Norwood Working To Earn Position

If there is an Alabama player who came into his own in the nick of time it is Kevin Norwood. Not only did the upcoming junior wide receiver have a big game in New Orleans when Marquis Maze was lost to a hamstring injury, he is one of the most experienced returning men at a position that is rebuilding for 2012.

Kevin Norwood admitted that he has "a bunch of copies" of photographs from the BCS National Championship Game, when he went in for Marquis Maze at flanker after Maze pulled a hamstring while returning a punt. Norwood had four receptions for 78 yards, including memorable grabs over the Honey Badger, as Alabama defeated LSU, 21-0, to win the national title.

His catches came at critical times, and frequently against LSU's All-America defensive back, Tryann Mathieu.

Now Norwood is involved in Alabama spring football practice, and an odds on favorite to win one of the starting wide receiver spots. Bama lost three senior wide receivers – Maze, Darius Hanks, and Brandon Gibson – from the 2011 Crimson Tide team that went 12-1.

Bama will begin its second full week of spring practice Monday. The Tide has had five of 15 practices leading to the April 14 A-Day Game.

"We have a lot of new receivers getting to know the program, learning the routes, things like that," said Norwood, 6-1, 193, from D'Iberville, Miss.

Norwood knows he has work to do to win a starting job. "There's competition every day in practice," he said. "I've put in a lot of work and I'm glad Coach (Nick Saban) is giving me a chance. You can't take anything for granted."

If he has an advantage as someone who has been in the program for three years (he was redshirted as a freshman in 2009), he said, "Really, I just know what the coaches want. It's going to take some time for the young guys to get there. That's basically to go out there and practice hard every day, to go out there and compete and make plays."

He did say that two freshmen who entered The University in January, Chris Black and Amari Cooper, "look really good. They just have to learn to make plays."

Norwood said as for himself, "I'm always looking to get better at everything I do, even catching. The main thing I want to do is get better on my routes."

Although he has been primarily a flanker (Z), he has also worked at slot (H) the past two years. "I've been inside and outside, so it's no big deal" where he plays, he said.

Norwood said he learned good habits from watching predecessors Maze, Hanks, and Julio Jones.

"When I first got here, just watching those guys go out there and practice hard everyday basically made me want to go out there and practice hard everyday," he said. "They basically showed me what Coach Saban wanted in order to play."

Although Norwood was a child when famed NFL receiver Jerry Rice was in his prime, Norwood picked up on Rice as someone to pattern his own game after. "I used to watch him a lot," Norwood said. "That's the only receiver I ever watched. I like what he's done – catch the ball, get up field, score touchdowns. I still have to learn to run routes like he did."

He has watched "a lot of film" on Rice, Norwood said. He also watches a lot of film on current Alabama offense. "It's still a process," he said.

Like any wide receiver, Norwood hopes there is more passing in Alabama's offense this year. He said quarterback A.J. McCarron "really looks good."

He said he is also seeing good things from new players at another position that needs rebuilding, cornerback. Bama has two junior college transfers working at corner in Travell Dixon and Deion Belue. "They're catching on really good," Norwood said. "They have good size. They are physical. They're good."

BamaMag Top Stories