Big Z Not Sleeping on Getting Better

Lee Ziemba was good as a freshman and is showing signs that he is better this season.

Auburn, Ala.--Lee Ziemba says he has made significant progress as a college offensive lineman in the last year.

An All-SEC Freshman selection last year, who started every game at right tackle just months after arriving on the Auburn campus, Ziemba looks like he will be a fixture in the lineup in 2008 at left tackle.

"I am playing a lot better than last year," Ziemba tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I think I graded out 20 percentage points higher in the first game this year than I did last year. I feel stronger and I am a lot smarter than I was last year.

"I need to continue to improve," he adds. "I am reminded every day when I go out to practice that I haven't arrived anywhere yet. I am just going to keep working hard to be the best I can be."

Ziemba remembers he graded 71 out of 100 in his first college start last season in his college debut vs. Kansas State. "This year I did a lot better," he notes. "I was up 20 percentage points to 91."

In Auburn's game two victory over Southern Miss, the sophomore graded 92 and Ziemba says he believes the offense improved, too.

"Last week the tempo picked up a lot," he says. "We also focused on doing the little things right, which was one of Coach Franklin's biggest concerns. We tried to do the things we have been taught and I thought we showed great improvement."

This week Ziemba and his teammates are preparing for their SEC opener and their first road game this season. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday at Mississippi State.

The six-foot-eight, 288-pound left tackle says he is training to get better at blocking against 3-4 defensive schemes. "I am working on the 30 front (three man defensive line) protections," he notes. "I need to get smarter at knowing what to do. I need to be quicker at it. I am working with Tyronne (Green) to get better.

"There are so many different things a defense can do out of the 30 front that changes who I have to block," he points out. "Tyronne and I have to keep working together so we can get those things picked up smoothly. We have been picking them up, but it needs to be a lot more polished."

With the Tigers switching from a lefty quarterback last year in Brandon Cox to a right-hander this year with Chris Todd and Kodi Burns the main guys, offensive line coach Hugh Nall switched Ziemba to the other side of the formation to protect the QBs' back sides.

"I like it out there," he says of playing left tackle. "I don't feel much difference from last year. They put me over there so I am happy to do what they want me to do. If they want me to play center, I will be glad to play there."

As the Tigers try to improve to 3-0, Ziemba says his team is working on functioning better offensively. "I am sure there is a lot more that we can do and will do as we continue to play better and better teams," he says. "Just hold on, we are about to come after it."


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