Tigers Looking At Possible Move Up Front

Coach Hugh Nall and center Jeremy Ingle talk about trying to rebound from Saturday's disappointing loss to Georgia Tech.

Auburn, Ala.--The day after Auburn's 17-3 loss to Georgia Tech in Atlanta, the Auburn Tigers returned to the practice fields to try to correct mistakes made during the loss. Practicing for just under two hours in shorts and shoulder pads, the team worked on all phases of the game and Coach Hugh Nall said he was proud of the effort on Sunday.

"I was really impressed, I really was," Nall said. "We have bunch of class kids. I thought their work was as good as I've been around, it really was. Once again, they are hurting like all of us. Contrary to public belief, we are not excited about where we're at right now as far as what has happened. We're excited about the future. We're certainly not happy at all with where we are. We'll just keep working and try to get it fixed."

One of the fixes for the offense could come up front as junior Jeremy Ingle worked some at first-team center with junior Danny Lindsey moving to guard and Monreko Crittenden out to tackle in place of the banged-up Mark Pera. A former walk-on, Ingle has been impressive this fall and could get some work this Saturday against Vanderbilt. For an offense that has been seemingly one block, broken tackle, throw or catch away from breaking through, a move might be just the thing to get them going.

"If that happens I'll be sure to give my all and try to make the team do a little better than what we've been doing," Ingle said. "I think what we have out there has been doing a good job. They've been doing what they can do, but I think when you put somebody new in it could give a little spark. We're so close to being a really good football team with the players we have out there. It's not the system and it's not the players, we just have to get things done out there. Everything hinges on one person and you have to be ready to go."

Jeremy Ingle watches in the background as Danny Lindsey and Mark Pera push the sled at an earlier practice this fall.

Something that definitely got the spirits of the team back up out of the dumps was a player-only meeting held before Sunday's practice. Initiated by the seniors, the behind closed doors meeting was one that allowed several players to vent and talk about where they think this team stands heading into SEC play.

"We had a few people that stood up and got some things off their chests," Ingle said. "I think it was a really good thing to have. It showed on the field today. People had a little fire in their eyes today. Hopefully it will carry over to the game."

While the problems for the Tigers have been mostly on offense, Ingle singled out two defensive players as guys who took the reigns during Sunday's practice. Working with the first-team offense, he got an up close and personal look at both of them and said you could really tell how important this team is to them.

"I've known these guys for so long," Ingle said. "You know the Dontarrious Thomas' and the Karlos Dansby's. They don't want to go out like this. They don't want to end their senior seasons like this. You could tell coming out today they had renewed fire in their eyes. They need us. They need everyone to step up with their best. That's what we're going to do."

Getting things back on the right track is going to be a gradual process for the Tigers, but Ingle said he believes that began on Sunday. With a meeting to set the tone for the day, things went better than he ever believed they would after Saturday's loss.

"Today we had a really good practice," Ingle said. "Everybody's spirits were up today. Everybody went out there and kind of put everything that's happened the last two weeks behind them. I was really proud of how everybody stepped up today."

Auburn's only major injury coming out of the Georgia Tech game appears to be defensive end Jay Ratliff, who sprained his ankle and sat out of Sunday's practice. He should be ready for the trip to Nashville, but Coach Tommy Tuberville said they would get Doug Langenfeld some work behind Bret Eddins just in case he's needed.

The Tigers will take Monday off before returning to work Tuesday afternoon in preparation for the Vanderbilt Commodores. Kickoff for Saturday's game is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and can be seen on Jefferson Pilot.


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