News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Holes in offensive line on AU’s list

By Bradley Handwerger

AUBURN — Auburn’s Hugh Nall paused for a second, thinking back to his many years as an offensive line coach.

Finally, he had his answer.

“This is probably the most in my career that I can remember,” Nall said as Auburn goes through its first week of spring football drills.

According to Nall, he never has had to replace four offensive line starters in 27 years as a coach.

There’s always the first time, and for Auburn, it is now.

Gone are guards Tim Duckworth and Ben Grubbs, tackle Jonathan Palmer and center Joe Cope.

In their place are untested junior Antwoin Daniels at tackle, rarely used junior Tyronne Green at guard, underachieving senior Leon Hart at guard and junior Jason Bosley at center. Bosley is the only player who is battle tested.

“It’s tough,” Nall said. “We’re having to start over from the ground floor. We’re young. Communication. Just inconsistency with the communication around him.”

For now, Nall is content with teaching.

He said he is concerned only with working on fundamentals, such as getting the players to make the right calls.

So while the rest of the team is in the locker room slowly dressing for practice, the lineman are already on the field doing drills.

It’s the only way Nall knows how to get his linemen prepared for the Sept. 1 opener against Kansas State.

“I try to get them out here early,” Nall said. “We come out here and do step-through and make sure we’re in the right place. Just a lot more time having to be spent with polish work.”

The starting five won’t be set until near the end of August. But Nall hopes to have an idea soon.

“I hope to come out of spring knowing who my starting five will be,” Nall said. “During two-a-days we’ll readjust that based on who is coming in.”

Pontiac game-changer: Auburn got a check for $100,000 at halftime of Wednesday’s basketball game against LSU on Wednesday night.

The Tigers won Pontiac’s game-changing play of the year contest in a vote of fans, and Pontiac officials gave an over-sized check to former tailback Tre Smith and athletics director Jay Jacobs at the basketball game.

The play that won for Auburn was a blocked punt in the Tigers’ 27-17 win over Florida in October.

The play marked the turning point. Decatur native Jerraud Powers blocked the punt, Tre Smith picked up the loose ball, returning it for a touchdown that gave Auburn an 18-17 lead in the third quarter.

Florida, the eventual SEC and national champions, never really threatened again.

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