At 6-10, 350 pounds, junior Rebel RG Matt Hall is, well, an imposing figure. After sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, he's ready to impose his will, and massive body, on the opposition this fall.

Matt Hall filled up the doorway entering the interview room in the Ole Miss Indoor Practice Facility after a sled-pushing, exhaustive workout.

Wearing a pair of jeans, cowboy boots and a sleeveless t-shirt, the junior right guard is an impressive, imposing figure. Huge, but surprisingly lean with thick legs and a chiseled upper body.

Picture former Rebel Todd Wade, but nearly three inches taller and 25 pounds heavier.

If it weren't for Terrell Brown, another gigantic Rebel offensive lineman, Hall would easily claim title to "largest Rebel player" when you combine height and weight for the whole package.

Whereas Brown still has some extra baggage he's trying to shed (Terrell is 375 pounds, shooting for 360 by summer's end), Hall has virtually no visible body fat.

Bottom line, he's a big man who has worked hard to develop his God-given genetic assets.

Matt Hall
Chuck Rounsaville
"I've put on about 10 pounds of muscle in the offseason. We've been working hard and it's paying off," said Hall. "I am now 6-10, 350 and I feel good moving around. I'm stronger too."

Rehashing Hall's journey to late June of 2011 would be overkill. Every Ole Miss fan knows the story of him transferring out of Arkansas last year and having to sit out the 2010 season due to transfer rules.

Where his story starts getting a little more interesting and fresh, and pertinent to the 2011 season, is midway through last spring training, when Offensive Line Coach Mike Markuson opted to move Hall from right tackle, where rising junior Bobby Massie had a stranglehold, to right guard, where Markuson was seaching for the right fit.

"Moving to guard was a change. It took me some time to get used to it during spring ball," Hall said. "I have grown to like it. I like the way the guards are in our system.

"The different steps and movements have been the biggest challenge. I'm working on the quickness needed for the position. I know I'm strong enough to play there. The technique and speed aspects are what I am adjusting to. I've pulled as a tackle before, so I know how to do that, but at guard you have to be tighter to the line. It's been a challenge, but I got better during spring. I just have to keep improving."

Some feel Hall's height is a detriment to playing guard and he does not refute that, but he does feel he can overcome that stigma.

"You don't see many 6-10 guards, but I've done enough drills at staying low and keeping my pad level low that I don't think it will be a problem," Hall assessed. "Usually, guards are shorter, but this is what it is."

Hall has not commanded a starting position since he was in high school. Obviously, his excitement level as the season approaches is high.

"I can't wait. Being in the background is tough while you sit out. I haven't really played much since high school," he said, "but I am so happy I am here. I am so grateful to Coach (Houston) Nutt for giving me this opportunity. I love being here and I love all the guys. It was a perfect move to me and I am very anxious to get going."

"It was tough sitting out last year, but I was determined to help the defense better while I improved myself on the scout team. I was happy to do that, but it was not easy."

During the sit-out season, with the Rebels losing, Hall said he had a helpless feeling.

Matt Hall
Chuck Rounsaville
"All we could do was to try to make the guys who were playing feel better and try to help them get better in practice. It was a helpless feeling, but we just had to focus on the future and get ourselves better for that," he explained.

The past is the past, no turning back now, and Hall is ready to do his part to get the Rebs back on the right track. He expects to be the starting right guard when the season opens against BYU.

"I've put in my time and hard work. I expect to win the job. I have worked hard to earn the starting job and I can't wait to be a part of this OL - we are going to have a good offensive line," he continued. "We've put in the effort in the hardest offseason I have ever been a part of. We are working hard to be good.

"We're not getting a lot of respect right now, but every day we are coming into that weight room knowing our backs are against the wall and knowing what we do now will pay off later. We've got a really good shot of being a good, solid team and that's our goal."

Doing is harder than saying, but Hall says the Rebs - as a whole - are backing it up with effort in the offseason.

"The morale is very good and everyone is working so hard to get ready. We have been busting our butts and everyone has done a real good job to this point," he added.

Hall knows the OL will have some of the highest expectations on the team, but he says the trench men are ready for it.

"We know we will be counted on. We know we will be the focal point of the offense until some wide receivers and a new quarterback come around," he closed. "We are ready to take the load and do more than our part to get us back going in the right direction."

With that, Hall unfolded from the chair in the team meeting room and dwarfed the media hanging on his every word.


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