Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges

Courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers

The nickname

Devlin Hodge’s college coach, Chris Hatcher, was on Stan Love the Show last week and Stan Savran invited the coach to talk about the Steelers starting quarterback.

In response to the question of how Hodges got the nickname ‘Duck,’ Coach Hatcher explained:

It was the nickname I gave him when I took over the job. He was a red shirt freshman and as you guys can see he’s a very confident player who plays with a bit of edge. If you really want to see a confident guy, then talk to him about duck hunting and calling ducks.

I’m a big nickname guy and when I first got here and was just trying to get to know the new players decided Devlin has too many syllables so I’m starting to call you ‘duck’. You are more passionate about that and it has stuck.

I told him when he made the team that having a good nickname was probably going to carry him a long way. And, sure enough it has helped him out to get to this point. At least that’s what I like to think.

The quarterback

Duck is a confident guy. So, he should be. He has a great feel for the game. He’s a natural quarterback, a natural leader. The story of him getting to this point has been phenomenal.

Just six weeks ago he came back to Birmingham after being cut. We were watching a women’s soccer game sitting in the stands. I said I have a few XFL contacts and Canadian opportunities. We can talk to the agents and see if we can get something working. Now here we are with the possibility of starting Sunday Night Football.

That journey has been amazing. He was a Walter Peyton Man of the Year winner, the highest honour you can get in FCS football, and he broke a 25-year mark* set by the great Steve McNair.

As far as his confidence in his ability to play the game, the guy’s a very accomplished player and the journey he’s gotten into is pretty amazing. He called a lot of his own plays. He’s been preparing for this moment. He knows how to play the game.”

On his strengths, Coach Hatcher emphasised Hodge’s quick release and his accuracy. Over three and a half years, Hodges completed over 70% of his passes. “That is his biggest strength combined with the ability to find an open receiver. He moves the team down the field and that’s the job of a quarterback.”

* Hodges set a new record of 14,584 yards that surpassed Steve McNair’s 14,496.