Duckworth: "It Was All On The Line"

Auburn guard Tim Duckworth talks about the lackluster performance of the offensive line last week and what they'll need to improve on before facing Florida.

Auburn, Ala.--Sometimes a game comes down to one simple truth. While you can look at the plays and schemes that were used on both sides of the football, winning a game likely comes down to winning and losing the line of scrimmage.

That is the simple answer to what happened to Auburn Saturday in a loss to Arkansas.

Not stopping the run and not being able to run the football led to problems on both offense and defense in the 27-10 loss. For the offense that is something that doesn't sit well, particularly with the guys up front. Senior guard Timmy Duckworth says that when you look back at the game it's easy to see what happened.

"We just got our tail whipped to tell you the truth," Duckworth says. "There is no way around it. They wanted it more than we did. That's what it boils down to."

Mistakes were plentiful in Saturday's game for the offense as the Tigers netted just 60 yards on the ground and didn't score a point in the second half. Things begin with an offense up front.

"It was all on the line," Duckworth says. "We're always going to put it on our backs because the backs can't do anything without us. That was on us and we're correcting that right now as we speak. You have to have that will and want to. You have to have five guys on the line that are going to go out every play and every snap try to tear someone's head off. That's what we're trying to build into right now."

Duckworth picks up Brad Lester after a touchdown earlier this season.

It wasn't all the fault of the offensive line against the Hogs as several times the protection broke down because of the inability of receivers to get open in the Arkansas secondary. Other times a running back might have missed a block. Still to give up five sacks in a game is unacceptable for Duckworth and he says the line will shoulder all responsibility because it didn't get the job done as a unit.

"Basically you would have four guys doing the right thing and maybe one or two guys slacking and maybe taking a play off," Duckworth says. "That's what it boils down to. You can get away with that on defense if a guy blows someone up three yards in the backfield and makes the tackle, but not on offense. It was always someone different. Even I took a play off every once in a while. We just have to compete and fight through it."

This week the Tigers are expected to remain the same up front with Duckworth and fellow senior Ben Grubbs at the guard position with King Dunlap and Jonathan Palmer at tackle and sophomore Jason Bosley at center. Leon Hart has been the sixth man for the Tigers, coming in to replace anyone but the center.

That might not be the case this week as sophomore Andrew McCain has been working at the tackle position in case he's needed. Duckworth says he doesn't expect any changes, but notes the Tigers are working hard to improve in one area that is crucial for an offensive lineman under coach Hugh Nall.

"It has always been finish," Duckworth says. "He wants us to finish and I think he's getting a little tired of us not finishing. We do a little extra stuff, but nothing that will hurt us. It's just to make us better."

There is no rest for the Tigers this week as they face one of the league's best defensive fronts. The Gators are the best in the SEC against the run and shut down a powerful LSU offense last week. Duckworth says this is a huge test for the offensive line and is a chance to show they're better than their last performance.

"They'll be the best we've faced so far," he says. "They are like LSU but quicker. All of them are real quick, big and fast. We're just going to have to watch our back on that."


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