Berry Happy To Be Back At Tackle

Sophomore Mike Berry talks about the move back to tackle this week and how the transition has gone.

Auburn, Ala.--On Thursday redshirt sophomore Mike Berry got some work at fullback on offense for the Tigers in a short yardage set, but Berry's first responsibility remains on the offensive line where he is currently working at right tackle along with junior Andrew McCain.

One of Auburn's most impressive freshmen when he arrived on campus two years ago, Berry worked mostly at tackle his first year and was very close to getting on the field before finally taking a redshirt. Last season he was moved inside to work at both center and guard, starting the first three games at right guard, before giving way to Chaz Ramsey.

This spring Berry again started out at right guard, but on Tuesday made the switch to right tackle. With Ryan Pugh expected to be the backup center, Coach Hugh Nall wanted him to get some time at the position this spring. That meant Berry could move back outside to tackle, a position he said is his favorite.

"I like it a lot," Berry says. "I haven't been able to work at it since my freshman year so it felt good. I feel the most comfortable out there."

While it's not apparent whether or not the move will be a permanent one, Berry notes that if he has his way he'll be a tackle from now on for the Tigers.

"Hopefully, Coach Nall will think so," Berry says. "If he does that's where I'm going to be. I probably like it more than center."

Up to 315 pounds and taller than when he arrived at Auburn, Berry looks right at home at tackle despite not having played the position in over a year. He points out that his time spent at center has helped him become a better player in terms of his knowledge of the offense and his responsibilities on certain plays.

"Of course, especially on pass plays," Berry says. "I know the center's call before he makes it. I automatically know what to do."

Perhaps the biggest adjustment for Berry since moving back to tackle has been getting used to Coach Tony Franklin's system and playing in a two-point stance the entire time. He added the only other change is getting used to the tempo, but that it doesn't change no matter the position.

"Coming out of the two-point (stance) is probably the biggest difference," Berry notes. "Especially on run plays not having your hand down is the only difference really. That and the tempo. That's about it."

Looking for a permanent answer at right tackle that would allow Pugh to concentrate on playing center, Nall has tried several different players since last August without much to show for it. This spring McCain has been given a chance to step forward, but with Berry's talent it wouldn't be surprising to see him rise to the top before the spring is completed.

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