Hall Nearing Full Speed, Aiming For Big Year

Veteran defensive tackle Marque Hall appeared primed for a breakout season in 2006 before tearing his ACL in the week two match up against Georgia, but he has rehabbed well and is nearing full speed with fall practice now underway. Read inside for Hall's comments on the upcoming season, what he expects from this year's defensive line, what game he has circled on his calender and much, much more.

GamecockAnthem.com spoke with Marque Hall at South Carolina's annual football media day on Sunday afternoon, and he shared his thoughts on the upcoming season:

Question: I know you had a fantastic offseason leading up to last season, but you had that knee injury early in the year. How are you progressing right now from that?

Answer: Right now I'm almost at 100-percent. I'm moving better. I'm working hard to get my knee to full speed. Everything's good.

Question: You've got a lot more talent playing alongside you on the D-line this year, so what are your overall impressions of the defensive line?

Answer: The defensive line is a great group of guys. They work very hard and are very technique-sound. They'll be a big asset this year.

Question: Brad Lawing's going into his second year here now as the D-line coach. What's it like working under him?

Answer: Coach Lawing knows what he's talking about. He never leads us wrong. I just follow what he says and like working under him.

Question: It looks like you guys could have some pretty heated position battles on the interior defensive line this year. What's it like having that new level of competition in there?

Answer: Competition always makes you step up your game, but in the end we're all a team. We've just got to come together and play. We always rotate d-linemen, so we'll be okay no matter who starts.

Question: Do you view yourself as the leader of that group now that you're a redshirt junior?

Answer: Not so much as a leader, but as an experienced player. I've been through it already, and I know what to do and what not to do. I tell the younger guys how to stay out of trouble and to go to class. I just lead and hope they follow.

Question: You were off to a pretty strong start last year before the injury. What do you think you can add to the defensive line this year and show that they missed last season?

Answer: Hopefully I've got a little step since last year. I'm a little bit leaner than last year, but I'm more technique-sound, so hopefully I'll be even better than last year.

Question: What are your thoughts on some of the new guys on the defensive line this year?

Answer: Ladi (Ajiboye) has a great first step. He's a great kid, and he's going to do very good things here. Travian (Robertson), he's from North Carolina around my way. He's a starter right now (With Jordin Lindsey suspended), and he came in and did very good during the spring. It's a pleasure to have him here. Cliff Matthews plays every play full speed. I've been saying since (the first practice), all he has to do is learn, and he's going to do very well also.

Question: What's it like going head to head now with your buddy Lemuel Jeanpierre on the offensive line?

Answer: Yeah, it's very different, because I miss him beside me. We always talked about learning plays together, but he's got to do what he's got to do to play and to help the team. So I'm going to try and make him better, and he's going to try to make me better.

Question: What kind of personal goals have you set for the 2007 season?

Answer: Stay healthy.

Question: Is there a certain game that you're looking forward to on this year's schedule?

Answer: Chapel Hill.

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