There Is Another Kouandjio For Tide
Although Arie Kouandjio is a year older than brother Cyrus Kouandjio, both are juniors for Alabama as the Crimson Tide works through spring practice in anticipation of the 2013 football season.
Cyrus is one of two returning starter on the offensive line this year and will almost certainly be in the All-America conversation, as were graduated offensive linemen center Barrett Jones, guard Chance Warmack, and tackle D.J. Fluker. Cyrus is the left tackle. Although Arie has worked at right tackle (the position he played with his brother at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md.), this spring he is working primarily at left guard, hip-to-hip with Cyrus.
Arie said lining up next to Cyrus "is insane. I love it. We're real in sync and we know how each of us feel and we don't really have to talk that much to know what's going down and stuff like that with each other. It's real cool, all of it."
Although Kouandjio says he can't even remember when he had a knee injury and had to rehabilitate, he can remember that he and brother Cyrus had to rehab together.
"Last year I couldn't really move that well, to say the least," he said. "I feel like I've come a long way. I was hurt, and now I feel really good."
In the Nick Saban system, offensive linemen learn to play more than one position. Arie said he "definitely" could try all the positions. "I feel pretty comfortable [at left guard], but I feel comfortable anywhere they put me."
He said Austin Shepherd has been getting most of the work at right tackle. Rounding out the first offensive front is center Ryan Kelly. In addition to Cyrus, Bama returns Anthony Steen as the starter at right guard.
(Arie has also worked at right guard. What's the difference, he was asked. "Which hand you put down.")
"I feel good about all the guys on the line," Kouandjio said. "I feel very confident on the ability we have on both sides of the ball, on any position. I'm real confident in what we can do, what we can attain this year."
Kouandjio said he and his brother "have always been very supportive of each other, and it doesn't stop here." That doesn't mean they didn't mix it up from time-to-time.
"I don't know if you could call what we did fighting," Arie said. "It was, oh, it was a different category. But now we're fine."
"No, not wrestling. It was break the walls. Get in trouble and then come back and do it again another day."
A little over a year ago the brothers were rehabilitating knee injuries together. "That's when competition came in and that helped us a lot," Arie said. "We turned it into a game and now we're here." He explained that the game of rehabilitation was a competition to see "who could get the most reps on leg extensions, things like that."
Alabama went through its first scrimmage of the spring Saturday, and Kouandjio said, "It was pretty good. There are always good things and there are always things you can get better with. You want to improve on those things and improve on the good things as well."
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