Mosley Changing Roles With 2011 Tigers

On a team that lost most of its starters, senior Brandon Mosley is looking to step up as one of the leaders of the 2011 Auburn football Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--At this time last year Brandon Mosley was worried about making sure he could handle a position change while trying to fit in with his new teammates on the Auburn football team.

This summer, as his Tigers prepare for preseason practice that starts in August, Mosley is the most game tested player on his team's offensive line after starting the final 11 contests of Auburn's 14-0 run to the 2010 national championship. Along the way, he earned praise from head coach Gene Chizik, offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and line coach Jeff Grimes for his steady improvement.

With 2010 seniors Lee Ziemba, Ryan Pugh, Mike Berry and Byron Isom gone, Mosley has started more games than the rest of the offensive linemen on the 2011 team combined.

"I am the one a lot of them look up to now and I try to help all of them, teach them new things and be a leader,' he says. "It is a new role from when I first got here."

That is an interesting concept considering that Mosley had never played a single down of football as an offensive tackle prior to 2010. In fact, the Jefferson, Ga., native, who transferred to Auburn from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, had never played a snap as an offensive lineman before coming to Auburn.

After playing tight end and defensive end in junior college, Mosley admits he was surprised by the progress he made last year, but says it "was rough, too" after he arrived at Auburn in January after graduating in December from junior college.

"My first spring I really didn't have any technique to tell you the truth," he says. "Coach Grimes did a great job of teaching me a lot, teaching me everything he knows. I have become a lot better."

Since he arrived at Auburn on Chizik's staff for the 2009 season, Grimes has been steadily praised by the players he coaches. Asked what makes Grimes a good coach, Mosley replies, "If you need help he will spend time with you. After practice he will stay with you as long as it takes to teach you everything you need to know.

"He won't leave until you know it, no matter how late it gets," Mosley adds. "You can be the last ones on the field and he will stay after it."

Brandon Mosley is shown during his second and final spring practice at Auburn.

Mosley started at right tackle last season. In the spring he got some work at left tackle, but finished spring training back atop the depth chart at right tackle.

"I have talked with Brandon about which position he is going to play," Grimes says. "We are a little bit more of a right-handed running team and he gives us a real strength in the running game on the right side.

"At the same time, if it works out that he is our best pass blocker and we need him on the left side, we can move him over there because he has played left tackle before," the coach adds.

Grimes notes that he likes the senior's aggressiveness and physical style of play, something that helped him make the transition to his new position last year.

Grimes could have as many as three seniors starting on his rebuilt offensive line this fall. Senior A.J. Greene, who opened the 2010 season as the starting right tackle, is a good possibility to line up as the No. 1 left tackle for the opener this year after recovering from a season-ending injury in last year's Clemson game. Jared Cooper, a fifth-year senior, is likely to start at one of the guard spots.

"I think we have good potential," Mosley says of Auburn's new-look offensive line. "We are not as experienced as last year, but we still have some old guys in A.J. and Coop, and John Sullen, too. I feel like this bunch is eager to learn. They want to be better than last year's.

"There is something about them," Mosley adds. "There is a fight in all of them it seems like. They are all eager to get better and strong, and just play. Everyone is wanting to play."

Mosley notes the Tigers have not been resting on their 2010 accomplishments since defeating Oregon for the BCS Championship. "We really don't get an offseason to tell you the truth," he says. "We are enjoying it though. We are just working these young guys out and trying to get better for the season. We have a lot of positions to replace."

When it is time to replace Mosley in 2012, he hopes he will be playing football in the NFL. "That is what I have always dreamed about doing," says the big tackle, who played a variety of positions in high school, including linebacker. "I want to play at the next level so that would be cool. That is what I am working for."

On the subject of working, he says the 2011 Tigers are doing that this summer to make sure they outperform the preseason predictions that this will be a major rebuilding season for Auburn. He notes the offensive line is doing its part. "Our weight loss guys are all losing weight and our weight gain guys are all gaining weight," he says. "It seems like everybody is all in."

Despite losing eight starters on offense, Mosley has high expectations after the Tigers averaged 41.2 points per game last season.

"I think it (the potential) is good, just like the offensive line," he says. "All of the young guys are wanting to play, there are a lot of spots to be filled and everybody knows it. Everybody is just wanting to play and start. Everybody is hungry to get better and stronger.

"There are a lot of freshmen ready to come in and play, too, so that is cool," he adds. "It pushes everybody."

An imposing figure at six-foot-six, 305 pounds, Mosley has high expectations for his final season of college football. "I would like to start again and I would like to make all-conference," he says. "I really want to be a leader on the team and be someone for these young guys to look up to and learn a lot from."

He notes the older guys have already starting teaching the freshmen the plays and other things they will need to know when practice starts in August as the 2011 team prepares to take on a demanding schedule that begins with a Sept. 3rd home opener vs. Utah State.

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