Tide notebook: Cooper's moves have an admirer on his own team
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Aug 16, 2013 | 2918 views |  0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper caught 45 passes in 2013. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper caught 45 passes in 2013. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
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TUSCALOOSA -- Every time Alabama sophomore wide receiver Amari Cooper touches the field, he is a threat to make a big play.

Cooper’s legend continued to grow after a stellar performance in Alabama’s first scrimmage of preseason practice. Senior defensive back John Fulton often defends Cooper in practice.

“He is absolutely amazing,” Fulton said. “Some of the stuff he does, I have no idea where he learned it from, but he’s absolutely amazing.”

Any examples?

“He has this thing he does off the line,” Fulton said. “I’m kind of catching onto it now, but he’s going to develop something else to mess with my head. He’ll take two steps outside, shake inside, shake outside and then shake back inside for a slant and its under .5 seconds. It’s so fast, you can’t time it. It’s crazy.”

What does Fulton do while Cooper is doing this?

“I just sit there,” he said. “I sit there and wait on the release.”

JAI MILLER: Freshman walk-on Jai Miller continues to impress Tide coach Nick Saban. Miller, a Selma native, is a former professional baseball player who choose to return to college this year. Miller is a 6-foot-3, 213 pound safety.

Saban noted there are five safeties “a step ahead of him” in terms of experience, but added Miller could develop a role.

“I think that Jai has done a really good job. He’s smart,” Saban said. “He’s a lot more mature being an older guy. I think he understands and I think when he plays with confidence and plays fast and keeps himself in good position, he's an effective player. And I think he could develop a role for himself on the team.”

Saban mentioned that Miller’s maturity made him an asset to the younger players.

“I’ll take all the guys like Jai I can get on our football team because he’s really mature and I think he’s really good for the other players and sets a good example and is really serious about trying to be a good player,” Saban said.

BRADLEY SYLVE: While defensive back Deion Belue (hamstring) was limited during practice, sophomore Bradley Sylve saw extra time with the first-team defense.

Sylve filled in for Belue in the team’s first scrimmage. Tide coach Nick Saban said Sylve has had a good camp, while teammate John Fulton mentioned Sylve’s great speed.

“He’s definitely improved,” Fulton said. “One of the fastest guys on the team. I'm not trying to race him anytime soon. I’m not going to say I can keep up with him. But he’s learning the defense and he’s becoming consistent. He’s an all-around great athlete.”

Safety HaHa Clinton-Dix also praised Sylve earlier this month.

“Brad’s been coming out every day and competing,” Clinton-Dix said. “He knows the defense. He is being ... what’s the word I’m looking for … he’s being explosive, consistent. He’s picking it up and being consistent with it.”
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