For those of you wondering about Adell Duckett's lucky shirt, have no fear. It's ready for another season of Texas Tech football.
"It's ugly, I don't like how it looks- no one does. Everyone on the team rags on me, but I don't care. We lose when I tuck it under," said Duckett.
The senior defensive end didn't have the usual cutoff t-shirt for the SMU game last season, so he wore an old shirt with sleeves. Duckett got a pick during the game and has worn the sleeves ever since.
The 6-4, 271 pound starting rush end has become one of the most dominant ends in school history and had a record setting single season fourteen sacks last season. Duckett is currently third on the Texas Tech career sacks list with twenty-four, just one and a half sacks behind Montae Reagor.
"He was a great player and has an $18 million contract with the Colts, so I'd like to be as good as him," Duckett said of Reagor, the current starting left tackle for the Indianapolis Colts.
Duckett has already broken a few of Reagor's records as a Red Raider and is well on his way to another productive season.
"The biggest change in the offseason was conditioning. We lost a couple games in the fourth quarter last season," said Duckett.
A fruitful offseason with strength and conditioning coach Bennie Wylie has whipped the defense into shape. Wylie gave each player on the line a weight goal and added cross-training exercises such as boxing and working with speed bags to improve hand speed and shoulder strength.
"Sione Havili is the best boxer. He's boxed before," said Duckett of the 6-3, 258 pound junior end. "I wouldn't want to fight him."
Duckett focused throughout the offseason on his conditioning to be able to play every snap at 100 percent and worked on making strength gains.
"The other day we did an outrageous workout and at the end we weren't tired, so all the hard work has paid off," he said.
Conditioning is only one reason the Red Raider defense is an improvement over last season's squad. Duckett believes that the goal of being at the top of the Big XII is a reasonable one.
"Everyone has played together. Last year we had a lot of new guys that hadn't even played. This year everyone's a year older, and we have a whole new mentality. Everyone has a better understanding of what we want to be as a defense," said Duckett.
Duckett also added that the defense has a great vocal leader in senior linebacker Mike Smith.
"Last year he played on a knee that a normal person would have had surgery on and sat out the rest of the year. He just braced it up and played. He's got more respect from me than anyone on the team," Duckett added.
Another crucial training element for the defense takes place in the film room. Duckett acknowledged that the game is as much mental as it is physical.
"I study the habits of opposing players. They have different stances. They might have one foot cocked back a little more on the run, or their hands different on the pass," he said.
Duckett also commented that weaknesses in the opposing player are evident through close study.
"You can tell when they're scared of you or which direction they're going, especially when they're tired. You gotta suck it up and wear them down," Duckett said.
Duckett also believes that attitude is essential on defense, at least a little attitude.
"If I get blocked I'll just laugh and come back the next time and get you," he said.
Duckett claims he might be the biggest talker on the line, but then thought of Patrice Majondo- Mwamba.
"Patrice is a little mean. I just kinda play around. He tries to hurt people's feelings." Keep in mind, he mentioned all of this with a smile.
Mwamba has a French saying that has caught on around the d-line. The coaches have even been heard making feeble attempts at the phrase, "Tu tu win du," which means "anything to win." Duckett asked Mwamba to work on something catchy for the season, and he's supposedly working on it.
"I'd like to start off good with these first four games- SMU, NM, TCU and then hit conference. We're definitely going to dominate UT and OU. I wish we were playing them first," said Duckett of the upcoming season.
Here are a few of his favorite things…
Duckett is a big fan of the local rock and roll band "Locked and Loaded". And as with many of his teammates, you can find him at Rosa's more often than not. He's a big fan of the nachos and enchiladas.
Rather than starting his day with cereal like his fellow linemen, Duckett eats bagels and hits McDonald's after his morning class for the three dollar hotcakes. Lunch is chicken whoppers.
His favorite television show is the comedy "King of Queens." His exact words were, "that whole show is funny man."
Duckett's pregame rituals include putting on his right shoe first. If he forgets and puts on his left sock, he'll take it off and start over. And then, of course, there's the lucky shirt. Tu tu win du…
Duckett on Defense, Lucky Shirt
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