White showed promise at the “X” receiver position before going down against Ole Miss. He was fourth on the team with eight receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns, including a 51-yard bomb from quarterback AJ McCarron in the opener against Michigan. He seemed poised for a breakout season, but was injured on a running play. At the time, White said his feelings were more hurt than his knee.
Now, he’s back and feeling 100 percent. He hasn’t worn a brace since spring training.
Does White feel like he has something to prove?
“Oh yeah,” White said. “I missed the whole last season. I can’t wait to get back out here this season.”
While injuries of any kind are never a good thing, White going down paved the way for Amari Cooper to develop into a game-changing playmaker at the “X” spot. Now, White works at the No. 2 “X” spot behind Cooper, but says he knows every receiver position.
Another player who seemed to be heading for a big season before it was derailed by injury was Jalston Fowler. Fowler lined up at tailback, fullback and H-back before going down with a knee injury.
“I feel like I have something to prove to everybody,” Fowler said. “I started off on a good road last year and for that injury to come, it took me by surprise.”
His recovery took the longest and slowed his conditioning when working back for spring ball.
He weighed 267 pounds when the team began conditioning in February, but is now down to 246 pounds.
“He looks great, just like he left off,” tight end Brian Vogler said. “He’s a hard hitting guy who’s not afraid of anybody. That’s the exact same guy you’re going to see at the H-back position.”
Fowler may have found a home at the H-back position. It’s still a work in progress, but coach Nick Saban said Fowler will play all over the field.
“When I get comfortable with the H position, there aren’t any limits to what I’ll be able to do on that field,” Fowler said.
Then there’s wide receiver Kenny Bell. Bell broke his leg in the Iron Bowl and was ruled out for the season. But his rehab was ahead of schedule, allowing him to come back for the national championship game even though he didn’t play.
Bell feels his leg is stronger than before the injury and said it won’t affect his speed at all.
“It’s no concern. My leg is 100 percent healthy,” he said. “I just gotta keep my trust in it. That’s why I’m going out there everyday working hard to get myself back in shape, especially the offseason. I took it serious and I was running and competing with all the other receivers. I’m just happy to be out there.”
Bell wants scouts and fans to know he’s more than just a deep threat. Bell is known for hooking up with quarterback AJ McCarron on the long ball, particularly flea flickers. But he said he is working on becoming a more complete receiver.
“I’m just working on perfecting my craft,” he said. “I have more to offer than just running go routes. I’ve been working on my blocking, being more of a leader and becoming more vocal. A lot of stuff.”
If all three are healthy, Alabama’s offense becomes that much tougher to deal with. Each are valuable to their respective position with each possessing a unique skill set.
Still, all three have a long way to go as they ready themselves for game action.
“The question is, any time you’ve got guys coming off injuries like that, how will they be able to sustain when they have problems due to overuse or whatever?” Saban said. “We’ll just have to manage that as we go.”