Tide End Returns To Home State

Brandon Deaderick had an expectation for this season. "This is a game I've been looking forward to since my freshman year, going back as a redshirt senior to my home state to be booed."

Senior Alabama defensive end Brandon Deaderick of Elizabethtown, Ky., is the only native of the Bluegrass State on the Crimson Tide roster. Deaderick and his Bama teammates will head to Lexington for a game against the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday.

Alabama, 4-0 and ranked third in the nation, will kick off against Kentucky, 2-1 and coming off a 41-7 loss at the hands of No. 1 ranked Florida, at 11:21 a.m. CDT Saturday. The game will be regionally televised on the SEC network.

Prior to the start of the season, the return to Kentucky might have seemed like a big event for Deaderick. Now it's a chance for him to show that he has fully recovered from a truly big event. Deaderick was shot in the arm by a would-be robber just before the Crimson Tide opened the 2009 season.

Deaderick has played in every game, including the Bama opener only days after being shot, and has returned to the starting lineup. He is a three-year starter at right end for the Crimson Tide. He said his arm is "close to 100 per cent." He said the wound is closed and requires only a bandage, not the thick pad he wore for a couple of weeks. "Now it's just like I skinned myself," he said.

During his recuperation he received cards wishing him well and heard from people "telling me I was in their prayers, which meant a lot to me and my family," he said.

Deaderick will have family and friends in the stands Saturday. He'll also have friends across the field, and one of his best friends right across the line of scrimmage.

"I know quite a few of them," he said of the Wildcats. "One of my best friends is (left tackle) Zipp Duncan. There are a lot of guys from my area there."

Deaderick said that he and Duncan stay in contact. "No jawing," he said of his conversations with Duncan. "We try to keep it professional."

Deaderick had a chance to go to Kentucky, but chose the Crimson Tide. He said the Wildcats "were in my top three. I thought they had a coaching staff that would turn things around, but it just wasn't the place for me."

As a senior, Deaderick is trying to help young Bama players prepare for their first SEC road game. "Our young guys are ready to go," he said. "They have no fear. I tell them this is the SEC, they'd better strap it up. But they go through that every day practicing against our guys."

Deaderick was asked about the issue of linebacker Dont'a Hightower suffering a season-ending knee injury and the depth situation for Bama. He said, "Dont'a is a great player. It's hard to replace that talent. But the depth here, we have guys who can come in and we won't lose a step. We have a lot of guys who have been second or third and and now they have an opportunity. I'm pretty sure whoever steps up is going to do the job.

"We have a lot of depth and that breeds competition and that breeds people getting better. It started in camp. When you have good players you can win a job or you can lose a job, so you have to work to stay on top.

"Last year a lot of guys got banged up and our season went down. This year we have better depth."

Deaderick said Kentucky is "good, like every other SEC team. They have good skill guys. The quarterback is a lot like the one we faced last week, maybe doesn't throw it quite as good, but can make plays. In the SEC, every team is good. Anyone can beat anyone on a given Saturday."

This week is special for Deaderick. "It means a lot to me just to be playing. Kentucky in my home state," he said. "But I view it as another SEC game."

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