The junior college transfer practiced at the position all of last week during the off week and with Eddins out because of a sprained ankle he showed the coaching staff that he deserved a shot to start.
"We're real pleased with where Doug is right now," Coach Gene Chizik said following Tuesday's practice. "Obviously, it's a learning process and he's projected right now to be a starter over there at strong end. We're pleased with where he is and we think he's progressed a lot since the beginning of the year."
Auburn's most productive defensive end this season along with senior Reggie Torbor, Langenfeld had worked his way into a lot of playing time behind Torbor at weakside end through three games, but now will be on the field with his mentor at the same time. Defensive ends Coach Terry Price said this is a chance to get more explosiveness on the field defensively.
"The thing we did during the off-week was evaluate all the positions and our starting lineup is going to be comprised of the guys that have been the most productive so far," Price said. "Because Doug has been probably our second-most productive defensive end he deserved the right to start. We'll start him Saturday.
"He's done a lot of good things. He's a physical guy, he's a strong guy, he's athletic. He's everything you want and even though he just got here, he's learning fast on the run and he's going to be a real good football player for us."
One of the advantages Langenfeld has in the move is that he played the strongside position in junior college and is used to the physical pounding on that side of the ball. At just under 250 pounds on his 6-3 frame, Langenfeld will have to use his quickness and aggressiveness playing against tight ends on this level. He said that last week was an important week for him to get some much-needed practice time at his new position.
"Bret and Jay have nagging injuries and we're kind of thin at that spot," Langenfeld said. "Reggie and the other weakside ends can hold it down over there. I'm just trying to give them a little depth and production on that side.
"It was really kind of hard playing weakside end because I had never played weakside end before in my life. I like the strongside more because it's more physical. You don't have to read a lot of things. You just smash the tight end and go from there. I like the hitting part."
With Langenfeld changing sides, the weakside position will be manned by senior Dexter Murphy and true freshman Marquies Gunn. Gunn has shown signs of breaking through as a pass rusher, but Murphy will likely be the backup this week against a physical WKU running game said Chizik.
"One thought behind that is that this team gives you a lot of two tight ends so you need a bigger body over there," Chizik said. "Dexter will play some over there and we'll see what happens with Marquis and with Kyle (Kyle Derozan). Kyle has been banged up and we haven't been able to count on him too much."
True freshman Marquies Gunn will be one of the reserves who will likely see a good deal of action Saturday against the Hilltoppers.
The happiest player on the practice field Tuesday along with Langenfeld was easily tailback Tre Smith. After giving the safety position a shot last week when asked by the coaching staff, it was easy to see that the sophomore was happy to be back on offense full-time this week. He was involved in the offensive work for Western Kentucky and along with Brandon Jacobs will be in the back-up plans behind starters Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown.
Defensively, the Tigers worked on defending the multiple-formation running game of Western Kentucky. Expecting to see the option and forms of the running game they don't often see, Chizik said this week is going to be a big test of discipline for his defense as the Tigers continue to work on being more aggressive at the point of attack and trying to cause more turnovers.
"It's similar to Vanderbilt," Chizik said. "You have to gear some things around that. People that sprinkle in the option in 20 or 25 percent of their game obviously make you do some things that you have to respect that because that could turn into a big play."
Kickoff for Saturday's game is scheduled for 4 p.m. and is available on a pay-per-view basis only. Alabama residents can contact their local cable company to order the game. C-Ban home dish subscribers should call 1-800-TV-STARS to order the game. Dish Network subscribers can order the game by tuning to channel 463 on the day of the game and ordering with their remote control.