ORONO — Doug Nash is used to seeing intimidated football players. As a massive, dominant two-way lineman at Leavitt, he was often the intimidator.

Nash admits he has been intimidated, too, especially after walking on at the University of Maine as a freshman.

If he didn’t remember what the 2009 preseason felt like, the scared looks he’s witnessing from this year’s newcomers serve as frequent reminders.

“I look in the freshmen’s eyes this year and I think, ‘Oh man, I felt like that last year, too,'” he said. “It’s definitely nice coming in knowing what’s going to happen and not having to learn everything on the fly.”

Nash still has a lot to learn, even more than a typical redshirt freshman.  After spending his redshirt year on the defensive line, first as a defensive end then a nose tackle, he has switched to right tackle on the offensive line.

Maine coach Jack Cosgrove said the 6-foot-5, 290-pound Nash is more suited for the offensive side of the ball.

“Athletically, we felt like he either needed to cut weight and lean himself down (to play defensive line) or naturally grow and build himself up. We felt like the latter was better than the former,” Cosgrove said. “We think he can be good there. We really do.”

Nash played right tackle at Leavitt, and agrees that it is a more natural fit.

“I think it’s definitely a better fit for me,” Nash said. “The technique that we use on the offensive line is coming a little bit easier than it was on the defensive line for me. Personally, I’m having a better time over there. Nothing against the D-line. I had a great time there last year. But the O-line, I loved it there in high school.”

He learned about the switch in the spring, but he wasn’t able to see how much he remembered about playing tackle because a virus forced him out of the team’s annual spring scrimmage.

Once he felt better, the Turner native started working on improving his speed and explosiveness off the line.

Playing on the offensive line also means more homework for the chemical engineering major.

“I flip through the playbook and kind of think to myself ‘Boy, I’ve got a lot to learn,'” he said. “There’s definitely a lot more to know, a lot more plays and concepts and techniques. Hopefully, as the season goes on, I’ll pick it up.”

Nash has a number of mentors helping him pick it up, including junior guard Steve Shea, who was a walk-on from Nokomis High School who worked his way into the starting lineup by his sophomore year.

Cosgrove believes Nash, who is one of four redshirt freshman on the offensive line, will learn the offense and ultimately make his mark at Maine, too.

“He’s a good kid, a hard worker and everybody on the team respects him,” he said. “He will end up helping us win football games here if he stays on the path he’s on.”

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