Lutz to Like: Freshman Off to Solid Start

Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen discusses his adjustment to college football and this week's Auburn vs. Georgia football game.

Auburn, Ala.--Freshman tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen has several reasons why he would like to see his Auburn Tigers leave Sanford Stadium as a winner on Saturday night.

Auburn and the Georgia Bulldogs will resume the SEC's oldest football rivalry at 6 p.m. CT in Athens. The Tigers are 7-3 and the Bulldogs are 5-4.

"It would be a huge win for us," Lutzenkirchen says. "We would be sitting at 8-3 going into the Alabama game and in good shape for maybe the Cotton Bowl. It is always good to make a big bowl like that. Also, anytime you can beat the hometown team, that is awesome."

The UGA campus in Athens is not exactly Lutzenkirchen's hometown, but he attended Lassiter High in Marietta which is not far from the home of the Bulldogs.

"Everyone back home wanted me to go to Georgia," says Lutzenkirchen, a nationally recruited prospect as a tight end. "I have a sister who goes there and all of my neighbors are Georgia guys."

Georgia was interested in Lutzenkirchen, but he let them know up front he was looking elsewhere.

"They recruited me early in the process, but even early in the process I knew I wanted to come to Auburn," he recalls.

"I committed to Auburn early in my junior year and I told them (Georgia's coaches) from the beginning I didn't have much interest in Georgia. I wanted to get away. Nothing bad about Georgia. I wanted to get away from the state of Georgia and try out something new. My high school is the number one feeder school for Georgia. I think in my senior class we had 120 people go there."

Lutzenkirchen has played in all 10 games this season as a backup to Tommy Trott. In Auburn's 63-31 victory over Furman last Saturday, the freshman and Trott both started as the Tigers opened in a set with two tight ends. Lutzenkirchen had one catch in the game and has five this season for 66 yards. Two have gone for touchdowns.

Describing the first 10 games of his freshman season, he says, "It has had its ups and downs. Of course, you want to be playing a little bit more. You just have to realize that you have got a senior who has been here for five years and he has worked his way through the program with a couple of different offensive coordinators. They are giving him his time and I will have three more years to show everyone what I can do."

Lutzenkirchen says that Trott has gone out of his way to be supportive "You think an older guy would be more stuck up to a younger guy, but it has been the complete opposite. Me and Tommy are real good friends and hang out outside of football. I think he can tell whenever I am in a bad mood and he is there to say something positive and say you have so much more time. You have three years. You will have your time and you have got to be patient."

Philip Lutzenkirchen catches a touchdown pass vs. Mississippi State.

Lutzenkirchen says he is continuing to work on his blocking skills and reading pass coverage as well as adjusting to the speed of SEC defenses. "It is just a whole different level," he says.

The freshman adds that he believes he has done some good things when he has been in games this year. "When I get a chance I think I am making plays so that is pretty good," he says. "When we were at LSU the whole second team came in and we helped spark the offense and we have been rolling ever since then."

He says what really jump-started the offense was an impressive catch by wide receiver Terrell Zachery vs. Ole Miss. "Once T-Zach came down with that long catch, and we hadn't had one of those in the three previous games, we started rolling on offense," he points out. "It is funny how one big play can change everyone. Even the defense has been playing better since then."

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