Auburn Sophomore Earning Respect

Auburn, Ala.--Tommy Tuberville says that the toughness that backup center Jason Bosley has shown in relief of starter Joe Cope has won the sophomore the respect of the Auburn football coaching staff.

With Cope expected to be back in the starting lineup this week vs. Arkansas State after recovering from a knee injury suffered in game five vs. South Carolina, Bosley is expected to return to backup duty and may be able to rest his own injured knee.

"I played pretty well," Bosley says of his performance against Ole Miss that was graded 88 percent on 79 plays. "I have a couple of things I need to work on, but overall I wasn't disappointed with my performance.

"I would say I was about 90 percent," Bosley says when asked about his knee. "Toward the end of the game I was getting a little sore and my knee started swelling up on me, but at that point you just have to push through and finish the game."

Tuberville says that Bosley showed he will be in the mix for the starting job next year when Cope graduates. "The playing time he has received this year is going to really help him," the Auburn coach says.

Bosley was part of an offensive line that hasn't allowed a quarterback sack the past two weeks. "I think our pass protection is coming along," the sophomore says. "We are starting to cut them a little bit. I think teams are seeing that and are starting to slow down a little bit. As a group we have really been trying to work on that because we had given up a lot of sacks early in the season. We have really improved since the Florida game."

Jason Bosley says he feels like he has improved since his first start vs. Arkansas.

Ole Miss tried to disrupt the Auburn running game by stacking the box and throwing in blitzes in last week's Auburn victory at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium that improved AU's record to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the SEC. "It was a challenge," Bosley says. "They had a good little blitz package. As a whole, I thought we played well. We have to work on some things."

One of those areas to work on, says Al Borges, Auburn's offensive coordinator who also has praise for the play of Bosley, is scoring touchdowns in the red zone. That means finishing drives instead of settling for field goals.

Bosley agrees and adds, "Not just in the red zone. Coach Nall said we just need to work on finishing, especially on those backside blocks. If we finish them a little better it is a gash. Instead of maybe seven or eight yards, you get 20 or 30."

Looking at the offense as a whole that racked up 428 yards vs. Ole Miss and 432 vs. Tulane, Bosley says he believes the Tigers are close to having a breakout game. "I think we are close," he says. "The last couple weeks, even against Florida, we moved the ball real well. Coach Borges has been preaching finishing going all the way back to two-a-days. I think if we do that we are going to click even more and put up more points. That is what we need to do because people remember what you do in November. Against teams like Georgia and Alabama, field goals aren't going to cut it all of the time. We need to score touchdowns."

Prior to playing Georgia and Alabama, the Tigers will take on Arkansas State at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. If he is called on to play, Bosley says he will go into the game confident he can get the job done.

"I feel a lot better about how I am playing," he says. "My first start I was a little wide-eyed, which is to be expected, but as it has gone along I have gotten more comfortable making calls and being out there and not being nervous. I am just going out there and playing."

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