Nall: O-Line Not Consistent Enough

Auburn's Hugh Nall talks about the play of the offensive line against Ole Miss and his thoughts for the coming week.

Auburn, Ala.--It was a game of good, but not quite good enough for the Auburn offense vs. Ole Miss last Saturday night as the Tigers pounded out over 230 rushing yards, but managed just 17 points in the victory. Offensive line Coach Hugh Nall says that overall his unit played well, but not up to its standards from previous weeks.

"I thought we played hard," Nall says. "I thought we looked a little sluggish, a little fatigued-looking. I didn't think we were sharp with our pad level and our get-off, some fundamental things like that. I thought we had been doing a lot better during the LSU game and Arkansas game. I thought they played hard and did some good things, but once again we just weren't consistent enough. That resulted in us not scoring enough points."

Playing for the eighth consecutive week, there is little doubt that Auburn was a tired football team as it hit the field against the Rebels. Nall says it wasn't even as much about the games, but the fact that late starts at Florida, Arkansas and LSU made for even longer weeks for the team.

"You've got to take everything into consideration," Nall says. "You're looking at a team that had been late night, four in the morning get back games, we've had three of those. It has been a grind. Take all that into consideration. I have challenged them to make sure they're getting plenty of rest and their legs back under them. We have to go back out there and correct the mistakes we made and get ready for this November stretch starting this week."

Just like at the linebacker position, injuries have hit the offensive line hard this season. Starting left tackle Ryan Pugh went down against Arkansas with a knee injury and missed the LSU game because of it. Replaced by senior King Dunlap, the starter to open the year, Pugh was forced back into action for two series on Saturday when Dunlap got hit in the back and suffered back spasms. Pugh will likely watch this week's Homecoming game from the sidelines.

Another player who has been banged up this season is junior center Jason Bosley. Banged up against Vanderbilt and bothered by a sprained knee, Bosley hasn't missed a game. Nall says on Saturday that Bosley played his usual tough game, but didn't have the outing he was hoping for out of his leader up front.

"I thought he played well and played hard," Nall says of Bosley. "I thought we played too high. I thought we didn't finish well enough at the second level blocking linebackers. It just wasn't quite what it needs to be."

Another injured player getting back into action on Saturday was senior guard Leon Hart. Injuring a shoulder against Mississippi State, Hart lost his starting job to true freshman Chaz Ramsey. Now back closer to full speed, Nall says Hart got a few snaps in against Ole Miss, but has a long way to go if he hopes to become a challenger for consistent playing time down the road.

"We're just trying to work him back in and see how he's going to do so we can get him evaluated," Nall says. "He's got some work to do. He's got some rust to get off."

With several young players such as Bart Eddins, Mike Berry, Byron Isom and Andrew McCain that would benefit greatly from extended playing time, there is a distinct possibility you could see many of them early and often this week against outmanned Tennessee Tech. Nall says while he's hoping to get them on the field, the first order of business is to play well and win the game.

"Number one we want to go out there and execute as an offense," Nall says. "We're planning on going with the ones and playing those guys and see how the game goes. Sure we would love to do that every week. I was hoping to do that at Florida, but it didn't work out that way."

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