“I'm very excited,” the lineman says when asked about playing for the team he grew up watching. “Every time we go in there, we try to treat it like a game. It's a special place. I just can't wait to get the opportunity to play in it.
“Every time we go over there I try to raise my level because it is a different place,” he says. “It’s not out here on the practice field, it’s Auburn’s stadium--Jordan-Hare Stadium. It's a special place to me and a special place to Auburn, and I want to represent.”
Golson had played tackle and guard before coming to Auburn, but with four-year starting center Reese Dismukes to replace Golson had no problem with making a move to center. “Let’s do it because I’ve already played all other four positions,” he says of his reaction to the idea. “I’m ready to go. I feel like I was confident I could do it. I just had to learn how to snap and get the communication right.”
Offensive line coach J.B. Grimes and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee point out the move, that began during bowl practice in December, has gone well so far. Golson finished spring training at the top of the depth chart and has a good chance to be there for the season opener vs. Louisville even though he missed the first scrimmage with what he said was a minor knee problem.
Austin Golson is shown in action during Auburn's A-Day Game in April.
Golson notes that after spring practice he continued to work on his deep snapping and other aspects of center play during voluntary workouts. “I think it was probably the most important two months of the year, besides fall camp, of course,” he says of the offseason drills. “I think it helped me a lot get snapping every day, getting consistent level and just getting my steps down and learning the playbook.”
The redshirt sophomore notes he tried to take at least 50 shotgun snaps per workout and that has made a difference.
“I'm very comfortable now,” he says. “During the spring it was a little iffy, but I tried to snap at least 50 snaps every day this whole summer. I feel completely confident in the way that I snap now. I've just got to keep practicing and keep getting it better and better.”
Although he is a rookie center, Golson does have experience playing in the SEC as a true freshman at Ole Miss. “It was tough,” he admits, remembering a matchup against a talented lineman. “I was like 17 years old when we played LSU and he was like 23. I was like, 'Golly.' My whole body was getting beat up, but I enjoyed it. I thought I did well, but I'm ready for a new start and I'm glad to be here at Auburn.”
Golson says he doesn’t keep in touch with anybody at Ole Miss, but adds he doesn’t regret his decision to go there after graduating from Prattville High School. “The way that I look at it is that God always has a plan for me and I just need to trust in Him. I feel like He had a reason for me to go there and live out my goals and play as a true freshman.
“I'm happy the way it worked out,” Golson says. “I don't regret anything. Maybe I could have made a better decision, but I'm happy with the way it's worked out.”