True to the last name, Buck stops here for USD
When USD defensive tackle Will Buck hears his name called inside his Sacramento home, many heads turn. Buck’s father is called William Buck. His older and younger brothers too.
Tackle on Buck’s late grandfather, who responded to the same handle, and at one point there were five Will Bucks in the family.
âWe got the George Foreman treatment,â Buck’s dad said, referring to the former heavyweight champion boxer who named five sons George.
In his sophomore year in the red shirt, Buck is undoubtedly making his own identity these days. He racked up three sacks last week against Valparaiso and was named Defensive Player of the Week in the Pioneer Football League.
His 7Â½ sacks lead the USD by threes and rank second in the PFL, rare for a defensive tackle. Tackles work in traffic. They get hit by guards, crosses and tackles. By design, they draw multiple blockers, allowing linebackers to accumulate stoppages.
Sacks are believed to come from players living on the rim, ends and outside linebackers.
To hear from the coaching staff at USD, there’s a reason Buck became so productive in his first season as a starter.
âHe’s tough,â said head coach Dale Lindsey.
In the delivery room, the American tackle’s father explained to nurses why he liked the name Will Buck.
âIt’s precise, strong, short and straight to the point,â Buck’s dad said, apparently giving a proper job description for defensive tackles.
Buck’s father served in the military for 21 years, until the rank of First Class Sergeant. Buck’s mother works for the California State Board of Equalization.
âYou don’t see him coming out like rah-rah,â defensive line coach Garrett Robinson said of Buck. âI think a lot of that comes from his upbringing. It is a family of hard-working workers. I think that applies to his game and his state of mind.
After a football game at Capital Christian High in Sacramento, the head coach told the players that in order for the team to improve they had to get stronger and “lift those weights.”
That night, after midnight, Buck’s dad heard that boom boom boom come out of the concrete patio floor.
âWe thought our house was broken into,â Buck’s father said.
Instead, her second son lifted weights.
The father told his son that night, âI don’t think Coach literally meant at that time (lifting weights). I think he meant during your development.
A mechanical engineering graduate, Buck said he caught the attention of some Division II and NAIA schools, but after visiting the SHU his decision was made.
âI just fell in love with campus,â he said. âPrestigious academics. The big group of guys from the football team. (I said), ‘I can go work with these guys.’ The great coaches. Plus, how could you miss San Diego? “
At 6 foot 1,280 pounds, Buck is what coaches call “country” or raw strong. Robinson mentioned that Buck looked stronger when he showed up to camp this summer and asked if he was lifting particularly hard weights in the offseason.
Buck said the extra strength came from a summer job in a warehouse lifting marble slabs from the floor to the shelves. That, plus the landscaping for his father. When Robinson asked if his father paid him, Buck replied, âNo, I work for the way I live in the house. “
USD Director of Athletic Performance Mark Lamoreaux said Buck is one of the strongest players on the team. He bench presses over 400 pounds. One of the tests of the NFL Combine is how often a player can press down on a 225-pound bench. Buck reached 28 reps.
Earlier this week, he benched 355 pounds twice. As the weight dropped a second time, Buck said, “More … weight … please” before pulling it back up.
His USD career, however, got off to a painful start. In 2019, his first season, Buck suffered a patella dislocation and a torn patellar tendon in his right knee in training.
âMy foot was planted in the ground,â he said. âI was pushed and twisted the wrong way. Definitely a dark moment that I’m trying to bury.
Two years later, he is at the start and center of a defense that ranks second in the league, allowing just 305 yards per game.
âI’ve always been the same hard worker,â he says. “If you’re patient enough, work hard enough, and work hard enough, things usually fall into place.”
Norcross is a freelance writer.
Morehead State to USD
Today: 1 p.m., Torero stadium
Recordings: Eagles 5-3, 4-1 Pioneer Football League; Bullfighters 5-4, 5-1
Series history: Toreros leads 13-0
Notes of the Eagles: Quarterback Mark Pappas ranks seventh in the FCS with 2,422 passing yards.
Notes from Toreros: A win allows the USD to win the 11th consecutive season and the 17th in the last 19 seasons.