Ziemba Hopes Bigger Is Better In '09

Comments from left offensive tackle Lee Ziemba are featured in this Auburn football report.

Auburn, Ala.-Healthy and happy as he heads into his junior season, offensive left tackle Lee Ziemba will be counted on as a key player for the 2009 Auburn football team.

"I am excited about the season," he tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I haven't been this excited about football season in a long time."

At 6-8 and checking in 310 to 315 pounds, Ziemba has added what he believes is good weight for his junior season. "Physically, I am bigger, faster and a lot stronger than I was, especially my upper body," he notes. "I am really excited to go out there and see what this feels like." Ziemba will be able to throw his weight around either Sunday or Monday when the Tigers put on the full pads for the first time in preseason.

Gaining strength and size was a priority for the offensive line as a group in the offseason. The offensive line was not a team strength in 2008, but that could change this year, Ziemba says.

"I feel like we are getting a lot closer," he notes. "We have a good base of people who are pretty experienced and have been out there. That, plus a little hard work and a strong mind out there during two-a-days, that is probably going to equal success."

One of the keys to success for the offensive line is for redshirt senior Andrew McCain to step up and play well at right tackle, the spot vacated by Ryan Pugh, who is expected to be a full-time starter at center this year.

"We need that right tackle spot and I believe he is going to do it," Ziemba says of McCain. "He has had a great attitude all through the offseason and has been working real hard. There is no reason why he shouldn't go out there and succeed."

Lee Ziemba has started his first two seasons on the Auburn campus.

The offensive front is also looking to get a boost from sophomore Vance Smith, who is moving from tight end to tackle. "He is doing well," Ziemba says. "He is gaining weight and starting to look like an offensive lineman, and he is learning. We are real excited to have him over there and he is a good guy."

In February the Tigers signed a pair of high school seniors, Andre Harris and John Sullen. Both have been on campus all summer taking classes and joining the older players for voluntary workouts. "They have been doing well and learning," the junior says. "They have been coming to all of the practices. They are real good guys, they are friendly."

Ziemba says Auburn fans should see a well-conditioned football team this season after a productive offseason directed by strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall and his staff.

"Coach Yox did things a little differently this summer," Ziemba says. "I think that will carry over on the field. We will just have to see what happens. Coach Yox knows what he is doing a lot better than I know what he is doing."

Order 2009 Auburn Football Guide

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories