Butler football running back Duvante Lane balances school and work with a level head

JIMMY LAFAKIS | STAFF REPORTER | jlafakis@butler.edu

Butler football running back Duvante Lane  starts his day before the sun rises. He heads to Hinkle Fieldhouse with one goal in mind: getting better.

Lane and the rest of the Butler University football team work with head strength and conditioning coach Jim Peal in Hinkle’s basement. The 6:30 a.m. full-body workouts include bench and squat exercises with auxiliary lifts and core work. Lane said he knows his teammates are ready to compete.

“Guys have really come out and put in a lot of work,” Lane said. “We’ve been able to see how guys have grown through the offseason, so we’re really excited to put it all together.

The Evansville native then drives back to his house on 44th Street to eat breakfast around 7:45 a.m.

“It’s always eggs with some toast or a bagel,” Lane said. “Also some bacon or sausage.”

As Lane drives through campus, he sees himself on new Butler University banners reading “Explore your Passions.” Those words are displayed next to an image of Lane pointing at the camera during a game. The image was snapped after he scored a touchdown, a feat he accomplished nine times last season.

Last week, he started his internship with the Zionsville Community Schools athletic department. Once he arrives in Zionsville, he begins working. He sets the field up for games, enters game contracts for schedules and takes inventory.

“All my life, I’ve been on the playing side of athletics,” Lane said. “It’s interesting to see what all goes into making it all happen and run so smoothly. Also, I get the opportunity to be involved with younger athletes who I once sat in the same seat as I did.”

Lane drives back to campus after his 1 p.m. lunch.

At 2 p.m., he gets ready for practice. Running backs coach Joey Hecklinski, who was hired last April, said Lane impressed with his work ethic.

“Coming in the middle of the spring, Duvante was someone whom I met right away,” Hecklinski said. “What stuck out to me was his willingness to improve and the way he worked each and every day. He is someone who takes both school and football seriously while still having fun.”

Team meetings begin at 3 p.m. in Hinkle. Lane serves as a team captain alongside redshirt junior quarterback Will Marty, senior defensive end Connor Andras and senior defensive back Isaak Newhouse.

“Duvante will be a good captain because he is a player that knows the standard and is someone that everyone on the team respects and looks up to.” Hecklinski said. “He does the right thing and holds other players accountable by doing the right thing and playing The Butler Way.

The grind continues at the Sellick Bowl during the team’s 4 p.m. practice. Marty said he enjoys throwing to and handing the ball off to his fellow captain.

“Duvante is the man,” Marty said. “He’s a multi-tool player because he can run, block and catch. Having him in the backfield makes my job easier.”

Lane heads to the training room to stretch out, ice bath and alleviate soreness at around 6:15 p.m. He then attends a group film session, where he studies film alongside his fellow running backs. Lane said the group, nicknamed “Juice,” represents a Butler football tradition.

“‘Juice’ means everything,” Lane said. “I think it’s the closest group of guys on the team. To be able to carry on the legacy of Juice is a great honor.”

Lane makes dinner back at his house around 7:30 p.m. It’s always some sort of pasta, such as spaghetti or fettuccine alfredo. Chicken and rice with vegetables are frequent, and he sometimes throws in ice cream for dessert.

After dinner, the time comes for Lane to “chill with the homies,” as he says. Redshirt senior tight end Cord Collier has lived with Lane for the last three years. Collier voted for Lane for team captain. The veteran tight end has bonded with his roommate on and off the field over the years.

“Between playing football and becoming roommates, I think we’ve become really good friends,” Collier said. “I think playing on the same side of the ball and blocking for him, pass blocking with him and maturing into key players on the offense together has made us closer off the field.”

Lane plays “Madden NFL” or “NBA 2K” while listening to music with his roommates. He said being a student-athlete is not easy, but there is no doubt that the grind is worth it.

“We joke around and enjoy laughing about what went on during the day,” Lane said.

At 10 or 11 p.m, Lane goes to bed. Another opportunity to improve awaits him.

“The thing I’ve learned most of all is to be deliberate about how you manage your time,” Lane said. “When you have a routine or idea of how you are planning to attack your day, it’s much more productive than just going with the flow. It’s definitely not easy.”

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