Reamer Knows It's Tennessee Week

Since arriving at Alabama, Cory Reamer has confessed that as a youngster he was not a huge fan of Crimson Tide football. (His confession was more sordid than that as he named another in-state school as his favorite, but we're not airing that dirty laundry).

But even if Cory Reamer wasn't living and dying with every Alabama football game, he was first and foremost a football fan, and he recognized the big rivalry games, such as Alabama-Tennessee.

There has been the suggestion that so many issues have been raised this week that the Alabama-Tennessee game—the greatest rivalry in Southern college football history—has somehow been diminished this year.

Don't tell it to Cory Reamer. "Of course it feels like Tennessee week," Reamer said. "Definitely. You can tell when it comes around. Everyone's asking how we're going to do. This is one that's marked on the calendar. It's a key game for us, and for Tennessee, too."

Growing up, Reamer knew when Alabama played Tennessee that the stakes were high. "It's big time football," he said.

And he knows what to expect when Bama hosts Tennessee Saturday.

"They are going to try to run you over," he said. "They are not going to try to trick you around. They'll keep coming at you. They'll check your manhood. It will definitely be a tough game."

Alabama is 7-0 and ranked number one in the nation in the Associated Press poll. Tennessee is 3-3 under new Coach Lane Kiffin. Bama is 4-0 in Southeastern Conference games and the Vols are 1-2, but Tennessee is coming off an impressive 45-19 win over Georgia in its last outing. Moreover, the Vols were idle last week while Alabama was playing South Carolina.

CBS will televise Saturday's game. Kickoff from Bryant-Denny Stadium will be at 2:30 p.m. CDT.

"We need to make good strides," Reamer said. "We need to pick it up this week. You're never satisfied. We definitely have improved, but we've got five regular season games to go and with four SEC games left, the toughest part of our schedule is ahead."

Reamer has picked it up, too. After being involved in just five tackles through the first four games, the senior strongside linebacker has been in on 16 tackles the last three games. He has been on the field more, playing in nickel situations, and has seen some playing time at weakside linebacker since Dont'a Hightower suffered a season-ending knee injury. He has also made big plays on special teams, including a key blocked punt against Ole Miss.

Reamer acknowledges that the defense has been key to wins in Alabama's last two games, wins over Ole Miss and South Carolina in which the offense struggled. "We were playing against two great defensive teams," Reamer said. He also predicted the Bama offense would come back. "It could flip," he said. "We might falter on defense and have to depend on the offense to win.

"That's what being a team is."

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