When it comes to balance, Alabama is completely sold on it. The Tide are averaging 237 yards per game in the air and 212 on the ground. They've run the ball 426 times this season and passed it 335. Alabama has rushed for 26 touchdowns and quarterback AJ McCarron has passed for...26 touchdowns. Balance is what makes a team good and perhaps no one in the country is better at balance than Alabama. They're even balanced in the way that they share receptions from their quarterback. Receivers Amari Cooper, Kevin Norwood and Christion Jones each have exactly 36 receptions on the season.
Basically Alabama has a three-headed monster of a receiving corps and Oklahoma's task is to try and contain it. Part of that starts with putting pressure on McCarron but in order to do that the Sooners will have to cover well enough to make him check down in his reads. Here's a look at the guys that are the other half of Alabama's passing attack.
(#9) Sophomore, Amari Cooper (6-1/202) - After a stellar freshman campaign that saw Cooper gain a thousand receiving yards, he's had a very solid sophomore season. Averaging 17.1 yards per reception, he's been on the receiving end of a touchdown pass four times this year. His best game of the year came in the epic loss to Auburn where he caught 6 passes for 178 yards, including a 99-yard touchdown.
A speedy receiver, who has good body control, Cooper is a master at working the sidelines and can turn a small amount of separation into a large gap very quickly. Perhaps the most interesting stat about Cooper is that his yards per reception average goes up to 20.4 yards against ranked opponents.
(#83) Senior, Kevin Norwood (6-2/195) - He's not a big body receiver but he plays like one. Norwood has great hands but also has a knack at sealing off a defender with his body so that only he has a shot at catching the ball. The combination of his great body positioning and hands has him leading the team with seven touchdown receptions.
It sounds crazy with all three receivers having the same number of catches but Norwood seems to be the gut that McCarron goes to in a pinch. Cooper is the speedy/home run threat and Norwood is the third down/ red zone target. He's averaging 14.9 yards per reception and has a season long of fifty yards that came against Chattanooga. He's only cracked the century mark once this season and that was against Tennessee when he caught six passes for 112 yards.
(#22) Junior, Christian Jones (5-11/185) - There's no other way to say it, this kid is dangerous. He's a speedster that can make plays anytime the ball is in his hands. Oklahoma fans would compare him to Jalen Saunders in the area of play-making ability because he make the highlight reels on both offense and special teams. Averaging 9.7 yards per reception on the season, he also took a kickoff and a punt to the house against Virginia Tech in the opener and has been known to lay some devastating hits hits while on the coverage teams.
The scariest part about Alabama's receivers is that Oklahoma has the tendency to play soft coverage and give the receivers a cushion and these guys can make you pay dearly for doing that. They're not really big enough where they're going to out-muscle you but they sure can out-run you. The Sooners may be better served by trying to get physical with them by pushing them around a bit and keeping tight coverage.
Oklahoma wants McCarron keeping the ball in his hands a bit longer than he's used to and the only way that happens is if they can put a blanked on the Bama receivers. Nope...that won't be easy at all.
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