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Bucs' Hargreaves recalls college history with Raiders' Cooper

Alabama’s Amari Cooper goes up for a touchdown catch over Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves.

Getty Images (2014)

Alabama’s Amari Cooper goes up for a touchdown catch over Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves.

TAMPA — Bucs CB Vernon Hargreaves is still in the first half of his rookie season, but he has a history with Raiders WR Amari Cooper.

The two faced each other in college in 2014, and while Har­greaves wasn't on him the whole game, Cooper had a huge day for Alabama, catching 10 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-21 win over the Gators.

"He was already playing like he was in the NFL," Hargreaves said. "He really got me better in a way. He knows that. I've talked to him before, and I'm excited to get after him."

Hargreaves fared well three weeks ago against Carolina and former Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin, whom Hargreaves had faced as a freshman. Cooper, who has 40 catches for 614 yards and a touchdown this season, clearly has Hargreaves' respect entering Sunday's game.

"That's the first time I played against somebody that was better than me, that I felt like was significantly better than me," Hargreaves said.

MCCOY LIMITED: The only change to the Bucs' injury report Thursday was DT Gerald McCoy being limited by a calf injury, the same one that sidelined him against Carolina three weeks ago. McCoy had practiced fully Wednesday, but it's unclear whether Thursday's limitation was a setback or simply taking it easy in his recovery. DE Robert Ayers (ankle) and DT Clinton McDonald (hamstring) were back at practice but limited for a second day in a row, leaving open the possibility they could play Sunday. McDonald has missed the past two games, Ayers the past four. RB Doug Martin (hamstring) and WR Louis Murphy (undisclosed) did not practice during the half-hour open to the media.

THIS AND THAT: The Raiders have former Bucs T Donald Penn starting at left tackle. Their line has given up an NFL-low seven sacks this season, though they're among the league leaders in holds and false starts. "That's a good group of guys," McCoy said. "Those guys are — I even talked to Donald Penn — I texted him and told him, 'Your group is legit. It's going to be fun.' There's no weak points." … Bucs TE Brandon Myers spent his first four seasons with Oakland, including a career-best 79 catches in 2012. Much of the Raiders roster has changed in four years, but he still has veteran K Sebastian Janikowski as a familiar face on the other sideline.

Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report. Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Bucs' Hargreaves recalls college history with Raiders' Cooper 10/27/16 [Last modified: Thursday, October 27, 2016 9:18pm]
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