Justin Tuck has a wealth of talent and with that talent come expectations. Tucks says he doesn't concern himself with expectations. "I think with that as with everything you do there is going to be pressure but I'm just trying to deal with it," said Tuck. "If I were a freshmen just coming in, not even in my present position, there's always going to be pressure so I'm just trying to thrive on that and hopefully it will make me a better ball player."
Tuck has improved his strength and size this summer and he's currently working on his technique. The improvements are noticeable but he says he's not satisfied with where he is right now. "No, never, it's never an option to be satisfied. Once you get satisfied you never get any better and you are at risk of thinking you are better than you actually are. I'm happy with my development. I'm getting stronger and faster working with Mick (Mickey Marotti) this season; he has done a great job on all of us. I go out there everyday and strive to get to better everyday. I am never satisfied with where I am at."
The Kellyton, AL native has been working against the Irish offense all camp and Tuck thinks this team is better than the 2002 team. "Definitely, we have so much talent on offense," said Tuck when asked if this offense has improved. "If we reach our potential there is no team out there I am even concerned about as far as us not playing a good game. From skill positions to lines we have so much potential and they are starting to gel, you can see it out there. I am really happy with that."
The Irish have some pretty good offensive tackles and we asked Tuck which tackle was the hardest to get around. "I would give it to Dan Stevenson , him and (Jim) Molinaro are pretty much the same type of player but I think Dan is a little more feisty, got a little more fight in him."
Stevenson is known as a fierce competitor and isn't afraid to get dirty to gain an advantage. Tuck says he's glad to have a guy like that on his team. We asked Tuck if Stevenson might cheat a little out there. "(Laughs) As a teammate you like to see people like that. I wouldn't put him in the same category as Faine but he has a similar attitude towards the game of football. Being his teammate, I like that. He gets you mentally prepared for the game."
Tuck has also had a chance to look at his heir apparent in Victor Abiamiri. Abiamiri seems attached to the hip of Tuck and that is a great sign. Tuck says that Abiamiri will be better than he. "He won't be the next Justin Tuck; he will be the first Victor Abiamiri. He's far ahead of what I was when I first got here. He's a great athlete; once he gets his technique and learns the defense he's going to be great."
The Irish defense will be very good this year. How good will likely depend on Tuck. Tuck looks to weigh about 265 pounds right now and that added size and strength will help him become the player he can be. If Tuck can dominate like he did against Pittsburgh last year, this could be one of the best Irish defenses ever.
The Irish are in the middle of fall camp right now and Irish Eyes has been at every practice finding the latest inside scoop. You will not find better practice reports anywhere. Do you want to know how of the offensive line is progressing? How does Carlyle Holiday look this fall? What about Julius Jones? You will find it all in a Total Access Pass for Irish Eyes as well as updates on almost every player on the 2003 roster. Don't miss out on all the inside scoop.
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