Tough Guy Prosch Setting The Tone On Offense

Auburn fullback Jay Prosch has earned the respect of his coaches and teammates for his play this season.

Auburn, Ala.--When you're running the football as well as the No. 7 ranked Auburn Tigers are right now then a lot of things have to be working in harmony.

It starts with the offensive line and obviously Nick Marshall, Tre Mason, Corey Grant and Cameron Artis-Payne all play a big part as well, but the unsung hero right now for the Tigers is fullback Jay Prosch.

Early in the season the Auburn running game had its share of big plays, but was struggling to find the consistency that Gus Malzahn and Rhett Lashlee were looking for out of the group. It came as no surprise that Prosch was also struggling somewhat in his first experience outside of a traditional I-formation offense. Taking a little while to get his bearings, Prosch has come on strong the last month and the running game has followed.

"When our line does what they are doing, covering up everybody, getting a lot of movement and push and we've got a guy like Jay who can do all the things he can do and then Nick and Tre and Cam and those guys, they have got a good feel for things right now," Lashlee said. "You've got a guy who feels it and reads it really well, then that's what makes it good."

Jay Prosch

Averaging 397.8 yards per game on the ground in the last four contests, Auburn's offense is rolling and Prosch is a big reason why. Making adjustments is not just about calling the right plays or using the right formations for your skill guys, but it's also about adjusting your blocking schemes and formations to get the most out of your other players as well. Morphing the offense to fit the personality of this team is something that the AU coaching staff has been effective in doing with the 2013 team. That personality is personified by Prosch.

"I said this earlier in the year, he's one of the better fullbacks we've had in our offense," Malzahn said. "He is every bit of that and maybe the best. He does a lot of things that don't show in stats that make things go. He is extremely tough. He is very unselfish. He played very well on Saturday."

Against Tennessee his play and toughness showed. While the Tigers were blasting Tennessee for 444 yards on the ground Prosch was lining up play after play and kicking out defenders to open up the inside running game. On one play late in the third quarter, Prosch came off the field with Auburn near the Vols' goal line with blood streaming down his face. The next time Auburn got the ball the senior was back on the field and Lashlee said that's just who he is.

"I think a guy got a hand up in his facemask and he was bleeding pretty good," Lashlee said. "He came out, looked like he had been in a boxing match, but Jay's so tough he was in two or three plays later. I don't remember how many it was. We knew it going into the year and we said it a lot of times but just to the average fan, you might not see Jay. He's caught one touchdown, he's caught a few balls but I'm just telling you, Jay makes a lot of things right."

His teammates agree. One of Auburn's top offensive players, sophomore offensive tackle Greg Robinson, knows how tough it is on the line of scrimmage in the SEC. Taking on talented defensive linemen week after week, Robinson said it's a difficult assignment and nobody does it better than big number 35 for the Tigers.

"Jay is a real hard worker and he's real tough," Robinson said. "He's such a big guy, he's almost like an O-Lineman I would say. He really is like a great addition to the offense and part of the reason why we run it successful, it's not only the O-Line.

"Fullback is not a position everyone would want to play, but he really takes pride in it. It's going to pay off in the long run for him."

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