Square Understands Alabama Identity

Damion Square doesn't have an identity crisis. He knows where he has been and where he wants to go, and he also understands the process of getting to his goal.

"At Alabama, we have one identity, and that's to win," said Damion Square, the 60-3, 285-pound upcoming senior defensive end from Houston. And not just win. "Win championships.

"That's what we practice for. We come to practice every day to practice like Bama practices, and we can beat (those on) the other side of the ball, and beat anybody in the country."

Square and his Crimson Tide teammates are in the beginning stages of spring practice, working towards the April 14 A-Day Game that will be the 15th and final workout of the spring.

Square said he has been working on one thing in particular. "Getting better," he said. "I'm a guy who has been around here for awhile, been through a couple of springs myself. You have to go out there and motivate yourself to get better on the little things, see the things you haven't been doing all year, and do those things in practice."

Square has been doing them pretty well. As a starter on last year's national championship team he was in on 32 tackles, including seven for lost, and had a sack, a pass break-up, and three quarterback pressures.

Square acknowledges that Alabama has a big and talented defensive front. "We are very big," he said, "but we're pretty athletic, too. We have some athletic guys this year. I'm not saying the guys we have had before weren't athletic, but these guys pretty much up front around the ball can play any position and get it done. It's a great group of guys."

Alabama is replacing the nose tackle in this year's defensive line (both Josh Chapman and his back-up, Nick Gentry, having graduated), and one returning starting end is getting a look at the nose tackle spot. But it's not Square.

"I am not that guy," he said. "I play on the edge. I'll play wherever they need me to play, but we have another set of guys who are trying out at nose guard to see who bests fits that position."

One of them is Jesse Williams, who was a starting end with Square last year.

Square prefers to speak in generalities rather than specifics regarding defensive line personnel, but said the competition at nose tackle "is great. They are great players. All those guys can do the job. They're all big, massive guys who can move really well and do the things you need at nose guard to help the team."

Alabama is off to an unusual schedule, having had one practice March 9 and the next one 10 days later. The Tide will practice Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, with the Friday and Saturday workouts incorporated into The University's spring coaching clinic.

Square said the 10 days between first and second practices was for the benefit of young players.

"The coaches want to see if these guys could come back and stay with the tempo," he said. "That's the way you practice. You don't want to practice out of control, you want to practice at a tempo that makes the team better. No matter what you did before you came up here, what you did last week, you have to find a way to practice great and that's the only way you're going to make our team better. That's the only thing that coach is going to accept from us when we step out on the field. We all know that. No matter how you feel you have to suck it up and get it done."

The young players have impressed Square. "You can't tell they were just in high school," he said. "These guys are some great fellows, some big, massive guys. In the weight room, they're strong, and they're very quick, and they can practice at our tempo very easily.

Square said the players have to understand that this is 2012, not 2011. The national championship team was last year.

"You don't want anyone to feel complacent or anything like that. We're supposed to automatically win a championship and forget about the work that it takes to get to that point? The guys know what it takes to keep pushing.

"The guys who were part of the 2009 championship came back the next year and it wasn't too great of a year. We understand the dropoff that happened that time. Now we want to influence these guys to keep pushing. You can't feel complacent about winning championships.

"It's what we play for, year-in and year-out. We win one, we expect it. Then we've got to come back and try to win another one."

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