Ziemba Discusses Move Up Depth Chart

Freshman offensive lineman is the latest Tiger to get a shot at the No. 1 right tackle spot.

Auburn, Ala.--Eight days into preseason football practice, who's number one at right offensive tackle has been an ever-changing situation. On Thursday, it changed again with a new face at the top of the depth chart.

Lee Ziemba, the high school All-American from Rogers, Ark., High, took the reps with the number one unit. Previously this year, Antwoin Daniels, Andrew McCain, Mike Berry and Oscar Gonzalez have lined up at first team right tackle. Offensive line coach Hugh Nall has even experimented with left tackle returning starter, King Dunlap, at the position.

"He did some good things, he really did," Nall said when talking about Ziemba after Wednesday's practice. "Once again, fundamentals are something he's way behind with. A lot of it is overcoming the fatigue factor, not bending like he should. When you don't bend in offensive line play, then you've got problems.

"For the most part he knows what to do," Nall says. "It's still a matter of catching up to the speed of the game and the technique you need to catch up to that speed."

Commenting on the big picture at offensive tackle, Nall says, "I have tried each one of them and I haven't been happy with what I've seen. We did a lot of drills (Tuesday) to evaluate not just assignments, but where I thought talent was and where I thought the guy could improve the most.

"It's all about tempo and it's all about attitude," the line coach says. "I wanted to see how guys handle some adversity. That's part of it, too. When you get beat in the game, how are you going to handle it? Nothing is set in stone yet. I'm trying to work a lot of angles here to get ready for the season. I don't know who our starting five is yet."

Ziemba notes that he is a work in progress and that he is still trying to pick up all of his assignments. "I have got a lot to learn," says the freshman, who admits he was not expecting to see his name at the top of the depth chart on Wednesday.

"I was surprised, but it made me want to come out here and do good and I came out here and tried to keep up, learn the plays and get after somebody," Ziemba says.

Head coach Tommy Tuberville said on Monday that All-American candidate, defensive end Quentin Groves, has been given the assignment of testing all of the right tackle candidates.

After Wednesday's practice, Groves noted he was surprised to see the rookie running first team. "He's good, he's further along than I thought he would be by now. I went against him twice today. I beat him one time and he held his ground one time. I think he is going to be a great offensive lineman before he leaves Auburn."

Lee Ziemba (73) works at blocking Quentin Groves in a one-on-one drill.

Ziemba isn't predicting he will stay No. 1 on the depth chart, but he says he plans to fight to hold his spot. "I am going to try my best," he says. "I am going to do whatever I need to do for the team and if that means coming out here and doing my best and if that puts me in a starting job, that's where I need to be."

Ziemba adds, "I am not really worried about the job. It is more about just making me the best player I can be, coming out here every day and working my hardest and doing everything Coach Nall tells me to do. I know that if I do that, I will be the best I can be and whatever happens from there, happens, and this team will be better for it."

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