Eric Hall: I Am 'SAM'

Eric Hall two years ago as a redshirt freshman LB

So how did junior <B>Eric Hall</B> displace heir apparent <B>Garnet Smith </B>for the starting nod at SAM linebacker for Saturday's home opener against North Texas? He did it the old fashioned away, according to <B>Greg Robinson</B>. He <I>earrrrned</I> it.

"Eric brought more to the table than the rest of them," Robinson said, particularly in pass coverage skills.

Smith opened the 2003 season as starting MLB but suffered a year-ending ankle injury before halftime. Although Smith was granted a medical hardship season, head coach Mack Brown said the injury represented the biggest personnel loss of 2003. Brown said both Smith and Hall will see plenty of action Saturday and could almost be listed as co-starters.

Hall, meanwhile, has traveled so extensively between positions during his four-tenure that he almost needs a passport. Consider this: he worked primarily at MLB during his RS-freshman season but also took snaps at end. He began spring 2003 at DE before switching to FB and then to RB. He spent this past spring back at DE but former SLB Eric Foreman's decision to play QB prompted Hall's move back to SAM linebacker. It's all par for the course considering Hall played QB, DE, SS, linebacker and punted during his prep school days at Clarksville, Tennessee. Hall has finally found his niche at SLB, Brown said during pre-season camp. Robinson concurs.

"It was around the second or third day of camp that he began to stand out," Robinson said. "We said, 'Son of a gun, that guy's got some skills.'"

It helped that Hall knocked about 20 pounds off of his 6-2 frame and now weighs in at 245, Robinson said.

"He's not the finished product," Robinson said, "but he took to the things that we asked him to do, and he did it very well. He earned it."

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