Isom Gets A Look With First Team

Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Byron Isom talks about his adjustment to offense and his work with the first team on Wednesday.

Auburn, Ala.--Coming into preseason practice, offensive line Coach Hugh Nall was looking for a right tackle first and foremost but insisted that all five offensive line positions were still up for grabs.

On Wednesday he made that very clear as not only did true freshman Lee Ziemba work with the first team at right tackle, redshirt freshmen Byron Isom and Mike Berry got in some time at guard as well.

While the projected starters at guard, Tyronne Green and Leon Hart, haven't performed terribly to this point, Nall is looking for his best five linemen. Because the search is ongoing, he says he decided to give Isom and Berry a look and was pleased with what he saw.

"I thought they did some good things," Nall says. "They got a lot more reps with the ones today. I thought they did some good things. Both of them are going to be really good players."

Isom works against Bryant Miller at a recent practice.

A physical player who looks similar to Ben Grubbs when he was in his second year on the offensive line in terms of his physical traits, Isom says that Wednesday's practice went well for him and he's happy to be getting a shot to show what he can do.

"It was pretty good," Isom says. "I'm really settling into the position. I'm feeling comfortable with all the players. I really felt good about the practice. I feel a lot better about what I'm doing. I was real aggressive out there and coming from defense I had to learn to be patient. I think I'm settling in now."

A defensive lineman when he arrived at Auburn, much the same as Grubbs, Timmy Duckworth and Tyronne Green, Isom says he's finally settled in to being an offensive lineman after learning on the run last year. He says one thing that helped him tremendously was the ability to learn from two of the best to play at Auburn during the Tommy Tuberville era.

"It was a big learning process for me," Isom says. "You had two of the best guards in the nation to watch. Ben taught me a lot. He taught me to sit back. Duck was the aggressor. Both of them came over from the defensive line and they both talked to me. They told me I just had to relax and take it all in."

The Lovejoy, Ga., High native has done just that as he has taken his time and matured as an offensive lineman while also working to improve his overall strength. A powerful player who is strong in the running game, Isom says he has continued to work on his pass sets as he tries to push his way into a starting role for the Tigers this fall.

"Really coming into this fall it was my pass blocking," Isom says. "I'm getting a lot better about being patient and giving my lockout punch. If I can get that down my feet are improving and everything is coming along good.

"My goal is pretty much to take it day by day," he adds. "I'm right behind Tyronne. He's doing good but I want to keep pushing him and pushing him. Whatever happens, happens."

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