Kenny Bell Injury: Alabama Players Who Must Step Up in Star WR's Absence
Following Saturday's 49-0 win over the Auburn Tigers, the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide must begin preparing for an SEC title game against the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs without star receiver Kenny Bell.
The junior broke his left leg during the second quarter of Saturday's game, and reports indicate he'll be out five to six weeks.
With Bell likely out against Georgia and possibly Alabama's BCS bowl game, the Crimson Tide will have to look to other players on offense to pick up the slack.
The following five receivers must step up in Bell's absence:
WR Amari Cooper
Freshman wideout Amari Cooper is currently Alabama's leading receiver with 45 receptions for 767 yards and eight TDs.
Cooper caught five passes for 109 yards and two TDs in the win over Auburn on Saturday—just another stellar performance by A.J. McCarron's top weapon.
When starting receiver DeAndrew White went down earlier in the season with a knee injury, Cooper stepped up and proceeded to carry the team in receiving. He's stepped up once before. No reason he can't do it again.
With Bell out, Cooper should see more balls come his way, but Georgia may be thinking along the same lines now that the freshman receiver lost his sidekick.
WR Marvin Shinn
Like Cooper, fellow freshman Marvin Shinn finds himself in a position to step up with the team suffering from injury.
Bell's injury should force Nick Saban to get Shinn some more playing time in the game against Georgia. Shinn has caught just four passes this season for a total of 28 yards.
The 6'3", 198-pound freshman will likely be a fourth option for McCarron behind Cooper, Kevin Norwood and Christion Jones.
WR Cyrus Jones
Cyrus Jones is another freshman who will need to step up in Bell's absence.
Like Shinn, Jones has also caught just four passes this season, making him a fourth or fifth option for McCarron.
The 5'10", 192-pound speedster has some return experience fielding kicks and punts for the Tide. He'll have to contribute in the passing game as well with Bell out.
WR Kevin Norwood
In the close win over LSU earlier this season, junior wideout Kevin Norwood caught five balls for 62 yards. He was the leading receiver that night.
Then, in Saturday's whooping of Auburn, Norwood had another big game, catching five passes for 65 yards and two TDs.
The junior has built some momentum toward the end of the season, and that's good news for a team that just lost its second-leading receiver.
Norwood should be targeted more regularly with Bell out, and his confidence level should be up after the performance against Auburn.
WR Christion Jones
Sophomore Christion Jones is like a tailback with receiver hands and blinding speed. At 5'10", he's not going to be winning very many jump balls against defenders, but once he has the ball in his hands, he's a threat to go for six.
Jones has 21 receptions for Alabama, not to mention his 386 yards in returns. Expect Jones to see the ball more with Bell out.
The Tide may have lost Bell's speed, but Jones is equally fast.