Replacing Prosch A Tough Task For Tigers

The Auburn football Tigers are looking for someone to fill the role at fullback/H-back handled so well last season by 2013 senior Jay Prosch.

Auburn, Ala.--While the losses of Tre Mason and Greg Robinson get much of the attention from Auburn's 2013 record-setting rushing offense, the player who may be the most difficult one to replace is fullback Jay Prosch.

A tank-like force on a football field, who helped the Tigers run for 4,596 yards and 48 touchdowns in 14 games, Prosch is a player who his teammates and coaches recognize how much impact he made on Auburn's success a season ago.

Calling Prosch "probably the best three-back ever," senior running back Cameron Artis-Payne is one of the players who ran behind Prosch last year and is battling for the number one tailback job this spring along with Corey Grant and Peyton Barber.

Right now there are plenty of options for Offensive Coordinator Rhett Lashlee and position coach Scott Fountain to call on at the fullback/H-Back position, and that's the good news. The bad news is that so far none are the complete package that Prosch was at the position. With Brandon Fulse, C.J. Uzomah, Ricky Parks and Gage Batten all playing a role this spring, Lashlee said the coaches are sorting out how to best take advantage of their skills as the Tigers put together their 2014 offense.

C.J. Uzomah is expected to be one of the Auburn's top returning players.

More of a true tight end than a fullback, the 6-4, 264-pound Uzomah is a senior with plenty of playing experience. A former high school quarterback, he is more of a receiver, but has improved his blocking since arriving on campus. More of a blocker than receiver, the 6-4, 272 Fulse is a physical player who has experience as a proven blocker in the running game out of the H-Back position.

The true fullback of the bunch, Batten is a 6-0, 232 sophomore walk-on who played behind Prosch last season. Seeing action in six games, he got valuable experience at the position.

The wildcard is Parks. A 6-3, 268 sophomore who is back with the team as a walk-on after being dismissed from the roster last August, Parks may have the best combination of skills for the position, but has to continue to show the coaching staff he is ready to take on the role head-first.

Brandon Fulse may be the most physical player of the group.

"Brandon Fulse has got the ability to be physical," Lashlee said. "He's got the size that you need. He just hasn't had the reps at that position. He played more at either tight end or split out last year for us based on what our needs were.

"You've got a guy like C.J., who is very versatile whether he is playing out at receiver, playing tight end or playing back there. He has done some good things. You've got Gage Batten who was behind Jay last year. Ricky is just trying to handle Ricky's business. He's out there every day and he is getting work. We'll see how that plays out."

Lashlee said each of the players in the H-back/fullback group are different. "Each can do something better than the other. Brandon May be a little better with this whereas C.J.'s a little better with this and then Gage is with this and Jay was pretty much the whole package so we just got to keep working those guys. The biggest thing for them is they need reps and being physical because that's a glue position for us so we need those guys to step up."


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