"I was really dreading this, but it has really been good," Nall says of the NCAA rule that forces the Tigers to wait until the second week of practice before being able to practice more than one time a day.
"We have had lots of meeting time, a lot of time to explain things to kids to take them through different things," Nall says. "We probably put in more in two days than I have ever been involved with. A lot of that had to do with running the same offense and having experienced kids. When you say something, they know what you are talking about so I have been impressed with how much we have gotten in."
Nall, who doubles as offensive line coach, says he likes what he is seeing from two key players who are coming off of injuries. Taylor Bourgeois was shut down last year midway through the season to have surgery to correct a problem of having his shoulder pop out of joint. Wednesday's practice was his first since October.
Nall says he likes what he has seen so far from Bourgeois, but notes the real test will come in week two when the pads go on. Auburn will likely have a short scrimmage on Wednesday and a longer one the following Saturday. Nall says Bourgeois has "great feet" plus "great mobility" and adds, "I really like how aggressive and tough Bourgeois is. He can play either tackle, guard or center. "He could really give us some added depth that we need in that group."
Danny Lindsey is being counted on to be a key member of the offensive line this fall.
Center Danny Lindsey had a strong sophomore year as a starting guard, who saw spot duty at center. He missed spring drills while recovering from foot surgery in January, but it isn't showing. "Danny has a done a good job--he really has," Nall says. "I have been pleased with that. He looks good, moves around well. I don't see any problem with the injury and the surgery that he had. He certainly hasn't missed anything call-wise in execution and his communication with the rest of the offensive linemen."
QB coach Steve Ensminger (left) and Hugh Nall study the practice action prior to a major spring scrimmage earlier this year.
In his capacity as offensive coordinator, Nall says one of the early bright spots he is seeing in practice is the poise shown by Jason Campbell at quarterback in his second year running the offensive system originally put in by Bobby Petrino in the spring of 2002. "I think Jason is really coming on," Nall says. "With not just his execution, but with his attitude. He knows what he is doing. He knows what to expect. I think that has a lot to do with him being the same offense for a couple of years now."
Nall Notes: The offensive coordinator says that he has no doubt that senior guard Monreko Crittenden has a strong chance to play in the NFL next year. Nall says that Crittenden had a strong finish to his junior season. The key issue for big Monreko is keeping his weight in check. Nall wants him to be in the 330s. If he gets any heavier, he loses quickness and stamina. Nall says Monreko has a chance to be a big-time player. Nall says Crittenden's problem is that he loves to eat and notes that when he goes home to Montgomery for a day he can gain eight or nine pounds...Nall says that he is enjoying working with Auburn's new quarterback coach. "Steve is a hard-nosed guy and I like that," the offensive coordinator says.