Preparing for his old team, Alvin Kamara has nothing but respect for Alabama

How will Kamara perform in his first trip back to Tuscaloosa?
Randy Sartin/Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Having participated on both sides of the Tennessee, Alabama rivalry, Alvin Kamara knows it better than most. Despite leaving the Tide after only one season, the Vols' sophomore running back has shown nothing but the upmost respect for his former team. 

“I'm appreciative of my time there,” Kamara said. “I appreciate the coaches and the players for embracing me while I was there. Now here at Tennessee, I'm having a good time and enjoying the success with my teammates and I'm ready to keep enjoying the success.”

His coach echoed similar statements when discussing the reunion of sorts. 

“I know when he talks about his time at Alabama, he talks about the respect that he has for that football program,” Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said Monday. “He still has a number of friends on that football team.”

Despite being his opponent this weekend, Alabama senior linebacker Reggie Ragland recently spoke of his affinity for Kamara. 

“That’s my little brother,” Ragland said. “Any time that he needed someone when he was here he came to me, and if I could help him out, I helped him out because I needed someone to know if I could always call on him for something.”

The Tide's star running back junior Derrick Henry enrolled at Alabama in the same recruiting class as Kamara and is also looking forward to seeing his old teammate. 

“We talk from time to time,” Henry said Monday. “Just tell each good luck and to keep playing. I’ll probably speak to him after the (Tennessee) game.”

Alabama head coach Nick Saban also spoke glowingly of his former back and even discussed Kamara's decision to leave the team following the 2013 season. 

“There was no question about the fact that he was an outstanding player,” Saban said. “What happened here was he was doing extremely well for us and was probably going to play as a freshman, and he got his knee scoped and missed three or four weeks and really couldn’t catch up.

“He was really frustrated with the fact that he wasn’t playing and it was difficult for him at that time in his career. I’ve seen him play this year and he’s done extremely well and we’re happy for him.”

Will Kamara's time in Tuscaloosa give Tennessee an advantage heading into the game? It certainly couldn't hurt the Vols, as his teammates have been picking his brain this week. 

“Through the beginning of the week, guys have been asking me about the mood over there or, more specifically, about certain (Alabama) guys, matchup-wise, kind of the demeanor of those guys as far as playing,” Kamara said. “So, I've been kind of an insider, being able to give (Tennessee) some information about them. It comes down to Saturday, we've got to keep having great practices and put it on the field on Saturday.”

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