Norwood Looks Ahead To Making Big Plays

Alabama receiver Kevin Norwood has had his biggest moments against big teams – or, to be specific, against Penn State. The Nittany Lions are gone from the Crimson Tide schedule for the foreseeable future, but that doesn't mean Norwood is looking back.

This week Alabama goes from the only game in the nation pitting ranked teams against one another to the No. 2 Crimson Tide taking on winless North Texas State. Kevin Norwood, a 6-2, 193-pound wide receiver, isn't going to overlook the Mean Green.

"We lok at all the teams as equally challenging," Norwood said. "We have a challenge ahead of us every week, so we go out there to play our best."

Thus far, Norwood's best has been against Penn State. A year ago against the Lions he had his first Alabama catch and took it in for a 36-yard touchdown in Bama's 24-3 victory. Last week at State College in a 27-11 win, Norwood had his most productive day in an Alabama uniform with three receptions for 25 yards. All the catches were on third down plays and resulted in first downs on scoring drives.

He had two third down receptions for first downs in Alabama's second touchdown drive, including a 12-yard pick-up to the Lions' three-yard line. His final catch of the game was also on a third down play, good for seven yards and a first down en route to a Bama field goal.

So would the sophomore from D'Iberville, Miss., like to play against Penn State every week?

"I don't know about that," he said. "I was just feeling great. I wanted to get more involved with the offense.

"The main thing I was working on was third down and being able to convert on a third down. I felt great getting more involved with the offense."

Norwood admitted he put his involvement in some jeopardy a year ago against Penn State. He finished his touchdown play with a flip in the end zone. Although it wasn't flagged, it could have resulted in a 15-yard penalty.

"It was a lot of trouble," Norwood confessed.

Norwood appreciates the performance of sophomore quarterback A.J. McCarron. "He's been doing great," Norwood said. "His confidence level is rising. He's learning the offense better and reading the defense better."

Norwood understands that he has to wait his turn in the Bama receiving rotation, but admits it's hard to be patient. "I see myself as a big playmaker for this offense," he said. "I want to get out there and make plays for this team."

The wait could be just a bit longer with the return of senior Darius Hanks to the Alabama lineup this week. Hanks had to sit out the first two games of the year in exchange for him being able to redshirt after playing briefly in 2007.

"He's a great receiver," Norwood said. "He's going to have a big impact. He's an important receiver to this offense. It devastated him to not be able to come out and join the team and be a receiver. He brings his motivation back to the team. He's a great receiver."

In the absence of Hanks, Norwood said, "I knew I had to step up and take his role and make plays."

Norwood doesn't know much about one of the big questions regarding Alabama, which is if and when Duron Carter will be able to play for Bama. The former Ohio State player who finished at Coffeyville Junior College, is still waiting to be declared eligible to participate.

"I know he wants to be out there with us, too," Norwood said. "I don't know the story behind all that. He still goes out there and practices just like everyone else."

With Hanks returning to the lineup, this might seem a bad time to have a slight injury. Norwood said that his ankle is "good right now. It's just a little sore, but we're working on it. I just sprained it. It got better. Saturday, I felt real good, and then kind of tweaked it again a little bit."

He'll get to see how things work out beginning Saturday when Bama hosts North Texas at 6:30 p.m. CDT in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Fox Sports South will televise the game.

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