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DeForest Buckner's on-field and off-field personas completely opposite

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon Ducks defensive line coach Ron Aiken had heard about defensive end DeForest Buckner before he joined the Ducks’ staff a few years ago.

None of that, of course was from Buckner, who is a man of very few words. And none of that was from his teammates, who describe him as “quiet” and “chill,” though that also describes about 50 percent of football players away from the field.

Aiken heard from other coaches on Oregon’s staff that he’d be coaching a player who had the physical capabilities to go to the next level. He heard Buckner had a motor that rivaled anyone else’s on the field. He heard that Buckner had a switch he turned on when the games started and turned off after the final whistle.

And he didn’t hear much of anything from Buckner until he started pulling him out of practice reps to give himself a breather and other guys a chance.

“To slow him down in practice, sometimes we have to pull him,” Aiken said. “He gets mad about that.”

And that's when Aiken hears the most from Buckner.

The senior hates standing on the sideline during practice. He doesn’t have to do it much during games, as evidenced by his 80-plus snaps he took against Stanford (as well as his punt team duties that involved the 300-pound lineman doing 45-yard sprints down the field). But sitting out snaps is tough for him. His motor -- which Aiken lauds him for -- has a hard time sitting idle.

Buckner has been a forced to be reckoned with in the Pac-12. He has been a head-scratcher for opposing offensive coordinators, who typically need to dedicate two, sometimes three, players to block Buckner. But even when drawing that kind of attention, he leads the conference in sacks (7.5) and is fourth in tackles for loss (13).

"If you’re building a defensive lineman, that’s what you build -- 6-9, 300 pounds, plays angry,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “When he doesn’t want to be blocked, he doesn’t get blocked.”

USC’s offensive line, which struggled against Colorado last weekend, will be the next to take on the Ducks’ defensive end. And like Stanford, the Trojans will have their hands full.

“There have been a lot of guys like that that don’t play hard,” Shaw said. “There are a lot of guys that have the talent, the size, and the ability and they don’t play hard. This guy plays hard. There are plays that he makes on screens 10-15 yards down the field. A lot of defensive linemen don’t make those plays.”

Just don't expect him to say anything about them.

“Once he steps on the football field, he’s a different guy altogether,” Aiken said. “But you would never know it off the field.”