TUSCALOOSA | Facing a regular fullback for the first time this season, the University of Alabama defense picked one of the nation's best for an introduction Saturday in the form of LSU's J.C. Copeland.
At 275 pounds, Copeland is a menacing lead blocker for the Tigers' rushing attack, and even got involved in the offense with the ball in his hand. Copeland had three carries and two pass receptions, including a 42-yard catch.
"He's a very, very good blocker. He's very aggressive. He's very physical. He's a 275-pound, fireplug kind of guy that's hard to get leverage on," said UA coach Nick Saban. "Obviously on the one pass he caught in the flat, we couldn't get him tackled. Two guys missed a tackle and he ran about 50 yards, which was a really big part of the game. I think the guy's probably about as good a blocker at his position as anybody in college football."
Copeland, a senior, has helped LSU rush for 1,806 yards this season, kicking out defensive ends and plowing through linebackers to open holes for teammates. UA defensive end Damion Square came away with respect for Copeland's game.
"He does what he does well. He made some great plays out there for his team. Made some key blocks, opened up some holes and allowed running backs to escape for a lot of yards that we didn't plan to give up," Square said. "... Every time we play those guys and he's been a part of that team, he's done a great job on film in previous games, so we knew that he would have a great game against us."
For what was said to be the most physical game of the season against LSU Saturday, Alabame came out of the game without any significant injuries.
"The only guy who won't practice (Monday) is Eddie (Lacy), who should be OK by (Tuesday)," Saban said. "Just a little banged up. Had a little ankle, tweaked it a little bit in the game. (Amari) Cooper didn't really re-injure himself. He was just a little sore. He's going to be able to practice and be ready to go this week."
Cooper, UA's leading receiver, missed some practice time last week with an ankle problem, and played sparingly against the Tigers.
WCU game to kick early
Alabama's Nov. 17 game with Western Carolina will kick off at 11:21 a.m. and be broadcast by the SEC Network, the league announced Monday. It will be the Crimson Tide's first game this season in the league's morning time slot.
Black returns to practice
Freshman wide receiver Chris Black returned to practice for the first time since fall camp on Monday, but was in a black practice jersey, which signifies non-contact status. Black injured his shoulder on Fan Day in early August. It remains unclear whether Black has a chance to return before the end of this season.
Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week Monday after recording 12 tackles, including 2.5 for losses. Hubbard recorded a sack of LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger and was also in on a fourth-and-1 stop that gave UA a turnover on downs. ... The Alabama coaching staff's players of the week included Hubbard and Xzavier Dickson on defense, Cyrus Kouandjio, D.J. Fluker and Kevin Norwood on offense, and special teams contributors Cody Mandell and Vinnie Sunseri. ... Alabama leads its four-game all-time series against this week's opponent, Texas A&M, 3-1. It last played TAMU in 1988, a 30-10 UA road win. ... Alabama continues to lead the SEC in scoring defense at 9.1 points per game.
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