Duckworth Ready To Rumble

Auburn's Tim Duckworth is expected to be one of the top offensive linemen in the country heading into his senior season.

Auburn, Ala.--For senior offensive guard Tim Duckworth, the season opener against Washington State on Sept. 2 can't come soon enough.

"I'm really tired of beating up on my teammates," Duckworth says. "It's time for somebody else to pay the price of me having to come out here and sweat all day."

The expectations are big for the 6-4, 310-pound senior. He is a preseason All-SEC pick and is on the watch lists for the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Trophy.

With the Tigers owning a No. 4 ranking in the AP poll heading into the season Duckworth says he is eagerly anticipating the first game.

"I've been here for a while but I can't believe it has snuck up on me already--my senior year," he says. "I've just got to take the little bit I've got left and run with it.

"I know I'm going to have to eat a lot so I can get myself to sleep, or read a book or something," Duckworth adds. "I've got to do something to put myself to sleep. I'm not getting too much sleep right now."

Duckworth isn't the only player on the team who is getting more excited and eager as kickoff gets closer. He says that the tempo at practice is increasing and the atmosphere is starting to change.

"Everybody is picking it up," he notes. "It's going to another level because every snap we take in practice has to be game-like intensity. We've got to take advantage of that because we don't have much time (left) to prepare for it. We've just got to take advantage of the time and go out there and give it 110 percent every time."

Duckworth with elbow pads, knee braces and taped up fingers during an extremely physical August on the practice fields.

A constant theme in preseason practices for the entire team has been to get more physical, especially on the offensive line where coach Hugh Nall has challenged his players to step up.

"I would say, and the coaches would say, that we're not physical enough," Duckworth says. "I hear Coach Nall say it all the time that we're not physical enough. That's something we're going to have to take it upon ourselves to get better at.

"He can coach us, but he can't go out there and play the game for us. That's something we're going to have to dig deep down inside ourselves to get done."

Duckworth and his teammates will kick off the season at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium, the first of eight home games for the Tigers.

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