Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara referred to himself and Jalen Hurd as the “CMG” in the spring – the “Chain Moving Gang.” And while that nickname might be lingering around for some, he had a different moniker in mind this week when asked about the potential of those two emerging as one of the best running back duos in the conference.
“Thunder and Lightning – that’s what they call us,” Kamara said. “I feel like we match up good. [With] me and Jalen, he’s a bigger guy, a bigger back, powerful, still fast. Same with me, faster guy, but still powerful. I think we’ll match up real well, complement each other real well.”
And with the Vols looking for new ways to move the ball down the field with consistency, Kamara mentioned that it may not be an either/or situation in the backfield this year. The Vols could easily put both on the field at any given time.
“We’ve got a couple packages in,” he said. “You know, we’ve been working them throughout camp – they look really good. We’re going to be excited to get in those when the game comes…
“It’s going to be scary. Me and Jalen and [Joshua] Dobbs in the backfield together. It’s going to be crazy. We’ve got a lot of things going in I’m not even going to talk about, we’re just going to show it.”
That’s more than talk from Kamara, though. He’s proven himself time and time again on the practice field since arriving in the spring after a season at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, which was a quick detour after he left Alabama after an inconsistent season on and off the field in 2013 as a freshman at that time. Butch Jones said he’d matured, and it’s been easy to see. Coaches and teammates have called Kamara a leader and an example on the team.
He’s made several impressive plays in practice, and it’s been easy to see the potential that led Alabama to sign him out of high school and then helped him receiver a five-star ranking by some services out of junior college.
“[He’s] playing with more confidence in terms of scheme,” said head coach Butch Jones. “Alvin has always been a confident young man, but he has more confidence in our scheme and you can see that. He has really picked up the offense. He’s much, much more vocal. He’s leading. He’s providing even more stability to the running back group. He’s a great role model to our younger players. He’s teaching our younger players.”
Added Kamara: “I’ve matured a lot. Coming in as a freshman, you don’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now just going from Alabama to a junior college now here to Tennessee in my third year removed from high school, it’s just a lot of things I see now that I didn’t see back then. It’s really humbling to be in this position now.”