Auburn, Ala.--The first week of bowl practices are always a time of change and excitement for the Auburn Tigers as they begin to implement the gameplan for the upcoming game but also give the young players an early start on spring practice with extra work each day. That has been the case this year as the Tigers have used the last 30 minutes of each practice to work the redshirts and young players. One of the guys that has used the time to his advantage is Bart Eddins.
One of Auburn's highest-rated recruits coming out of Trinity in Montgomery, Eddins was one of the top defensive line prospects in the country. While he performed well on the scout team this fall Eddins made the move to the offensive line less than a week ago and he says that he's excited about the move and hopes it works out well for him and the team.
"It has definitely been an adjustment," Eddins says. "I have never played the offensive line ever. I played fullback in high school and that's pretty much the only offensive experience I have. I thought the coaches would jump on my tail a few times but they have been real supportive and kind of slow with the process, walking me though it and helping me. Actually it's really different than I thought it would be. I thought ‘it's just the line and you fire off and hit somebody'. I guess at this level it's two different worlds from what I thought."
Not knowing what his future held for him, Eddins practiced hard on the scout team at defensive tackle while all the while wondering if he would make the move to offense. He says when he first started hearing the whispers of a move he wasn't thrilled but now he couldn't be happier.
"The attitude I had is that I actually was really excited," Eddins says. "The time I got bummed out or disappointed was when I was doing scout team defense and the coaches joked that I was going to get moved. I was like ‘I don't want to go over there. I hate offensive people. I have grown up defense. It's like Auburn-Alabama to me. I don't like offensive linemen' but Coach Nall and I kind of talked about how so many people were leaving. He said he saw me being a great guard or center."
Another player that could make a position move is Michael Goggans, who could see action at defensive end in the spring.
Starting at tackle the first few days Eddins moved inside to guard on Wednesday and says that's likely where he'll stay for the time being once sophomore Andrew McCain gets back on the field after an illness kept him out of practice. Eddins says that no matter if the move to offense sticks or not he'll keep working to be the best player he can be.
"He (Nall) said that it's most likely going to be guard or center," Eddins says. "Right now I really don't have a preference or a spot. I'm just trying to bust my butt so I can get playing time next year."
Coach Tommy Tuberville rides a small dune buggy to the stadium for Wednesday's practice.
While Eddins and the young guys continue to get a jump on spring practice the veterans worked on the plans for Nebraska with a two-hour practice in full pads inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. Coach Tommy Tuberville says the guys continue to work hard with just one more on campus practice before the team breaks for Christmas.
"It was a good practice," Tuberville says. "We didn't do any special teams today because we've got several guys sick with the flu bug. We've also got several guys beat up. We had a good practice. It was a physical practice. We continue to work on Nebraska. We've finished up about 50 percent of our gameplan and we'll continue that more when we get to Dallas."
Among the players out with the flu were Tristan Davis, Andrew McCain, John Vaughn, Patrick Martyn and Tuberville says there were three or four more out. On the injury front Marquies Gunn returned to the practice field while several other players were banged up. Tuberville says everyone should be ready to go when the team meets again in Dallas but the week has been a physical one for the team.
"We got a few more (beat up) today but everybody will be fine," Tuberville says. "This has been a tough spring practice. This was spring practice A. We'll start spring practice B the first of March."
The Tigers will practice earlier on Thursday so the players can get a head start on the road to go home for Christmas break. Tuberville says they hope to have the players on the road no later than 11 a.m. The team will meet again on Dec. 26 in Dallas with practices resuming on the 27th.