September 25, 2007

Three freshmen OL energize AU's offense

Auburn's offensive line received a serious overhaul last week when coach Hugh Nall inserted two more true freshmen in the starting lineup. Ryan Pugh and Chaz Ramsey joined Lee Ziemba as starters against New Mexico State, giving AU three true freshmen on the offensive front.

By most accounts, the change was a success.

Auburn rushed for a season-high 229 yards against the Aggies with both Ben Tate and Mario Fannin eclipsing the 100-yard mark. The Tigers allowed just one sack after giving up a total of nine in the first three games.

"I like what I saw," said Nall. "I told them, we've got to grow up each week a little bit more. We'll chip a little bit of yellow paint off each week, and let's go."

Ziemba won the starting right tackle job in the preseason but Pugh and Ramsey were scheduled to redshirt until AU dropped its SEC opener to Mississippi State.

It was then that Nall knew AU's offensive line needed an extra dose of toughness and intensity. Pugh and Ramsey were elevated to first-team for last week's practice. But it was done under a veil of secrecy.

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