Greene Working His Way Back For Tigers

Auburn senior A.J. Greene talks about his health, coming back, and being back on the left side.

Auburn, Ala.—One of the keys to Auburn's success in 2011 is going to be the play of the offensive line. Losing four veteran starters and a key reserve from the BCS National Champions, Coach Jeff Grimes will be looking to a few older players to carry the load this time around.

One of those is senior left tackle A.J. Greene. A 6-5, 308-pounder, Greene worked his way into the starting lineup last fall only to suffer a broken bone in his ankle against Clemson that sidelined him the rest of the season. Now trying to get himself ready to go this fall Greene said he's taking things slowly, but he feels like when fall camp opens in early August he'll be ready.

"The summer has been going pretty well," Greene said. "Of course, I'm a little behind as far as everybody else because of the injury, but I'm still catching up. I'm trying to do as much as I can to be in as good a shape as possible for camp.

"I'm not going to say I'm 100 percent, but I'll be ready to play," he added. "It was extremely important for me to go through spring because it had been so long since I had been out there with my guys in pads. It was a time I had been longing for since I got hurt. It was exciting and a big release off my shoulders that I could get out there."

Despite not being full speed, Greene practiced in the spring and worked mostly at left tackle, a position that was very familiar to him. After going down with his injury Greene was replaced by Brandon Mosley and the former tight end developed into a powerful blocker on the right side. Now with Greene back he's once again working on the left side to keep Mosley in his comfort zone.

"It's really comfortable for me," Greene said. "The spring before last I was behind Lee Ziemba so I was working at left tackle anyway. When I moved to the right that's when I learned the position. I've been more on the left side anyway so it's kind of like being back home."

A.J. Greene moved from defensive end to offensive tackle.

Although his starting experience lasted just three games, Greene said it was huge for him just to get a feel for what it means to be a part of that. Now with that out of the way and knowing what it takes to get there he said he's just focused on becoming a more complete player this fall for the Tigers.

"It's extremely big because now I know what to expect when I go out there," Greene said. "I know what is going to come. I understand the game a little bit better now that I've got some playing time.

"There are a lot of things that come with it that you can't get from practice," he noted. "Being out there and playing and going against competitors was big. I think I've come a long way since then. I'm ready to go back out there and do it again this season."

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