Amari Cooper looks ahead to matchup with Ohio State

Kelly Ward

NEW ORLEANS | Amari Cooper doesn’t dislike New Orleans. He said he hasn’t been there enough to not like it.

He doesn’t like Bourbon Street.

“It’s just not my type of thing,” Cooper said on Monday. “I really don’t like big crowds and the noise and stuff like that. And a lot of stuff happens down there that I just don’t want to be a part of, but I didn’t mean New Orleans specifically. I know it’s a disrespect to a lot of guys who were born and raised here.”

The junior wide receiver doesn’t like the crowds on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, but the crowd in Bryant-Denny Stadium is different, especially when it lets out a loud “Coop” after a catch.

“It’s just a great feeling,” Cooper said.

Bourbon Street is a completely different atmosphere.

“People go to Bourbon Street to have fun,” Cooper said. “They drink a lot. I don’t even drink. You know, it’s just not my type of place.”

His type of place has been on the field where he’s accounted for 1,656 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns on 115 catches. His stats earned him a trip to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist, where he finished third.

Outside of Bryant-Denny Stadium, the leading receiver in Alabama history will leave a mark on the campus itself. He was named a permanent team captain along with quarterback Blake Sims, fullback Jalston Fowler and safety Landon Collins.

“It meant a lot to be named a permanent team captain because there’s a lot of guys on this team who I can affect, and I just want to do that,” Cooper said.

His name and hand and cleat prints will be preserved in cement at Denny Chimes on campus, where they will be found alongside Alabama legends like Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath and receiver Don Hutson, a legendary receiver who still holds 14 NFL records despite retiring in 1945 and who many credit with inventing the position Cooper now plays. 

Before he can cement his place in Alabama history, he is preparing for what No. 4 Ohio State will throw at him.

“I think their defense is great,” Cooper said. “They’re really solid and sound, and they trust what they’re doing. It seems like all the players know exactly what they have to do on defense. They don’t change up much of what they do on defense so they trust and believe in what they have to do.”

This week is about preparing to exploit weaknesses on Ohio State’s defense like it will prepare to do for Alabama’s offense, Cooper said.

He’s played in high-stakes games before. His freshman year, he played in the national championship. Last year, he played in the last Sugar Bowl of the BCS era. 

This year, the first year of the College Football Playoff, is no different.

“I personally think that it’s all kind of the same,” Cooper said. “We go into all those games expecting the same thing and that’s to win. We want to prepare as much as we can, and that’s what we’re doing now so it feels the same.”