Alabama notebook: Arie Kouandjio's perseverence pays off
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Aug 29, 2013 | 1797 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio has come a long way to get to this point. He has persevered through two major knee injuries on his way to a possible starting job Saturday against Virginia Tech.

“Arie’s done a really good job,” Tide coach Nick Saban said earlier this month. “I don’t think I’ve seen anybody more dedicated or determined, work harder and he had a very difficult rehab. Most of the time you do this one time. He had it multiple times. We knew it would take him a long time to come back. He actually came back quicker than we thought.”

He’s set to start at left guard Saturday when the Crimson Tide open the season in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.

His reward for his dedication and determination is being able to line up next to his brother Cyrus, who’s the Tide’s starting left tackle.

“I’m very excited,” Arie said. “I’ve been waiting on this day for a very long time.”

The chemistry between the two will be unmatched.

“It’s crazy because I know he’ll break his back trying to help me out and I’ll do the same for him,” Cyrus said. “I’m looking forward to it. He knows what I’m thinking, and I know what he’s thinking by just a look.”

INJURY REPORT: During his Wednesday news conference, Saban said there were no players with major injuries. Two Tide players who’ve been battling nagging injuries throughout the preseason gave an update on their status heading into the opener.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper said his strained foot is “close to 100 percent, probably 95.”

“It got better every day,” Cooper said. “Now it’s fine. It’s not painful, but I can feel it. It’s something I can play through.”

Defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan missed a scrimmage because of a shoulder injury. Pagan said he’s “ready to go” and he’ll “keep it well-wrapped so nothing can bother it.”

“It was just some weakness in my rotator cuff, but I've been working out every day, twice, been getting some extra therapy on it, making sure I’ve been getting stronger,” Pagan said. “That’s what I’ve been doing so I’m better now.”
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