There are times when Villanova defensive end Tim Kukucka hunkers down in his defensive stance, screams at offensive linemen, and practically foams at the mouth.
Kukucka, 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, uses everything at his disposal to break the will of his opponents.
"My roommate actually calls me wolf, because he says I transform into a werewolf," said Kukucka, who will lead the Wildcats (13-1) against Montana (14-0) in Friday's Football Championship Subdivision championship in Chattanooga, Tenn.
"Once the game starts, I guess you can say that I am a different person," he added. "I just take over a [different persona] once the game starts. I just love it so."
Likable and often soft-spoken off the field, the senior tries to provoke foes during games.
"He's a wild man," Villanova safety John Dempsey said. "When you are playing against Timmy, you are just getting a motor nonstop. The bad part is that motor doesn't stop after the play. Half the time, I'm pulling him out of someone's face."
Dempsey recalled having to stop Kukucka from shoving snow in a New Hampshire player's face in the FCS quarterfinals.
"I had to say, 'Timmy!' " Dempsey said. "But that's just how he plays. That motor, you can't match that.
"And if you are an offensive tackle that can't match that, he is going to work on you all day."
The intimidating presence of the preseason Division I-AA all-American made him one of the recognizable Wildcats. His production made him a candidate for the Buck Buchanan Award. The annual award will be given Thursday to the outstanding defensive player in the FCS.
Kukucka's 91/2 sacks and 181/2 tackles for losses lead the team. He also takes 63 tackles, three forced fumbles, an interception, and a blocked kick into Friday's championship game.
"Individual performances mean nothing unless you are winning," Kukucka said. "So individually, I'm proud of what I've done because I helped to put a great defense on the field."
Yielding just 13.57 points per game, Villanova is ranked fifth nationally in scoring defense. And Kukucka is the emotional, vocal, and intimidating leader of that unit.