Duke Lemmens Wants Strong Finish

Senior defensive end Duke Lemmens has not produced a great deal in his first three seasons at Florida. The Californian was in on 10 tackles last season, bringing his three year total to just 23. He has two QB sacks, both of which came in the 2008 against LSU and Arkansas. Still, the 6-4, 250 pound end is optimistic about his senior season.

Duke Lemmens says he has lost weight from his listed 265 from a year ago and is hoping added quickness will make him a more effective pass rusher. He says he and all the defensive ends feel an obligation to the replace the production of departed starters Carlos Dunlap (9.0) and Jermaine Cunningham (7.0) who combined for 40 percent of the Gators QB sacks last season.

In addition to pass rushing, Lemmens has gotten some added practice time to work on dropping into coverage. That's an indication that more zone blitzing could be part of the Gators defensive schematic changes under new coordinator Teryl Austin.

Lemmens has also seen some practice time at tight end in goal line situations and that could provide him with an opportunity later this spring or in the fall.

After Wednesday's practice, Lemmens spoke with a number of media guys including yours truly.


MG: How do you feel like your spring is going?

DL: I feel like I'm really improved. I kinda shed a little baby fat off last year and I feel a little lean and mean. I'm just having fun out here. It's my senior year and finally I'm really appreciating what I got here.

MG: How much leaner?

DL: I lost about 15 pounds from last year, but I'm just as strong and I feel quicker. Last year I had to do more inside stuff, but this year I'm really concentrating on "Fox" and helping out inside on passing situations but I'm trying to be as quick as possible this year."

MG: How much do you want to catch a touchdown in the spring game or the fall?

DL: That would be a dream come true. Then girls might notice me and stuff so we'll see.

MG: What's the work you have been doing with (LB) Coach Durkin?

DL: Coach Meyer just wants me to work on some stuff because we might have a big nickel package where I'm like a standup (end) and do a little more dropping. I'm just working on it. All that stuff makes you a better football player.

MG: How big is this year for you considering what the Gators lost at the position?

DL: It's hard to replace those guys, but life keeps going on. Florida football is always supposed to be good and Florida D-ends especially are always supposed to be good so I've got big shoes to fill.

LV: Do you guys view that as a challenge to your unit to fill in the gaps left by Dunlap and Cunningham?

DL: Of course we do, but every year since I've been here we've had great defensive ends and we don't expect any drop off. We just want to continue what they started here.

LV: What do you consider to be your strengths?

DL: I know what I'm doing. I'm tough, and I have a relentless motor.

LV: Where do you have to get better?

DL: Pass rush, everything. I have room to improve at everything. This whole off season I took in the fact that this is my last season. It's gone by really fast and I probably dreamed of doing more by now. This is my one chance and I'm really enjoying it and stopping to smell the roses a little bit. I used to come out here and think of it as a job, but now I'm actually looking forward to every time I get to suit up out here.

LV: Has the chemistry on the defensive line been hurt at all by the absences of the veteran tackles Terron Sanders and Lawrence Marsh who haven't been able to do much this spring?

DL: Guys like Sanders and Marsh are big leaders on our team, but we're such a close unit ever since I came in as a freshman. We're always good at getting the freshmen acclimated and becoming part of the group so it shouldn't be an issue. We're gonna be fine.

Fightin Gators Top Stories