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The one-year circle for Amari Cooper will close complete on Jan. 7. On that day, the Miami native will perform in his hometown in the BCS National Championship Game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., almost a year to the day after he left the area to enroll in classes at the University of Alabama. The freshman wide receiver has needed just 12 months to accomplish a lot: Getting acclimated to college life, taking hold of a significant role in spring practice, overcoming injuries, and ultimately, posting arguably the most impressive season by a freshman receiver in school history. TIDESPORTS.COM VIDEO "It's a dream come true. It's the stage I dreamed of being on in high school," Cooper said following Alabama's 32-28 win over Georgia for the Southeastern Conference title. "It's a dream come true and I can't wait to go and play in front of my hometown."
"We wanted to play Brent at H-back, which we thought he was really good at, which is kind of where Brad Smelley played," Saban said. "I think the experience at running back is probably beneficial to his future, but we will see where that takes us when we get some other running backs in here. "If he can compete at that position, we are happy with him to do it. I really feel that with his size and skill set, he has really good hands and good speed, that he could be a good H-back for us." If Eddie Lacy doesn't leave for the NFL, Alabama will boast an even deeper backfield than the one it had this season. The Crimson Tide currently holds commitments from three players (Tyren Jones, Altee Tenpenny and Derrick Henry) who are capable of carrying the ball. Calloway was frank when he was asked what position he'd most likely be playing in 2013. "I really don't know," Calloway said. "Hopefully if I get back at H-back, I can work with the offense and we can work something out where that is an option for us ... We can have a double threat on the field."
They watched from the bench when Alabama defeated Georgia for the Southeastern Conference title in Atlanta, but they didn't feel left out. "This game was big for me," Sims said. "I know a lot of the players for Georgia. It felt good. I played here in high school my senior year for the state championship, and we didn't come away with the win. This win right here on this field is a weight off my shoulders, and I'd rather do it with this team than any team." They would be delighted to get to play against Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game. Whether they are called upon or not, they plan to be ready. "We're going to game-plan and Coach is going to give us the best opportunity to succeed, so we'll go over everything when the time comes," Drake said.
Rookie running back Trent Richardson scored two more rushing touchdowns Sunday, putting himself on a similar level as Jim Brown. Richardson tied Brown’s 1957 team record for rushing touchdowns by a rookie with nine. Richardson’s 10 total touchdowns also ties him with Brown and Eric Metcalf (1989) for the most touchdowns by a Browns rookie. "Something like that is an honor," Richardson said. "Jim Brown is an icon and always will be. He’s one of those guys you want to follow in his footsteps every which way you go in the football division."
University of Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has not interviewed for the head coaching vacancy at Southern Miss and is not a candidate for the job at this time, sources close to the situation told The Tuscaloosa News. The Crimson Tide’s first-year assistant coach was reported by the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American on Thursday as being among a group expected to take part in a series of interviews in an undisclosed location. That location, according to a source, is New Orleans, but Nussmeier wasn’t among those interviewed. Under team policy, Alabama assistant coaches are not available for media interviews.
Alabama vs. Georgia: The Crimson Tide could have this category all to themselves with their other classics against LSU and Texas A&M. The former game left quarterback AJ McCarron crying after he led a comeback win. The loss to the Aggies nearly cost him and his team a trip to the title game. However, the best was last with Alabama’s ground attack and McCarron’s long touchdown pass to Amari Cooper rallying the team in the second half, while the Bulldogs finished 5 yards short in a bid to knock off the defending champs in a 32-28 loss in the Southeastern Conference title game. Other memorable games include North Carolina State’s last-minute defeat of Florida State and Notre Dame’s goal-line stand in overtime that held off Stanford.
Scariest moment: Though it needed a favorable review call to get past Stanford in an Oct. 13 overtime thriller, nothing was as nail-biting as the Fighting Irish’s three-overtime victory over Pittsburgh, a Big East team that finished with a 6-6 record, just one week after its commanding performance at Oklahoma. The Fighting Irish trailed by 14 points in the fourth quarter, but it scrapped its way back into the game thanks to two Golson touchdown passes, a two-point conversion and some tough defense. Notre Dame traded field goals with Pittsburgh in the first two overtimes, but broke through in the third session with a 1-yard Golson touchdown run to preserve its perfect season. "We overcame a lot tonight," Kelly said. "We made uncharacteristically some mistakes turning the football over obviously twice in the end zone. Last year that would have been a loss for us. But our team kept fighting, kept playing. I told them that they have to understand that everybody they play against will play their absolute best."
MVP: Even on a team that ran its way to the SEC Championship, McCarron was the glue that kept it all together. He was the same McCarron who picked up offensive MVP honors at the 2011 BCS Championship, but better. It wasn’t until Nov. 10 against Texas A&M when McCarron threw his first interception, a key reason why Alabama carried one of the nation’s best turnover margins. His ability to keep defenses honest by spreading the ball to a variety of receivers only made Alabama’s rushing attack more dangerous. His 45-yard, play-action pass to Cooper in the SEC Championship, which ultimately proved to be the game-winner, was the perfect example of how McCarron made Alabama’s offense truly balanced.