Inside the offense

September 23, 2014


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For all the talk about Amari Cooper’s prolific performance against one of the nation’s top cornerbacks in star sophomore Vernon Hargreaves, that wasn’t the only dominant performance by an Alabama offensive player who was facing a legitimate star. Word from inside the Alabama football program is that freshman left tackle Cam Robinson graded exceptionally high in his first career SEC start. And with more than his share of action against Florida defensive end Dante Fowler, that wasn’t easy. One source said Robinson is ahead of where former Crimson Tide left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio was at the same time in his freshman season in 2011. Robinson has as strong a hold on his starting role as anyone in the starting five, despite being a true freshman at the most challenging spot in the unit.

Elsewhere around the offense…
First-year offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin got to stretch his play-calling legs in the Florida game like he hadn’t in three previous games. The 79-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper was a play Kiffin brought with him from Southern Cal — “sluggo seam” — in which the slot receiver runs a streak route down the middle of the field. … As clear as it is that Cooper is Blake Sims’ favorite target, it’s becoming equally clear that DeAndrew White is his second-favorite. White caught six passes against West Virginia, missed two games, then rebounded Saturday against the Gators with six more catches.  … Despite being less than 100 percent physically, Derrick Henry looked like a better back than T.J. Yeldon Saturday as Yeldon struggled to find running room on the perimeter. But it should also be noted that most of Yeldon’s action came against a fresher, better UF defense in the first half, while most of Henry’s came after the Gators defense was exhausted in the second half. … O.J. Howard finally got on the board with his first two catches of the season. Look for him to be more involved down the stretch of the SEC season, particularly if defenses begin bracketing Cooper with an extra safety. … Sims couldn’t be more entrenched as the starting quarterback after a magnificent performance against the Gators, though UA coach Nick Saban noted after the game that if Sims didn’t continue to play well, confidence was high in Jacob Coker. Translation: It’s Sims’ job as long as the fifth-year senior continues to deliver production from week to week.

Coming next week: Insider insights on the Alabama defense.

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