When he made the move to the offensive line after spring drills, Duckworth learned the tackle position and started preseason practice there. However, in the second week of preseason drills the Taylorsville, Miss., native moved again, this time inside to guard and that is where he has stayed.
"At first I wasn't comfortable because I was playing tackle and then I moved to guard, Duckworth notes. "It wasn't too much of a big deal, but I have got to learn the plays for sure now because I have got to make calls myself. And so far I am doing pretty good with the help of Danny Lindsey, Ben Grubbs, Jonathan Palmer and Coach Nall. We will get it all down and we will get it straight."
The six-foot-three, 308-pounder also says that he feels like he has now found a home at the guard position. "Tackle was very, very quick because when you have got somebody like Stanley McClover just flying off the end you have got to get back and get set quick," Duckworth explains. "I feel better in pass rush at guard. I feel better because I'm in a snug little environment and they ain't got too far they can go, so I feel better at guard than I did at tackle."
Tim Duckworth played on the defensive line last season for the Tigers.
Following a solid day of practice on Thursday, the big lineman says that he knows he still has a long way to go to get to where he needs to be, but he knows exactly how he is going to get try to get there. "Myself, I try and stay out as much as I can and try to get a little extra work in because I know I need it," Duckworth says. "I am not the greatest offensive lineman, but I'm going to put a lot of effort into it and I am going to try my best."
Offensive line coach Hugh Nall notes that Duckworth still has a good bit of work to do, but that he is improving quickly. "I think he's done a good job based on the time that he has been over there," Nall says about Duckworth's play at guard. "Not being there spring practice, he was way behind fundamentally and not just fundamentally, but knowing the terminology and the communication. He's come a long way and he did some really good things on Thursday and I am looking forward to seeing the film. He still has a long way to go, but he has come miles."
Duckworth says that one key to his rapid growth on the offensive line is the time he spent on the practice fields this summer during voluntary workouts. "It helped me out a lot," he notes. "I don't think I could have come in with the freshmen and tried to learn that because there is so much that you have to learn. When you have got Danny Lindsey and Ben Grubbs coaching you along--when you have got your teammates helping you along it goes a long way."
He adds that being able to work more with the first and second teams over the past week has really helped him improve quickly as well. "Going in with the ones is really helping me out a lot because we have a lot of old hands on the first string," Duckworth says. "They try to teach you and stuff, as well as the second string, too, but on the first string you get a lot of help each day."
Along with his strong work ethic and ability to learn on the run, Duckworth keep a positive attitude on and off the field and you will rarely see him without a smile on his face, even during the toughest of times. And he says that is something he gets from a combination of factors.
"It goes all the way back to family," he explains. "If you have a family that is behind you 100 percent and no matter what you do they are behind you 100 percent that helps you out a lot, plus a lot of prayer. I pray every day, for like God to just send me an answer.
"I also have a good idea when I get on the field of what I am going to do and how I am going to do it and that just helps me out a lot," he notes. "I always sing a little gospel songs or whatever while I'm practicing just to keep my mind on what I have got to do and to just calm me down because if I don't I am going to be all antsy and stuff."
With his new role on the second team the sophomore will need a sterling attitude because he will have to continue to work hard to improve every day, and that is exactly what Duckworth says he plans on doing in 2004.
"Do better than I did the last day," Duckworth says. "I just want to get better every day. Do better than I did last year. That is my goal. Do better than I did the day before yesterday. I am going to try and be a leader as well as a follower."