After learning the tailback position last year, senior Bruce Hall was about as excited as he could be coming into the 2007 season.
He was looking forward to the 1-2 punch he and fellow senior BenJarvus Green-Ellis would give the Ole Miss backfield.
But all of that was briefly sidetracked with an injury early in the season.
"I knew Ben would be the workhorse, but I also knew what I could bring to the table," Bruce said. "I finally got confident last year in being a tailback and I knew this would be a big year for the tailback position because I could provide a fresh set of legs when Ben got tired. I could come in and, hopefully, we wouldn't miss a beat."
Bruce's frustration level while the injury to his shoulder lingered grew.
"It was tough on me because being a senior you want to enjoy everything you can on your last go-around," he explained. "It's no fun being on the sidelines not being able to help your team. I was very frustrated."
Now, he's well. The injury is gone and he's ready to contribute more after spot duty against Florida and Georgia.
"I'm ready to produce more. I want to help all I can on special teams and when my number is called at tailback I want to perform for my team," Bruce noted. "I believe I can help us win in any way the coaches want me to."
Bruce says he can tell he's a better back than he was a year ago.
"I'm seeing things a lot better. I know what to expect in most situations. I can anticipate things quicker," he added. "I know I am a better back, but it was hard to prove when I was injured."
Hall has no illusions he's going to replace BenJarvus, but he does feel he can help him carry the load more and more.
"The more I can help him, the fresher he can stay and the more we both can be more effective," he commented. "Against Georgia, he got two teeth knocked out and had to get his lip stitched at halftime. I think I took up the slack until he could return and when he needed a rest.
"It's a long season and even as tough as Ben is, he needs a break now and then. That's where I have to come in and produce. Now that I'm healthy, I have confidence I can do that."
The running game has been a bit up and down this season, but Hall feels it's about to turn the corner and become more consistent.
"On film, you can see the zone blocking starting to develop better and better and the backs are getting used to it. We still run a lot of power stuff too, which is also starting to click better in practice. There's no reason we can't become more consistent in the run game," he closed. "We are all working toward that goal, for sure.
"We haven't started winning yet, but we still have our confidence. We just have to put it all together and get it done. It will take all of us, but we feel, inside the team, that we are moving in that direction."
Bruce Hall -
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