Cory Reamer Looks For Improved Tide

Orange and Blue was the color in the Reamer household in Hoover. "We were definitely Auburn; most of our family went there," said Curt Reamer. "Cory was surrounded by Auburn fans for most of his life." But after a visit to AU in his prep junior year, Cory made a stunning revelation to his father on the way back from Auburn. "Dad, I believe I am going to look great in Crimson and White."

Curt Reamer's response was simple. " I wanted him to be happy and go where he felt most comfortable," he said. "I was thrilled that my son was going to play major college football. And Alabama is Alabama."

Cory Reamer was a bit anxious about the feelings of his family when Auburn offered. "Coach Chizik ( former AU defensive coordinator and current Iowa State head coach) told me I reminded him of Will Herring ( Seattle Seahawks linebacker) and when Auburn offered I told my dad, "I was way too scared to tell you."

Curt Reamer offered " I think Cory was afraid we were going to try and persuade him to attend AU. I told him from day one this is your decision. It was really funny to tell you the truth. I promise you, we couldn't be more happy or proud for Cory."

So that's how it happened. Now just a 30-minute drive down the Interstate there are a lot of perks to being just a hop, skip and a jump from Hoover. Cory said, "It's been a blast coming here, 30 miles from home, and I try and take advantage of it. Home cooked meals and Mom sometimes meets me at the Mercedes Benz plant with some great home cooking. My sister is here now and in a sorority and my parents can be down here in no time. And they really love it as much as we do. I knew the day I stepped on campus this was where I wanted to be."

Pride. Tradition. Respect. Words that come quickly to mind when you think Alabama. Defense wins championships and the first day as a wide-eyed freshman, Reamer was quickly introduced to another Bama tradition. Intensity from some real life enforcers of the 2005 Crimson Tide defense.

" I was never as scared in my life as I was the first day." Cory recalled. I look over and see this beast wearing number 47 and I thought to myself, I need to make friends with that guy immediately." That beast was NFL draft pick Mark Anderson. " Here I am a 195-pound freshman and we have these guys that were unreal. Demeco Ryans, Freddie Roach and Roman Harper were incredible leaders. I am number 13 and dress beside number 14, who is John Parker Wilson, and I am thinking to myself, ‘Welcome to the SEC,' and I haven't even been hit yet."

Reamer made an immediate splash on special teams, but was injured the week after the Florida game and took a medical redshirt for 2005. In 2006 he again suffered an injured knee and another lost year. In 2007 there was a coaching change as Nick Saban came to the Alabama campus.

"Coach Saban is bringing this program back where it needs to be," Reamer said. "This is an elite place in an elite conference. Is it coincidence that the SEC has won the last two national titles? This is a time for restoration. The leadership on this team is now coming back to the forefront. This is a program everyone wants to be a part of. We went 7-6 last year and that's just not good enough around here. The downward spiral is over. Things are changing in a very positive manner."

Coach Saban has tried to change habits, but it's the players that have to make it happen. And a good sign a team is coming together is indeed with it's peer groups. "We have dog tags that was created for our team," Reamer said. The tags read "Be A Champion."

Reamer said, "Team is first here now. Our peer group handles the issues that are important. If you want to mess up, then you are going to have to face the music. Sometimes it is more difficult to face your peers than your coaches. No one wants to deal with that kind of pressure in front of 15 other teammates. Good positive peer pressure from every age group, a handful from each class. It's how the core of great leadership is developed. We had it when I got here and then we lost it for a little while. Now guys are emerging everywhere. Rashad (Johnson) and Antoine (Caldwell) and John Parker are great senior leaders. They do things right everyday on and off the field. Then you have a guy like Andre Smith who is just a great football player and then a young guy that makes a huge impact like Rolando McClain. Those guys are great football players but even better people."

There is a need at linebacker in the fall and Reamer is ready to make an impact. There have been many guys in the past in the mold of a Cory Reamer who have helped Alabama get back to where it needs to be. A champion. There have been other Bama linebackers who were not household names when they came to Alabama but made names for themselves with gutty efforts and a commitment to excellence. Guys like Russ Wood and Gary Deniro, Randy Scott and Ricky Gilliland. Randy Rockwell and Lee Ozmint. Then most recently an unheralded player and Bama captain Daren Mustin. Mustin has graduated and Reamer was one of those plugged into his weakside linebacker position in the spring.

"I started in the spring and I feel very comfortable playing alongside Rolando (middle linebacker Rolando McClain)," Reamer said. "A guy like him makes you better. I know there is a perception that linebacker is going to need some help. Well, I am ready to make an impact. We have a lot of young guys coming in that are going to have major impacts like Rolando had last year. We are looking forward to having this young guys come in and help us in anyway possible. But right now that position is mine and I am not going to give it up easily. I plan on coming back to play at 235 pounds. I can add to that if need be with the right diet and workout . You have to be dedicated or you will lose it. I can play Sam (an outside spot) and Will (inside) in our system and all of us know how to play both spots."

Of course the position has been further weakened by the departures of Jimmy Johns (discipline) and Zeke Knight (health). And then there is the situation regarding Prince Hall. "Prince is a beast and a guy that no one on offense wants to try to block because he is so physical," Reamder said. "Coach Saban has asked a lot of Prince and it's up to Prince whether he comes back or not. But I can assure you Prince Hall would certainly help us."

Reamer had an outstanding spring and it poised to make a major impact on the defensive side of the ball in 2008. During the spring game it was hard not to see Reamer involved on a tackle with the first defense. Reamer regards himself as a "cleanup guy" that is much more aggressive now playing linebacker rather than safety. He has the ability to read well and has very good cover skills that will allow him to tackle well in the open field and cover tight ends in the slot. As far as the upcoming season goes Reamer is like the Tide: Ready to Roll.

"It's all about attitude," he said. "We are sick of losing and being mediocre. We don't want to represent that any longer. This program needs to be elevated back to where it belongs. I am a four year guy and will graduate next May. I know what this place means to so many people. The Bryant Museum. The concrete at Denny Chimes. The respect for the coaches, teammates and fans. It's time to hang another banner, that 13th one. Legacy. New Era. The sheer greatness that is Alabama. The coaches and these players want to do something special here and I want to be part of it. Heck, we all we want to be part of it."

Clemson is but four weeks away and that game will be special for Cory Reamer for a lot of reason's. "It's a huge step on a great stage," he said. "Clemson, preseason choice in the ACC, playing in an arena where so much has already been decided. Super Bowls and SEC titles. What a great opportunity for us."

Reamer will have the chance to trade paint with an old teammate from youth league, Clemson wide receiver Tyler Grisham. "Tyler and I played for Coach Doug Tinney and he was such a good coach and playing with Tyler as a kid was a blast," Cory said. "We have certainly come full circle. It's all you can hope for. All that college football is about in this match up. College Game Day, The Georgia Dome. Great opportunity to set the tone one game at a time."

Scott Moore is the host of "Inside The Crimson Tide" along with ‘BAMA Magazine's Kirk McNair. You can hear Scott's daily show at from 10-12 CDT daily.

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