Famous Relative Advising AU Football Newcomer

Spring football practice is an opportunity for this Tiger to make a name for himself with the Auburn coaching staff.

Auburn, Ala.--After transferring to Auburn and sitting out the 2002 season as a redshirt, junior offensive lineman Thomas Anderson realizes this is the time for him to step up and make a name for himself with the Auburn coaching staff.

A six-foot-seven, 320-pounder from Bessemer, Ala., Anderson is receiving plenty of attention this spring from offensive coordinator and line coach Hugh Nall. Anderson got a pat on the back and a well done from Nall for a good job in the one-on-one work at Auburn's Wednesday football practice. On Saturday, Anderson's performance at guard in a 150-play scrimmage will be closely scrutinized.

"I am trying to get better on my footwork with my pass set," Anderson tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I am trying to make sure that when I make contact on my blocks I stay with my man. This is a good opportunity for me this spring. I am trying to go out there and make big plays. Right now I am second string (behind Monreko Crittenden). I am trying to work hard and compete for a starting job."

Anderson is a transfer from Butler County Community College in Kansas, where he played offensive tackle. He was also an offensive tackle at Jess Lanier High, but says playing guard is just fine with him. "I like playing guard because you don't have to cover much ground. In high school, I was a pulling tackle. They ran most of the plays behind me because I could come off the ball and I was never scared to hit somebody."

As a guard this spring, he is concentrating on several different assignments. "Picking up blitzes and making sure I stay focused and picking up the (blocking assignment) calls are the hardest things about playing guard," he says. Although he is taller than most guards, he says that the position feels comfortable. "I feel good about my quickness at 320," he says.

Anderson is shown watching practice last August while awaiting on his paperwork to get processed after transferring to Auburn from Butler County Community College.

Anderson says he believes he has made a smooth adjustment to college football. He took advantage of his redshirt year on the scout team and offseason to grow stronger and improve his conditioning. "Working out with Coach Yox (Kevin Yoxall) after coming in as a junior college transfer has helped me a lot," he says. "It has helped me stay focused."

He also says that he was prepared for the demands of the Auburn program, which requires a year-around commitment to football. "Nothing has surprised me because my uncle (Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson) let me know from the get-go that nothing was going to come easy. He told me that whatever you do, you have to work for it. Nobody is going to give it to you.

"I already had it in my mind when I got here that just because my uncle is Bo Jackson didn't mean that I didn't have to really work. He calls me every once in a while and makes sure that I am staying on my books and working hard on the practice field."

Head coach Tommy Tuberville has been watching the big guard. "Thomas is doing good," Tuberville says. "Pass protection is what is hardest to learn for any young guy, but he is learning mentally what to do. He has had a chance to get a lot of good reps with Monreko having a hurt hand in that scrimmage last week. He didn't do great mentally, but his effort was outstanding. As long as he keeps that effort he will be fine.

"He is like a freshman playing. It is not very often that a freshman gets to step in and start in a scrimmage in the spring. He did some good things. He has got a chance to be pretty good. He just has to work on his pass protection."

Anderson and his teammates will scrimmage on Saturday at 10 a.m. inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers had their first spring scrimmage last weekend. "The previous Saturday I was kind of nervous and I didn't do too good," Anderson says. "This Saturday I know what to expect. I made a lot of mistakes so I have to redeem myself this Saturday."

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