Photo by Jason Caldwell

Auburn's Kozan Says He Likes That Auburn's Football Opener Vs. Clemson Will Challenge His Team

Alex Kozan, Auburn's starter at left guard, discusses the new offensive line starters and talks about getting ready for Clemson.

Auburn, Ala.--Preseason All-SEC guard Alex Kozan said he believes his Auburn team’s offense is making progress with two weeks left before the season opener.

“I would say pretty good,” he noted when asked for an overall assessment of the offense. “We are starting to get our communication and everything down.

“We have just got to work on our execution,”?he pointed out. “At the end of the day that is what scoring comes down to. Everybody has got to execute--all 11.”

Kozan and the Tigers went through a full pads practice on Saturday and starting with Sunday’s practices there will be more focus on Clemson, the team the Tigers will play on Sept. 3rd.

“Obviously, Clemson is a great team,” Kozan said. “They were a touchdown from the national championship last year so I remember that feeling in 2014 for us so I know their mindset. They are going to come in and execute, and they are going to want to win extremely badly.

“For us it is going to come down to us executing, playing as a team and really executing in all three phases of the game,”?he said. “It is going to take our best effort.”

The senior noted that because Clemson is the opening opponent there has been a sense of urgency in preseason to get ready for a challenging game one.

“I like going up against top competition week one,”?he said. “It really tells you where your team is at. You don’t have any questions.”

The guard said he has watched “six or seven” Clemson games from 2015 and said the ACC team has “really good tackles” he will be lined up against.

Kozan, a left guard who noted that he feels 100 percent physically after missing the 2014 season with a back injury, will be lining up next to a new starter at center, Xavier Dampeer, and at left tackle Austin Golson is starting there for the first time after playing center last year.

The Tigers will also have a new starter at right tackle with Robert Leff taking over that position.

“Xavier has been solid, really solid,” Kozan said. “I am excited to see how he does his first game. He will be ready. Him and Robert (Robert Leff), I am sure they will have a little bit of pre-game jitters, but they have both worked really hard to be in the position they are at and I am glad to play with them.”

Commenting on Golson’s move to left tackle, Kozan said the redshirt junior looks “very comfortable” at the position. “Austin is really settling in nicely and he is ready to play as much as anybody. He is really focused on his technique. He really tries to lock down in pass protection and shut down the defensive ends.

“He is always paying attention to the detail trying to get better,” Kozan said. “He will watch film after practice as soon as practice is over. He will text me. He is always on top of his game.”

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