Duke Lemmens Likes Increased Role

For three years, Gator defensive end Duke Lemmens has been a popular member of the team. He's a fun-loving, personable California dude through and through. The trouble is his contributions were almost exclusively limited to the practice field and locker room.

Duke Lemmens had just 10 tackles all of last season and three tackles for loss over three campaigns in Gainesville. Saturday in Knoxville, Lemmens had his best day as a Gator, registering five tackles, two of them for loss and one sack. He did that while not only playing defense end but also contributing as a strong side linebacker.

Lemmens spoke with me about his day in Knoxville and what's coming up next.


LV: How did it feel to play some linebacker Saturday?

DL: "It was real fun and a good experience. I felt a lot more athletic not having my hand in the dirt. Coach (D.J.) Durkin did a great job getting me ready last week for that.""

LV: Did it seem pretty natural to you? Did you make the transition easily?

DL: "If you watch the film my footwork was pretty bad at linebacker. I've got a lot of work to do. It didn't seem unnatural to me, but I've got a lot of technical stuff to work on."

LV: In the pre-season you talked about wanting to do something significant in your senior year. Was Saturday the first time you felt like you really did something for the team?

DL: "Yeah. It felt to get on the plane (for the flight home) and feel sore. You don't know how many times I've gotten on a plane and felt completely fresh because I hadn't played much. So it was a really special feeling."

LV: Is it strange to think you are playing a team that has not beaten the Gators in 23 years?

DL: "I really can't think like that. I mean, I've only been around (alive) for 22 years. I know Kentucky is a very quality team. They go to bowls and they're in the SEC and when you are in the SEC anyone in the conference can beat you. That's what makes playing in the SEC so special."

LV: How much do you have to be aware of Randall Cobb's presence, particularly when he might takes snaps at quarterback?

DL: It's no fun trying to chase down those fast quarterbacks, but we'll prepare for that. We got a great look against USF to prepare for this. They're both great athletes and they'll both try to hurt us and we just have to stop them."

LV: This game is going to be at 7:00. How do you feel about night games versus noon games or mid-afternoon games?

DL: "I keep telling the freshmen they really haven't seen a game in The Swamp until they come for a night game. I can't wait. My official visit was watching Jarvis (Moss) block a kick at night to beat South Carolina and I'll never forget that. I committed the next day. This is why I came here."


Lemmens also talked about the Kentucky game and the fact that there's no pressure on the Wildcats.

DL: "They really come in here with nothing to lose and that's so dangerous to play against (a team like that). They do have talent. Their offense runs a great scheme, and they really know how you utilize their athletes. It's a great test for us."

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