 1,000 receiving yards, had four catches for 182 yards Saturday. He totaled 105 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions in January's BCS championship game rout of Notre Dame and had more than 100 yards in the two scrimmages leading up to the A-Day game in April.
"He's a hard worker," Tide coach Nick Saban said of the 6-foot-1, 202-pounder from Miami. "He's got a really good attitude, and he plays fast every day in practice."
Cooper's touchdowns came from senior quarterback AJ McCarron, who completed 13 of 21 passes for 267 yards with three scores and an interception. McCarron suffered a bruised foot late in the workout and was held out of the two-minute portion of the 130-play scrimmage that was closed to the media.
"He'll be fine," Saban said. "He'll be practicing on Monday, and he won't have any problems."
Backup quarterback Blake Sims led all rushers with 53 yards and a touchdown on four carries. Freshman tailbacks Derrick Henry and Tyren Jones each had 38 yards on 11 and five carries, respectively, while sophomore starter T.J. Yeldon had 35 yards on six carries.
Henry scored on a 3-yard touchdown, and the touchdown by Sims came from 30 yards out.
"We didn't get a lot of movement in our offensive line, but I was impressed with our backs," Saban said. "Overall, the first teams on both sides of the ball looked pretty good, executed pretty well and made some good plays. They showed the mental toughness and disposition you have to have."
Saban also singled out junior tailback Jalston Fowler, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last September. Fowler had three catches for 38 yards, and Saban said the 6-1, 250-pounder could contribute as a tailback or as an H-back.
Senior linebacker C.J. Mosley led the defense with four tackles, an interception and a pass deflection, while junior safety HaHa Clinton-Dix had three tackles, an interception and a pass deflection. Senior cornerback Deion Belue sat out the scrimmage with a strained hamstring.
Touted freshman linebacker Reuben Foster suffered a stinger late in the scrimmage, but Saban said there were not any serious injuries. The team will have today off.
"I'm not at all disappointed in where we are," Saban said. "We've just got to keep on keeping on."
Contract David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...