Bosley Eager for His First College Start

Jason Bosley is Auburn's new starting center with Joe Cope out with an injury.

Auburn, Ala.--With Joe Cope out with an injury for what is expected to be a month to a month and a half, sophomore Jason Bosley is scheduled to make his first college start on Saturday as the Auburn Tigers take on the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The 6-2, 282-pounder from Grissom High School in Huntsville says he believes he is ready for the challenge.

"The coaches are confident in me," Bosley says. "I trust the coaching and I trust the technique they teach me to use. As long as I stick with that and play as hard as I can, I think I will do okay."

Cope suffered what Tuberville says are sprained knee ligaments, but the senior continued to play on the injury in the victory over South Carolina. However, he is now on the injured list along with starting tight end Cole Bennett. Neither player is expected back until late in the season.

Bosley says the opportunity to start is exciting, but notes that it is tough to see it happen with Cope unable to play.

"Me and him have become good buddies because we room together on all the trips and all of the hotel rooms and everything so I hate to see him get hurt at all," Bosley says. "I love him to death and he is a good friend of mine, but I am excited. I am going to be ready to go like I said so I will keep working hard this week to get ready."

Jason Bosley is shown at Sunday's practice.

Offensive coordinator Al Borges contends that Bosley has promise as a center. "He is a smart kid," Borges says. "He hasn't done it as much, that's the only thing. Joe had done it more, but Joe hadn't done it much when he took the job. I have a lot of confidence in Jason Bosley. I think he will do a good job."

Borges notes that it is good to have Ben Grubbs and Timmy Duckworth flanking the new starter. "It is nice to have two seniors next to him, that's for sure. They can help him, but our center has to captain that offensive line now. He has to quarterback the offensive line in terms of making sure everybody is on the same page. When you have guys next to him who are that experienced it certainly helps."

Borges points out that when Cope was injured in preseason that Bosley spent almost two weeks with the first team offense.

"I think it was pretty eye-opening because I kind of struggled when I got in there," Bosley says. "I worked really hard in two-a-days after that to work on my technique and fundamentals and things like that. I think I really improved a lot in two-a-days after that."

Borges says that Bosley will definitely get the starting call for Saturday's game with Arkansas. Jonathan Palmer, the starting tackle, will be available if needed and Grubbs is the third string option. Palmer started in Auburn's 2005 victory over Alabama when Cope was injured and performed well.

"They told me today in an offensive meeting that Coach Borges said that I am going to have to step up," Bosley says. "It is my time. He said that when Cole (Bennett) went down that Tommy (Trott) and Gabe (McKenzie) had to step up."

Commenting on the biggest challenge of playing center, Bosley notes, "I would say the hardest part is recognizing all of the different defenses because some teams will throw so many different looks at you and you have to know what to do with every different look. You have to know all of the stunts and blitzes they are going to do out of them."

Bosley says having the opportunity to play against starting noseguard Josh Thompson and last year's starter, Tommy Jackson, has helped him prepare for the starting assignment. "They come off really fast and hit you hard," he says.

Bosley's most extensive action this year was against Buffalo in game four. He notes he played around 13 to 14 snaps and graded 95 percent.

"He has done a good job," Borges says. "In spring ball he was starting to come around pretty good. In spring ball we were up in the air over who we thought was the most improved player on our offfensive line was. It was really kind of him and Antwoin (Daniels). We gave it to Antwoin, but we could have just as easily gave it to him."

Bosley and his Tigers are 3-0 in the SEC and 5-0 overall. Saturday's game against Arkansas, which is 2-0 in the SEC and 3-1 overall, will start shortly after 11 a.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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