Ingle, who is one injury away to starter Danny Lindsey from being a starter himself, is going into the 2003 season on the strength of a very strong spring when he filled in admirably for Lindsey, who was rehabbing from foot surgery.
On Wednesday evening at a team meeting, following the first day of AU fall semester classes, Tuberville gave Ingle the good news that his education is now being paid for by the football program. And, the redshirt junior wasn't the only Tiger to receive real good news.
Rich Trucks, another redshirt junior who has helped fund his education by mowing yards, is also now officially a scholarship football player. Trucks is currently out of action for approximately six weeks after suffering a knee injury in last Saturday's scrimmage.
Ingle walked on to the team for the 2000 season as a defensive lineman after earning All-City honors as a junior and All-State status his senior year at Saint James School in Montgomery. He worked on the scout team in in 2000 and again in 2001 as a redshirt freshman and then made the move to the offensive line the following year. He played in four games last year and performed well with extensive playing time vs. Western Carolina and Louisiana-Monroe and spot duty vs. Vandy and Mississippi State.
"I feel good about the way things are going," Ingle told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I have come a long way since walking on as a defensive lineman in 2000. Coach Nall (offensive coordinator Hugh Nall) gave me a chance to play offensive line. When the opportunity came I took advantage of it. Since then I have been working harder and harder to get bigger. I am now up to 280 pounds. That is where I want to be. I don't think I can carry any more weight and still have the quickness I need to play center."
Nall says that Ingle is a little smaller than he would like for the position at 20 pounds less than Lindsey, but adds, "He did a really good job in the spring and showed a lot of toughness. I have no doubt that he could get the job done for us at center if we need to play him in games."
Ingle and the Tigers wrapped up the heavy portion of preseason workouts on Tuesday with a full contact practice. On Wednesday, the team had the day off from on-the-field work as fall semester classes began. The Tigers will resume practices on Thursday afternoon, moving back to the football complex for one workout each day as they begin to install the game plan for the August 30th opener vs. Southern Cal.
"I am so happy two-a-days are over with," Ingle notes. "My body is so beat up. I am ready to start preparing for USC."
Trucks, who originally weighed more than 350 pounds when he reported to Auburn as a walk-on during a hot preseason back in 2000, has seen action on special teams the past two years as a kick protector. He has dropped his weight to under 300 pounds. He can handle both the guard and tackle positions.
Nall says that he is glad that Tuberville was able to give Trucks a scholarship. "He's an impressive kid," Nall says. "He works hard on the field and in the classroom. And he's a good person. That's important to this coaching staff and to me personally."
Trucks, who played high school football at Hoover, was an honorable mention Class 6A All-State selection as a senior and was named to the Super All-Metro team. "He's improved physically and mentally since he got here," Nall notes.
Tiger Ticket Extra: Jeremy Ingle says he has been impressed working on the second offensive unit next to Dexter Murphy, who made the move from defensive tackle to offensive guard on Sunday. "Dexter is doing real well as far as learning stuff," Ingle says. "It is real tough on him. He has a real good attitude about the position change. He is the kind of guy who will jump up and take care of whatever task you asked him to do and do it with a smile on his face to help the team out."