2010-2011 San Diego Chargers Season has officially arrived!
The first pre-season game kicks off at Qualcomm Stadium this Saturday, August 14th as our San Diego Chargers take on the Chicago Bears starting at 6pm. To get you in the mood for some mid-summer football action, we went face to face with some of your favorite players. First up: Darrell Stuckey.
Darrell Stuckey is a strong rookie safety who was selected in the fourth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He is a two-time first-team All-Big 12 choice for a national championship contending team at Kansas who played both safety spots for the Jayhawks. However, now in San Diego, the Chargers plan to play him at strong safety.
He finished his career with 295 career tackles, including 11 for loss, which proves he is comfortable playing down in the box. Stuckey’s tackle total was the second-highest all-time among Jayhawk defensive backs. The only player with more was former NFL great Leroy Irvin, who had 347 from 1976-79. Stuckey was the Jayhawks’ first non-linebacker to lead the team in tackles since 2000. Now in San Diego for the new season as jersey #25, this rookie safety is ready for a big year.
From what NFL team he most looks forward to facing this season to his signature pre-game rituals, what he enjoys most about the safety position, and why he can’t wait to face Antonio Gates on the starting line, get to know Darrell Stuckey in this week’s 2010 Chargers player spotlight on DiscoverSD.com.
What NFL tight end do you most look forward to facing?
Antonio Gates. Mainly because I will go against him every single day. So my perception on how to play a tight end will form off of him, and thank God he’s one of the best in the league.
What NFL team do you most look forward to facing?
I’m kind of bias, it would be any team we play to get to the Super Bowl. At the same time, I’m excited to go back to Kansas City because it’s my hometown. I think I will be excited for every single game, but it’s the last game of the season that’s most important.
What are your pre-game rituals?
I’m more of a mellow guy before a game. I’m very energetic (but) I like to contain my energy and really express everything else. I like to calm my nerves, a lot positive self-talk, and (I like to) think through my responsibilities on the field and kind of mellow out and relax. Sometimes my body gets so relaxed, I might start yawning, and I’m not even tired.
Do you feel that Coach Rivera’s defensive scheme fits your style of play?
It definitely does, and I didn’t know it because I played in 4-3 (defense) all my life. To be in a 3-4 (defense) now, it fits my playing style a lot because it’s very balanced. It’s a lot of opportunity to show your ability.
Would you prefer a bone-crushing hit on an opponent or an interception returned for a touchdown?
I’m a bone crusher type of guy, but I’ve never had an interception for a touchdown. One day I need one of those. I’m definitely a bone-crusher. They both are momentum changers. It’s more about the opportunity. I think I’ll have a lot of opportunity here to get interceptions for a touchdown. In college, I always got my interceptions in a crowd, in traffic or going out of bounds. I maybe had one opportunity to get to the end zone and I was still trapped on the sideline with two guys in front of me, so I kind of want to do it, but I’m a definitely a bone-crusher.
What do you enjoy most about the safety position?
Being the safety valve of the defense, and the responsibility that you have, the small margin of error you have, and the decision-making you have. Most of the time you are cleaning things up or you’re fitting where needed, or you’re back in coverage overlapping somebody else. As a safety, you’re out there to play consistent and to play with a lot of responsibility but play with an ease and a calmness so that you can be explosive when the ball comes your way.
For more player details and to buy your season tickets, please visit chargers.com.
All photos and interviews courtesy of the San Diego Chargers