Lemmens Offers a Promise to Gator Nation

Tim Tebow's "Promise" speech is engraved as a permanent fixture on the wall of the Heavener Complex and the hearts of many devoted fans. But, what about another "Promise"? This is the pledge of an unsung Gator hero. We have DE Duke Lemmens' word that he will bring his game face in 2010.

"There's a bar set here at Florida for D-line and I'm just trying to live up to that. I don't know what's going to be happening. I just know that I'm going to go as hard as I can and I know the guys that were here last year are awesome and those are some big shoes to fill. I promise everyone that I'm going to work on and off the field to fill those shoes," Duke Lemmens said with a conviction we haven't seen in the past.

This is his chance. 6-3, 250-pound Lemmens is ready.

"My name comes up a lot. I've just always been a serviceable backup my whole life and I know that. I know that's what everyone said about me and I love it. It's true. They're not lying but this is my chance to prove to everyone that I can do more than that.

He won't have to do it alone, however. Lemmens' name does come up a lot but it's accompanied by the names Justin Trattou and William Green. These three players have a lot in common. They play on the D-line, they finally have a chance to start after years behind older players, and they have a strong bond of friendship. Lemmens talked about 6-4, 255-pound Trattou:

"He's got that Jersey, tough guy thing to him all the time. He's become probably my best friend over the years. People don't realize how underrated he's been all these years."

Lemmens' other pal, 6-3, 252-pound William Green is focused on big contributions this season. Lemmens said you can call Green "Steamin' Willy Beamin" if you feel inclined.

"He's flipping around. Willy's going to be used a lot this year. The more he knows, the more he'll play. Willy has always been about the team. He's a real good player. You know what you're going to get out of him: 100 percent effort every time. I really love having him on the D-line."

Dan McCarney is coaching a talented group but he's dealing with a wealth of youth. Lemmens is pleased with what he sees from the freshmen linemen.

"All of them are real good kids and they're definitely a great addition. It's a big transition but they're as far ahead as any class I've seen come in at that position and I've always said O-line and D-line are the hardest positions to come in right away and these guys… all of them look pretty good."

Depth is a word that has been thrown around constantly when talking about this defensive line. Lemmens said he is a huge proponent of rotating guys in and out as often as possible.

"We really have a lot of depth too. It's quality depth. We're not just going to suit people up just to suit them up. People are going to be expected to play and not drop off at all. That's the beauty of it. The more depth we have, the quicker and more explosive we'll be."

With the departure of so much defensive talent from 2009, many might look at the current group with doubt. Lemmens said bring on the talk.

"I love that. It's so much better than everyone talking about how good you are. I think our whole defense is being down played a lot by everyone. We lost a lot of guys but that just means more opportunity to step up. If you remember 08, we had a lot of the same questions and it ended up coming together real nicely. I'm hoping that's going to be the same situation this year."

Lemmens may never have his promise etched on a building, but his teammates know all about his devotion to them. To this senior, his last chance to make a difference is about much more than his own reputation.
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