Lindsey Stepping Into Starting Role

Danny Lindsey was good as a true freshman, but look for an even better performance from the sophomore who is moving into a new position on the Auburn football team's offense.

Auburn, Ala.--As a true sophomore who is opening the season at a new position, by traditional standards Danny Lindsey is a very young offensive lineman.

However, on the 2002 Auburn football team young Mr. Lindsey is one of the more experienced members of the offensive line with one start under his belt and playing time as a backup center last fall to Ben Nowland. Lindsey's powerful legs, knowledge of the game and drive to be a success, both on and off the field, have served the sophomore honor student well.

Danny Lindsey came to Auburn as an early graduate in January 2001 from Coffee High in Douglas, Ga., where he was an All-State offensive lineman.

Offensive line coach Hugh Nall and offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino both say they are counting on Lindsey blossoming this fall at his new position, weakside guard. Lindsey, who has been one of the more impressive players on offense this preseason, says he is ready for the challenge.

"Playing center, a position where you make most of the calls (on blocking assignments), I think that helped me when I made the move to guard because I pretty much knew what to do there," says Lindsey.

As a freshman, Lindsey played in eight games and started at Vanderbilt when Nowland was out with a knee injury suffering at Syracuse. Lindsey showed his toughness by playing with a cracked bone in his foot and didn't tell the team medical staff during the season for fear they wouldn't let him play. After healing in the offseason, he performed well in spring drills, pushing Nowland at the center spot and being named the most improved offensive lineman in the spring.

Danny Lindsey (68) is one of the team's physically strongest players.

Over the summer he prepared for an impending move to guard because Nall and Petrino want to put their best five blockers into the starting lineup at the same time. Both Nowland and Lindsey are in that top five group and it didn't make sense to the coaches having Lindsey watching from the sideline behind a fifth-year senior. The move to guard has worked out well and Lindsey will start there on opening night.

If needed, the 6-2, 294-pounder can move back to center if Nowland is injured. In Sunday's practice, for the first time since spring training, Nall put the sophomore at center for part of a practice to refresh Lindsey on his assignments if he is needed at that position. Jeremy Ingle, a walk-on, is the number two player on the depth chart at center, but if Nowland was to go down with an injury Nall says that there is a good chance that Lindsey would move back to center on a full-time basis.

With the opener against Southern Cal just around the corner, Lindsey says the guards, tackles and centers are still working to get better. "The offensive line is trying to stay focused and not make any mistakes," he says. "If one man messes up, it is pretty much a busted play. We are working on everyone knowing what they are doing on every play."

A year ago, Lindsey was getting ready for his first collegiate game as a true freshman. "I think I am a little more confident now than I was last year because I have played a little bit," Lindsey says. "Guard is a different spot so I am learning stuff everyday. I think I am getting better somedays and somedays you take a step back, but coming into the game I am pretty confident. You have got to be to go out there and play."

Lindsey says he is looking forward to the major test on the West Coast vs. Southern Cal on Labor Day evening. It is the season opener for both teams. The trip to Los Angeles will be the first to California for the sophomore from Coffee High in Douglas, Ga., who says the game offers a major opportunity for the Tigers. "We want to come out in the first game and show who Auburn is going to be this year. I think opening against a team like USC is a great way to do it."

Auburn's defense looks like it is ready for prime time action, however, the coaching staff has expressed more concerns about the rebuilding offense and the line in particular. "To be successful on offense we need to play without making mistakes," Lindsey says. "If we keep the ball and don't turn it over we should be successful."

Tiger Ticket Extra: When asked for his assessment of starter Daniel Cobb as a quarterback, Lindsey says, "He is a strong leader out there. He gets everybody going. When we start dragging around, he tries to get everybody up. I think he is going to be pretty good."...Lindsey says he isn't sure whether he is a better center or a guard, but there is one thing that he is certain about, he says. "I just love being out there and having an opportunity to start and play."...Nall has called this his deepest and most athletically talented offensive line he has coached, but has expressed major concerns about the inexperience. Lindsey he thinks the OL has a lot of potential. "We can all run and we have good depth this year. I think that depth is really going to help us."


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