Big Lineman Enjoying His Football

Tim Duckworth is making a strong move to be a starter this season at offensive guard.

Auburn, Ala.--One player who has shown improvement through the first part of preseason practice is offensive guard Tim Duckworth. The 6-3, 326-pound junior is running with the first team and should be a pleasant surprise for the 2005 Tigers.

"So far he's had a good fall practice," says offensive line coach Hugh Nall. "I've been impressed with his pass protection and his assignment grades. Some of our production grades and technique grades have got to improve. He's really an intense kid and a physical football player. I think now that he's been through a fall and a spring practice he's coming on."

Duckworth, who shows up to practice every day with an intense attitude and a smile, played mostly on special teams last season after making the move from the defensive side of the ball.

"I come out here and have fun," he explains. "If you don't love the game then there's no need to be out here. You're just taking up a spot for somebody else who does love the game. I just come out and have enthusiasm and get through it.

"We're having fun, but we need to be more physical," he adds. "It's going to take some time. We've got a lot of new faces so we're just going with the flow right now."

Tim Duckworth is following a strong spring with a strong preseason.

Duckworth has played well in all of the one-on-one drills since putting the pads on for the first time on Friday. He credits some of his success so far in the preseason to what he learned as a defensive lineman.

"Coming from defense I can tell when a guy is going to do an inside move or he's waiting for me to throw my hand out there," he says. "It helps out a lot to know that I played defense before and I know some of the stuff that they're going to do and what they're supposed to be doing.

"It's all how they set up," Duckworth adds. "Like Coach Nall says, it's a pre-snap read. If a guy is tight on you, you know nine times out of 10 he's going to try to go inside on you."

Nall's offensive line is a tight-knit unit and Duckworth also credits senior tackle Troy Reddick and the rest of the line with helping him improve at the position. Even though Nall lost two starters from last year, Jeremy Ingle and Danny Lindsey, to graduation, the offensive line has a chance to be a strength of the team as the Tigers prepare to defend their SEC Championship.

"Right now I've got a bunch of good kids," Nall says. "You know they're going to give you everything they've got. That's the reason why you like coming to work. They get just as upset when they do something wrong as I do. And of course when that happens you don't get as upset. A kid that doesn't care, that's hard to coach somebody like that. But a kid like Timmy Duckworth, he's a joy to coach because it's important to him."

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