Duckworth Eager For His First AU Start

Tim Duckworth discusses the Auburn offensive line as the Tigers continue preparations for their season football opener.

Auburn, Ala.--For Tim Duckworth, the day he has worked hard for is about to arrive.

The big offensive lineman from Taylorsville, Miss., is just hours away from his first college start. He is fired up about the assignment as his Tigers open the season vs. visiting Georgia Tech.

"I am very excited, but kind of nervous, too, but as long as I have those guys beside me--Marcus McNeill, Troy Reddick, Ben Grubbs, Joe Cope--I know everything else is going to work out."

Duckworth came to Auburn as a defensive lineman, but made the move to offense last season and played in 10 games as a reserve.

This past spring the junior made a move up the depth chart with impressive play at the guard spot where 2004 graduate Danny Lindsey was the starter. In fact, Duckworth played so well that he was named the Most Improved Offensive Lineman in spring drills.

Tim Duckworth runs a drill in a preseason workout.

Although the Tigers must replace Lindsey and another 2004 senior starter, center Jeremy Ingle, Duckworth says he is optimistic the Tigers will put a strong offensive line on the field this season.

"I think we are going to be real good," he says. "We have a lot of people out there doubting us because of what we lost from last year's team, but we have to just stride forward and look to the hills and everything else is going to fall into place."

One of the key seniors the Tigers lost was SEC Player of the Year, quarterback Jason Campbell. One of Duckworth's major assignments will be protecting Campbell's replacement, Brandon Cox.

The running backs have been told one of their major assignments is to keep blitz-happy Georgia Tech from getting to the Auburn quarterback. Duckworth says that is very important to Auburn's success.

"We are on that same mission," the 6-3, 326-pounder says. "If anybody touches the quarterback, we are going to be very mad. We are trying to keep him out of harm's way. We want him to be able to make passes and not have to worry about being hit from the blind side."

Duckworth says the offensive line has been working diligently to be ready for whatever the Tech defense throws at the Tigers on Saturday night. "Like Coach (Hugh) Nall says, the only thing we have to do is communicate. If we do that, everything is going to fall into place.

"If we get lackadaisical and fall off our game, we are going to be in trouble," Duckworth adds. "We just have to keep our heads straight and communicate."

Personally, Duckworth says his key issue is to play under control. "I need to play my game and not try to do anything I can't do," he says. "I just need to do the things I did to get me here and I will be all right."

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