Big Lee Not Losing Any Z's Over Starting Role

Freshman Lee Ziemba discusses his move up the depth chart to number one for the season opener.

Auburn, Ala.--A year ago at this time, Lee Ziemba was preparing for what would be a memorable senior season that proved to be the best one in Rogers, Ark., High School history.

On Saturday night the big Auburn University right tackle will try to make the always difficult jump from high school to SEC football. That jump is especially quite a leap for anyone on the offensive line. Ziemba says he is eager to take the field on Saturday night to test himself against the Kansas State Wildcats.

The right tackle notes that his former teammates and coaches are planning to check him out Saturday night with the game being nationally televised by ESPN. "I think they are moving the film study," he says. "They usually do it on Saturday nights. This week they are doing it Saturday morning so they can turn on the game."

The 6-8, 298-pounder says he is not nervous at all as the opener approaches. "I am sleeping fine and I am real confident I have been taught everything I need to know to go out there and do it," he says. "It is just time to go do it."

Ziemba, who arrived on campus in time to take summer classes and work out with his new teammates, says the extra time at Auburn has made a positive difference. "I am definitely a lot better player," he says. "I have been taught so much and have learned the speed of the game. Quentin (senior defensive end Quentin Groves) has taught me a lot and Coach Nall (offensive line coach Hugh Nall) has taught me a lot. It is time to go out there and do what I have been taught."

Commenting on Groves, a returning All-SEC player, the freshman says, "He has taught me how to tell by a defensive end's body language which way he is going, whether he is coming inside or outside and whether he is going to bull rush or not."

Lee Ziemba works on blocking Quentin Groves (54).

Ziemba is expected to be tested on opening night by a Kansas State team that has two proven defensive ends. Ian Campbell is a 6-5, 232 junior All Big 12 selection who is both strong and quick. Rob Jackson, a 6-3, 265 senior, finished with 4 1/2 sacks last year. Campbell was the top lineman in the Big 12 in QB sacks last year with 11 1/2 and won one of the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year awards.

With four new starters in the lineup on the offensive front, how the Tigers will play on the line is one of the big questions for Auburn as the Tigers prepare for Saturday's 6:45 p.m. kickoff at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

"We have been gelling in practice and we have been doing everything Coach Nall has been teaching us," Ziemba says. "We have been getting better. I think by the end of the season it is going to be a strength of this team."

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