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September 24, 2012

Older of Kouandjio brothers back in action

TUSCALOOSA | Football season is tough enough on players, but for Arie Kouandjio, the off-season might even have been a bit tougher.

The older of the two Kouandjio brothers on Alabama's offensive line, the third-year sophomore wasn't sure what 2012 would bring as he rehabilitated a knee injury that was only the latest in an injury-riddled career as a UA reserve.

The UA coaching staff wasn't sure what to expect, either.

"We weren't even sure that he would be able to get back and be able to play this season," said UA coach Nick Saban. "He was ready this summer and has done a really nice job."

Kouandjio is Alabama's backup at right guard, behind starter Anthony Steen, and saw extensive action against Florida Atlantic Saturday. After spending much of fall camp just trying to fully regain his health, it was something of a watershed moment.

"Oh, man. I've seen him grow up so much, man. He's one of my best friends in terms of how he just overcomes adversity, it's tremendous," said left guard Chance Warmack. "He's fought through a lot in the three years he's been here. I'm just happy to see him succeed with what he's doing."

Starting left tackle and younger brother Cyrus, who rehabbed a knee injury with his brother over the second half of last season, couldn't be more proud.

"A lot of the athletic trainers talk about him a lot. They call him Jason, out of Freddy vs. Jason, because he just keeps on coming," said the younger brother. "They cut up both his knees, they chop'em up real good and he just keeps on coming."

Arie can also play offensive tackle, but has been working at guard since he regained full health in August.

Added Saban: "He's a pretty relentless guy."

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.

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