Reamer Enjoys Playing LSU

Senior Alabama linebacker Cory Reamer doesn't have to worry about dial-ups--not the ones from LSU partisans and not the ones from Alabama's defensive coaching staff.

Senior linebacker Cory Reamer and his Alabama teammates put their undefeated record on the line Saturday when LSU visits Bryant-Denny Stadium for a key Southeastern Conference and national game. CBS will televise the contest beginning at 2:30 p.m. CST.

Alabama is 8-0 and ranked third in the nation. LSU is 7-1, the lone setback coming at the hands of number one Florida, and ranked ninth in the nation. Bama is 5-0 in SEC games and LSU is 4-1. Alabama can clinch the SEC Western Division title with a win. LSU would be in the driver's seat if the Tigers can upset the Crimson Tide.

In recent years, LSU partisans have managed to acquire the cell phone numbers of opposing players, notably Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and former Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson. Reamer was asked if he had gotten any phone calls from Louisiana this week.

"I think Greg (quarterback Greg McElroy) had some blocked calls today," Reamer said. "I don't know what that was about. But my phone has not rung. Thank goodness. I won't be having to change my number this year. I doubt they'll be calling me. I'm sure if they are calling anybody, they'll have some others on their list. They'll be after Greg, I'm sure."

Those dial ups are no more than a nuisance.

More important dial-ups can come from Bama's defensive coaches, who have a veteran group of players to work with. It enables the coaches to dial up new wrinkles for players to execute.

"You see those younger guys out there struggling to get the basic stuff and remember when those days you were the same way," Reamer said. "Now you look at it and it's second nature to you. Now they can change the way we do things like change calls and run blitzes, which makes it even a more dynamic defense. Guys who have been out there in the system a few years, it makes it easier for the coaches to do that stuff; they don't have to worry about us getting it wrong. They can just throw it in and we execute it in practice, and we'll have it for the game Saturday."

Reamer said that Alabama opponents are pulling out all stops in an attempt to slow down the aggressive Crimson Tide defense. In particular, there is more motion and movement on the offensive side.

"That's part of it, what you have to expect," Reamer said. "Shifting tight ends, motioning, moving anybody they can to make us a second slower. We bring so much pressure. They're going to be hard-counting it, seeing what our blitzes are, making calls. We've got checks for everything, too. Our defense is pretty complex, It's got defense within itself. We're going to have to get used to that, because it's going to be the same down the road. It's going to be the same all year."

Alabama aggressiveness is by design, planned before the first game. And as the season has progressed, the Tide has learned that the pressure applied pays off. Reamer said in preparation the players can look at film and see where teams have more success against the quarterbacks Alabama is going to face when those defenses bring pressure.

"They (opposing quarterbacks) aren't as productive when they get pressure in their face as they are when they can sit back there all day. The quarterbacks we're facing all have big arms. If they have time to make their reads, they'll make plays.

"So we knew going into this season we were going to have to be getting into their backfield and affect quarterbacks. I think it's showed this season that we've definitely blitzed more, gotten after guys, and we've been successful at it, and we've got to keep doing it."

Alabama is coming off an open week, and Reamer said that practice this week has been more lively. "After the weekend off, the first day back is a little...maybe not as much pop as you'd like to have in the pads," he said. "But we came out and got the mental part of practice done really well. And today we came out and did some hitting and it was a lot better. [The break] was definitely a nice thing."

Reamer has been impressed with LSU's offensive improvement this year. He said the offensive line lost Herman Johnson, who had been "a big part of their offensive line." But, he said, the "new" line includes a few veterans and some newcomers who have caught on well. He said they protect quarterback Jordan Jefferson and open holes for tailback Charles Scott, "a great running back," in Reamer's opinion.

"They're doing things very well," Reamer said. "You have to be ready. We have to get our defensive line going. They're going to be doing different things. We've got to get pressure and we've got to stop the run. They‘re going to run the ball no matter what. They believe their guys can block us, and we‘ve got to go out there and prove them wrong."

Reamer has seen the improvement in LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson this year. "He's a young guy, but he's definitely their quarterback, taken leadership of their team and done a lot of good things for them the last few weeks," Reamer said. "Their one loss, he did a lot of good things and kept it close. He's done a lot of good things, has a lot of athletic ability, made a lot of great throws, and they've given him the ball to make decisions, and that shows a lot of trust in him for such a young guy. He's gotten a lot better over the year and I'm sure he'll continue to improve."

Reamer said it's fun to play against LSU because the Tigers will be just as aggressive as Alabama. "You want somebody's best," Reamer said. "You want to be tested, you want someone to come out there and challenge you and be able to rise up to the occasion. Last year it was fun playing down there, and we cam out with a victory. Their fans made it hard for us, and our fans are going to do the same for them this year. It's always going to be flipping like that. It's something to look forward to because it's such an intense rivalry and there's usually a lot riding on it.

"It's a big game. Like Coach (Nick) Saban said earlier in the week, we've got to go out and focus on playing our best game. He's emphasized that all week. Everybody knows it's a big game, but we can't focus on that and [get caught up] in the hype. It's always going to be a big game, it's never going to change, but we've got to realize if we want to do what we want to do, there's stuff that needs to get done in practice for us to go out and play our best game.

"My first year here we were 10-0 and had to go play LSU and lost to them in overtime and then lost to Auburn and went to the Cotton Bowl.

"The next two years a different story. But after that, every year it's come down to LSU. It's a big game and always lives up to the hype. Each team wants it just as badly as the other. They've got the same thing riding on it as we do. It's not any different for either team. It's going to be a matter of who goes out there and executes and, like Coach Saban says, plays their best game."

LSU lost two games after losing to Alabama last year and in 2007 Alabama lost. Does the wind go out of the sails for the loser?

"You want to say it doesn't at the level we compete, but losing a big game like this when you do buy into what people are saying and how this game is built up, that can make it worse," Reamer said. "If you listen to what everyone says, --‘This is your game, this determines your season,' -- if you lost, I guess it could pop your bubble for the next few games. But you can't look at it like that. We've still got a lot of football after this game. We've got three more games and a lot can happen. You see it every week--top ten teams getting knocked off; top five teams. It can happen to anybody. We can't worry about just this game, but this is the most important game because it's the next one and means a lot to us. And it always will because it's a division opponent."

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