Bruin turned Blue Devil, Patrick taking it all in at Duke
By Austin Stanley, For the Williamson Herald
Lucas Patrick is entering his third season as a Duke Blue Devil football player. The former Brentwood Bruin offensive lineman will be right in the mix to compete for important playing time as a redshirt sophomore this season.
The 6-foot-4, 310-pound Patrick played around 100 snaps as a redshirt freshman last year after bouncing back from a fractured ankle in the previous year’s spring practice. Duke went on to a 6-6 regular season record and appeared in its first bowl game since 1995. Patrick knows what expectations the team faces this year and offseason work is critical.
“The expectations are even greater,” Patrick said. “Definitely we want to work to be where we aren’t in the Belk Bowl but playing for a championship of the ACC.”
“We are doing something new (this offseason) with the coaches called self-practice where we as players run our own drills and team reps. We are running through plays to keep our minds as sharp as our bodies.”
While offseason football work is important to regular season success, team bonding is essential for sticking together through tough summer heat. Patrick and his fellow offensive lineman spend time together at the home of their offensive line coach, John Latina.
“He’s Italian so he cooked us some Parmesan spaghetti and we all hung out as his house,” Patrick said. “I think he bought 7 pounds, it was a lot of pasta. He’s a great coach on the field but off the field he’s there to help us. Of course, with the offensive line, those guys are my best friends and who I hang out with.”
Being best friends with other 300-pound athletes leads to other outings around town that become a sight to see.
“One of our most recent adventures was not too long ago. We went to CiCi’s and just demolished that pizza. Other times we will go to local restaurants around here. We have this burger place that we love to go to. But, it was really fun to go to CiCi’s and see how many plates we could stack up.”
Having a tight-knit team is something head coach David Cutcliffe stressed to Patrick during his very first recruiting visit to Duke. That and Cutcliffe’s past made Duke a perfect fit for the Brentwood product.
“On my first recruiting trip I got to talk with (Cutcliffe). I had always looked up to him because of his past at Tennessee, growing up being a fan,” Patrick said.
“He said to go hang out with the players. That says a lot about him and what he does for this program that he trusts every player and treats them all the same. He gets us to really believe in the program and every player has bought in. Above all he’s just a great leader that we all fall behind and would run through a wall for.”
Cutcliffe’s previous coaching stops at Tennessee as offensive coordinator and as the Ole Miss head coach brings the opportunity for the Manning brothers, Peyton and Eli, to come workout with the Duke team in the spring.
“It was really awesome yet humbling at the same time. When we would come into workouts they would be there getting ready just like most players have their routines. Peyton and Eli worked very hard alongside their receivers and you could see why they are the best at what they do. It was funny to see that they are still brothers and joked around when it was the appropriate time.”
With a chance to fit into the offensive guard rotation this fall, Patrick is focusing on what he needs to do to improve himself while keeping the team as the priority.
“Personally, my goal is to get better and be somebody that can be accountable and reliable every game, every day in practice,” Patrick said. “Just wanting to get better every day and not taking any play for granted.”
“I want to improve that this year and want to be a big time player. But, at the end of the day it’s a team sport so I’m willing to do whatever the team needs me to do.”
Posted on: 6/25/2013