Last Chance for Leon

Senior Leon Hart is looking to show offensive line coach Hugh Nall he is ready to take over a starting spot for the Auburn football team.

Auburn, Ala.--As Auburn heads into its annual spring football game on Saturday, senior Leon Hart looks like a strong candidate to finish number one on the depth chart at right guard.

At Wednesday's practice, Hart also saw playing time in the 11 on 11 work at center where junior Jason Bosley is running first team ahead of redshirt freshman Mike Berry.

"Coach (Hugh) Nall wants me to give depth to certain positions," Hart says. "I've already played tackle and guard. This was my second time playing center. I got in at center and it went good. It went a lot smoother than the first time I played center my sophomore year."

Leon Hart (72) prepares to snap the ball in Wednesday's practice.

Head coach Tommy Tuberville says don't look to see Hart lining up at center when the Tigers take the field against Kansas State to open the 2007 season.

"As you know, you can't have too many centers so Hugh moved him over to give him some work at center and I though Leon did a good job," Tuberville says. "I think we only had one fumbled snap when he was in there and that was the last play."

Hart says he is willing to play center, but is expecting to be a guard for his final season. "It's really up to Coach Nall and what he wants to do. Right now, I've got my starting position at right guard and that's where I plan on staying unless Coach Nall wants me at center."

Also in Wednesday's work, Berry got some work at guard. "As of right now I'm still at right guard and Mike Berry is still at center," Hart says. "Coach Nall is wanting us to work at both positions. He told me that he put me at center because he wants extra depth at the position just in case."

After backing up 2006 senior Tim Duckworth, this is Hart's last chance to become a starter and he says he plans to make sure he is in the lineup every week. "I have been coming out to practice and trying to get better every day," the senior says. "I really do feel like I need to have a sense of urgency."

Hart is shown in action in last Saturday's scrimmage.

After Wednesday's practice, the 12th of 15 this spring, Tuberville noted that he believes the offensive line is showing signs of improvement. Hart agrees.

"I think we've done a lot better as a unit," the senior says. "The first day in practice we didn't really look like a unit and it was real sloppy. We've bonded a lot more and we're still trying to get there. We're not completely there playing as one unit on the O-line, but we've gotten better from where we were."

Nall says a key to the group's success with four starters to replace is finding five linemen who work well together and play with "good chemistry." Hart says, "Basically that means making the right checks, being accountable and being able to trust the person next to you that he is going to do what he's got to do. It's just like having a bond."

Hart and the Tigers will return to practice at 4 p.m. on Friday and will take the field at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium for the A-Day Game.


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