By Jeff Shearer
NEW ORLEANS - Joshua Holsey has accomplished much in his five seasons at Auburn, but there's one thing he hasn't done: play in a bowl game.
Holsey will play in his 43rd Auburn football game Monday night in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
"It's going to be great," Holsey said. "Nobody actually knew that I haven't played in a bowl game yet. I can't wait. It's been one of those long rides where you've been waiting to do it, so I'm going to go out there and smile each and every play and I'm going to play my best like I do each and every game. I'm going to go out there and I'm just going to be happy. I've never got that opportunity to play in a bowl game, unfortunately, but I've got my chance now and I'm going to make the best of it."
A starter in the secondary since his freshman season in 2012, Holsey missed bowl games in 2013 and 2015 recovering from knee surgeries. He missed a bowl after the 2014 season because of his position coach's decision.
"It's all good," Holsey said. "I kind of wish I did get to play in some of those bowl games, but the Sugar Bowl will be all worth it."
Holsey and his fellow defensive backs figure to play a key Sugar Bowl role, trying to limit an Oklahoma attack that averages 318 passing yards and features Heisman finalists quarterback Baker Mayfield and receiver Dede Westbrook.
"This is one of those games that you dream of playing in," Holsey said. "For a defensive back like me, this is a game that you play in that the world is watching."
Holsey, who graduated last May in public administration and is working on a master's degree in the College of Education, might one day use the football knowledge he's acquired to educate others. Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele already refers to Holsey as "Coach."
"I'm going to tell Coach Steele he can bring me back," Holsey said. "I know the system in and out. I'll be the first one to come back and jump straight into the DB coaching job so I'm going to tell him I'm going to put my application in tomorrow."
Holsey's coaching career will come soon enough. First, there's a date in the dome with the Sooners. One last time to put on the No. 15 jersey.
"To be here now is just a blessing for each and every one of us, especially the seniors to end with a bang would be even better, to get that Sugar Bowl win for the program and to leave the senior legacy that we got that Sugar Bowl win," he said.
"I'm sure I might shed a few tears here and there. But it's been a fun ride. It's going to be a bunch of tears of joy."
-- Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) January 2, 2017
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer