“Everybody is coming back,” Malzahn said. “We’ve had some guys that worked on getting healthy. By the time we start fall camp we should have all hands on deck and everybody should be close to 100 percent.”
With Lawson and Kozan that means getting back two of the key players on the line of scrimmage for the Tigers. Because of the lack of a pass rush last season, getting Lawson on the field is huge for Will Muschamp in his first season back as Auburn’s defensive coordinator. One of the top offensive linemen in the league as a redshirt freshman, Kozan is cleared to go full speed in the preseason as well. Malzahn said getting both back is huge for his team.
“Anytime you lose freshman All-Americans, both guys had an impact on leading us to that SEC Championship and the national championship game,” Malzahn said. “Both of them were big blows, especially Carl as a guy that can really rush the passer. You saw that, especially the second half of last season, we had trouble putting pressure on the quarterback. To have him back 100 percent is a very good thing.
“Alex Kozan, we ran behind him and Greg Robinson probably the last five or six games of 2013 when everybody in the country knew we were going to do it,” he added. “He has experience, he’s a tough guy coming back. We’re glad to have both of those guys back.”
Alex Kozan is a physical left guard for the Tigers.
Adding that Kozan has been cleared 100 percent to participate in practices, Malzahn said the left guard is getting closer to his old self and feels like he’ll be ready by the time the Tigers take the field against Louisville in the season opener in Atlanta on Sept. 5.
Malzahn said that is also the plan for senior defensive end Davonte Lambert. Tied for the team lead with three and a half sacks last season and adding seven tackles for losses, Lambert missed the last two games because of a knee injury and later surgery. Working hard to get back on the field, Lambert is ahead of the progress of fellow knee surgery recipient T.J. Davis and Malzahn said the Tigers are hoping to have him back by the time they open fall camp.
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