Tuck Just Looking For Another Win

Justin Tuck had an outstanding game Saturday against Stanford and set a new single season sack record for the Fighting Irish. This is quite an achievement when you consider all the great defensive linemen Notre Dame has had throughout its history. Irish Eyes spoke with Justin regarding his play against Stanford and the role he and the other players have when recruits are on campus for official visits.

Justin Tuck said he really didn't know he was close to the sack record before the Stanford game. "Honestly, I didn't even know," said Tuck. "Coach Willingham threw some hints and said I ought to find out how many sacks is the record. I guess he already knew, but I didn't have any idea how close I was to it. I go into every game thinking I'm going to get six and I'm disappointed if I don't."

Tuck said he didn't know he had the record until he was told at halftime. "They told me at halftime that I had it. I really didn't think about it. I was just thinking about finishing out the game. It really didn't sink in until after the game and I got thinking about all the defensive linemen who have played here. After the game, I talked to my Dad about it and he told me they had announced it on television. It became a bigger thing as it went on."

It was mentioned that he was being recognized as one of the national sack leaders and he replied, "I'm going into the game, every game, shooting for at least six. I'm going for six Saturday."

With the success Justin is having this season, he was questioned about his goals for next year and he emphatically said, "I don't want to talk about next year. We still have one more game to play. My goal right now is to get another win."

Earlier in the season, Justin told Irish Eyes he is his own toughest critic and we asked him if this still applied, "I think I am. My Dad, he's up there a little bit, but I think I'm my hardest critic. I look at the game and see some plays and people say you made a good play on that, but I look at it like I could have done a little more. It should be like that. If you're content with things you do, you'll never reach your full potential."

Everyone is aware of the importance of recruiting for programs to be successful. The coaches lead the charge in this seemingly never-ending process, but the players also have an important part. Justin answered the following questions about hosting recruits when they come in for an official visit:

How do you get information on the player you will be hosting? "We are briefed on what the players like. This information comes from Coach Gonzales (Director of Personnel Development). He gives us a scouting report on things they like to do and things they don't like to do."

How many players have you hosted this year, and overall? "Eight overall - two this year."

Did you host any last year that signed? "Victor Abiamiri, LaBrose Hedgemon, Mitchell Thomas."

Who was your host? "Tony Fisher and another running back."

What do you remember about your visit and do you do a lot of the same when you host players? "It's different with different people; it just depends on what they like to do. We just hang out and have a good time and basically show them areas around campus that you can get into other than football; basically just have fun."

Do you have to have them home by a certain time? Is there a curfew? "There's no curfew, but we don't want to keep them out too late as they have a long day ahead of them on Sunday. And we don't want them yawning in meetings on Sunday, so we definitely get them in at a decent time."

Is there a difference between an in-season and out-of-season visit? "I think out-of-season is a lot better just because there are more people around. And you don't have the hassle of game week and preparing for a game. You can be more focused on that recruit."

The best and worst part of hosting a recruit? "The best part is the food. The worst part is if you get bogged down with classes and things, you lose time with them."

Justin Tuck continues to impress us by the improvement he has made and his aggressive style of play. We are also impressed with his willingness and patience in answering our many questions.

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