Bama receivers make presence felt

Bama receivers make presence felt

September 10th, 2012 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Alabama coach Nick Saban

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

When Alabama won last season's BCS championship, Kevin Norwood was the team's ninth-leading receiver and Christion Jones ranked 11th.

They were reminded of that during summer workouts.

"We had a piece of paper with the receivers that had been ahead of us, and we looked at that and realized that it wasn't where we wanted to be," Norwood said. "We've worked hard, but we still have a long way to go."

If Saturday's 35-0 shellacking of Western Kentucky is a sign of things to come, Norwood and Jones may claim the top two spots this season. Norwood had three receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns against the Hilltoppers, while Jones had three catches for 47 yards and two scores.

Norwood had three catches for 53 yards in the opening win over Michigan, while Saturday's receptions were the first this season for Jones.

"I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing and be the best player I can be when my number is called," said Jones, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound sophomore from Adamsville, Ala. "It is kind of different picking up a bigger role than I had last season, but it's all part of the game. When you lose people, others have to step up.

"We all have the opportunity to do some special things."

Jones had just three catches for 49 yards last season, but he made his mark as a return specialist in the BCS title game victory over LSU, returning a kickoff 32 yards and a punt 15 yards.

"He's got really good speed and quickness, and he can really come out of the break and accelerate," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "I just think he needs to get confidence as a receiver by continuing to play and make plays. Hopefully each game is going to help him improve."

Norwood, a 6-2, 195-pound redshirt junior from D'Iberville, Miss., had three catches for 56 yards two seasons ago and scored from 36 yards out against Penn State. Last year, he tallied 11 catches for 190 yards.

The two entered this season without any career starts, but they're starting now and expect to again this week when the top-ranked Crimson Tide visit Arkansas.

"Everybody thinks we're just a running team," Jones said, "but we try and spread it out and let everybody know we're also effective in the passing game."

Said Norwood: "We definitely have to take it up another notch this week."

Wilson should play

Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson left Saturday night's overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe in the second quarter after sustaining a hit to the head. Razorbacks coach John L. Smith said Sunday that Wilson spent Saturday night in Little Rock for observation and that his prognosis is good.

Wilson is being listed day-to-day as far as returning to practice.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.