Notes: Kenny Bell more than a speedster

August, 8, 2012
8/08/12
4:15
PM ET
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- When coaches and players talk about Kenny Bell, his speed is usually the first thing to come up. The University of Alabama receiver is known as a threat in the vertical passing game, but he'd like to be known for much more.

[+] EnlargeAJ McCarron
Marvin Gentry/US PresswireTide quarterback AJ McCarron might have a top receiving threat in Kenny Bell.
"[Speed] is just an aspect I have," Bell said after Wednesday morning's practice. "But I just don't want to be known as a speed guy. I want to be known as a receiver that's known all the way around."

The junior from Rayville, La., caught 17 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns last season. His 15 yards per catch average was the best of any receiver on the team with 15 or more receptions.

But is he the fastest on the team? Not even he can answer that question.

"We've got a lot of guys, I really couldn't even tell you," he said. "We always talk about racing each other, but we just haven't had the time yet. But we're going to wind up seeing in the near future."

Bell said he worked hard during the offseason and is anticipating a bigger role on offense in his fourth year at the Capstone. At the A-Day scrimmage in April, Bell led all receivers with five catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.

On Monday, Kevin Norwood said he and Bell have been looking forward to becoming leaders for years. With the top four pass-catchers from last season gone, they have the opportunity.

"I'm like a big brother to the guys," Bell said. "I try to come out and compete and try to lead by example. I'm going to push them hard as they push me hard. I'm going to lift them up when they need to be lifted up. I want to compete with them, and make sure they can be the best they can be."

The competition in camp has been intense with veterans and rookies alike vying for playing time.

"We're just competing with each other, pushing each other to make sure everybody comes out to work hard and show all their ability to play," Bell said.

Bell has some words of advice for the true freshmen such as Amari Cooper and Chris Black who are pushing for playing time early in their careers.

"You can't just live off the high school hype," Bell explained. "You've got to come in and learn to be the great player you can be. Coach [Nick] Saban is going to push you hard, the receiving corps is going to push you hard. You've got other players just as good as you, so you've got to push yourself hard."

Feeling 100 percent

Cyrus Kouandjio showed flashes of skill as a freshman last season, so much so that Alabama is likely to move him to starting left tackle this season. But the 2011-12 season wasn't all roses for Kouandjio.

The Maryland native missed more than half the season with a knee injury and is only just now back at full health.

“I’m feeling pretty good," Kouandjio said."My knee’s back and I’m just pushing forward with the team, trying to get better every day.

"I really needed the extra time in the summer to get to 100 percent."

Despite the injury, Kounadjio said he's glad he got the experience under his belt.

“It was valuable because it gave me a taste of how SEC football is and how to play in front of 100,000 people," he explained.

Battle at safety

There's one thing we know for sure about the Alabama secondary: Robert Lester will be starting at safety. The other safety spot, though, is up for grabs.

Sophomore Vinnie Sunseri was used primarily on special teams a year ago, but did show up on defense to replace Mark Barron, and impressed many with his instincts and tenacity. Now, he's hoping his good play will continue into the fall and springboard him into a starting job alongside Lester.

The competition between he and Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix and others, though, is fierce.

"The competition's unreal," Sunseri said. "We've got unbelievable players competing every day. Everybody's taking a lot of reps and everybody's just doing really well right now flying around to the ball and making plays."

Alex Scarborough | email

Alabama/SEC reporter

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