Auburn's coaching staff made the decision to rest Duckworth after the Ole Miss game. Offensive line coach Hugh Nall says he didn't realize how much the big junior guard was slowed by a groin problem and a sore knee until Duckworth had blocking problems during that game because his mobility was limited.
Duckworth rehabbed the problem and stayed home last week as the Tigers made the road trip to Lexington where they whipped the Kentucky Wildcats 49-27. The Auburn junior says he would have liked to been at Commonwealth Stadium with his teammates, but realizes it was a good decision to work on getting back to full speed.
"My knee is better now," he notes. "It was just swollen." The groin pull, which had also slowed Duckworth, is not bothering him this week. "I am going to be all the way full speed," he says of the Tigers' 6:45 p.m. CST Saturday game at Georgia.
One of the major keys to success for the Tigers will be how Duckworth and his teammates on the offensive front cope with Georgia's deep and talented defensive front.
Duckworth says that since Auburn's road win at Arkansas the offensive line has worked as a smoothly functioning unit, something the group has been working on since spring training. "We came together as a family and just went out to do what we need to do," he says.
"I believe we have one of the best offensive lines," Duckworth adds. "If we just continue to play like we can, we are going to give some people a lot of trouble."
Jonathan Palmer, who filled in for Duckworth and played a solid game, will return to his backup role for the Georgia game. Another change in the offensive line starting lineup is that senior Troy Reddick will be back next to Duckworth at right tackle after sophomore Leon Hart got his first start there vs. Kentucky and performed very well and could see some reserve vs. the Bulldogs.