Tider Has Desire To Play...Squared

Alabama defensive lineman Damion Square is looking forward to a big crowd in Bryant-Denny Stadium for A-Day Saturday. He's also looking forward to not being a part of it.



While 2009 was perhaps the best season in storied Alabama football history, for Damion Square it was a lost season. After redshirting in 2008, Square suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in pre-season work and was unable to play in Bama's 14-0 national championship year.

Salt in the wound for the Houston native was that Alabama was playing Texas in the BCS Championship Game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. "I'm a guy from Texas, and playing Texas for the national chamnpionship was not a good thing for me," Square said following Tuesday's practice. "But it was a good thing for the team, obviously. That kept my spirits up, knowing those guys were winning and I was a part of the national chamnpionship team."

Square, a 6-3, 284-pound upcoming sophomore, will be on the field Saturday when Albama has its A-Day Game. Bama held its 13th practice of the spring Tuesday. The Crimson Tide will practice once more on Thursday before the Crimson-White game.

The Crimson and White team rosters for A-Day have not yet been decided. Last year at Bryant-Denny Stadium, the Crimson team (first offense) defeated the White team (first defense) 14-7 in front of 84,050 fans and a nationally televised ESPN audience. Greg McElroy was the Crimson quarterback and went 16-of-30 for 189 yards and two scores, including a 52-yarder to Julio Jones for the first touchdown of the game. McElroy and wide receiver Marquis Maze, who caught five passes for 87 yards and rushed twice for 47 yards, shared the Dixie Howell Memorial Award as Most Valuable Players of the A-Day Game.

This year's game will also be televised nationally by ESPN at 2 p.m. CDT with Rece Davis, Craig James, Mark May and Wendi Nix calling the action.

Square said the A-Day Game "is always a beautiful thing to put it on and do our thing and hear the crowd on a Saturday. I'm pretty excited. The team's going to go out there and work on our mistakes from practice on Thursday, show the people what we can do and have a good time.

"It's going to be a big thing for me. It's going to be exciting. I missed it a lot, so I can't wait until Saturday."

Although Square had not been expected to take part in contact work in spring drills, he said he expected to participate. "Yeah," he said, "I expected to get back this son. You want to get back to action with this program. Watching from the sidelines is not a good look."

He said he is "pretty close" to being 100 per cent.

"I try to practice every day like I'm 100 per cent because I get evaluated like I'm 100 per cent," he said.

Square's injury was something of a freak practice accident. "I came off the tight end, coming to rush the tackle. It was just a bad step, a quick second, and then I was on the ground. There was some contact, but not much."

Square gives full credit to Alabama's medical staff for getting him back. "I'm just trying to get stability back in my leg," he said. "And trust. That's the big thing from rehab, getting that trust in your mind that you can got 100 per cent."

He said that trust returned "on the first day of spring ball. There was some doubt in the beginning. The coaches said I did real good in the first practice. I surprised myself. Then I came back and tried it again. It hasn't been hurting, so I'm going full speed ahead. It's sore, but it's not hurt. That's just a part of football."

Square said that going against Alabama's veteran offense is beneficial to the defense. "Those guys are awesome," he said of the Crimson Tide offense. "The confidence those guys have is huge. It's going to be good to watch those guys. It's a great group and they work hard in practice every day.

"That's great (for the defense) because you want to practice like you're going against the best team that you're going to play all season. With them giving us that look, it's going to make it easier on Saturdays.

"We're definitely rewady to convince the coaches that we're ready to hold down our end."

Damion Square's comeback continues Saturday in the A-Day Game, but he's really looking forward to the 2010 season.

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