March 30, 2014
Alex Kozan (63) helped pave the way for the nation’s most prolific running attack last season (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. – Alex Kozan’s first season as a starter on Auburn’s offensive line provided plenty of memories. He was a freshman All-American. He won a Southeastern Conference championship ring and played in the BCS Championship Game.
For Kozan, a third-year sophomore from Castle Creek, Colo., none of it was enough.
“I look at my season last year and, though I did some things well, overall as a player there are a lot of things I need to improve on to get to where I want to be,” Kozan said Saturday after the first full scrimmage of spring practice. “I want to be a leader on the left side of the offensive line and really just be a rock this team can build on. All the accolades are great, but you have to forget all that and attack the next season and become a better player.”
That might be something of a sobering thought for defenses. The Tigers return four starters from the offensive line that paved the way for the nation’s most prolific running attack last season. Kozan is at left guard, senior Reese Dismukes is at center, senior Chad Slade at right guard and sophomore Avery Young at right tackle. At left tackle, junior Pat Miller and sophomore Shon Coleman are competing to replace future first-round draft choice Greg Robinson.
“I think the biggest difference between this year and last year is confidence,” Kozan said. “Last year, we weren’t really sure what was going to happen. We were just hungry and wanted to get better and get that taste of 3-9 out of our mouths.
“This year, we know what we can do and we know what we have. Everybody is focused trying to make this team as good as it can possibly be.”
Kozan says the competition to start beside him at left tackle is fierce between Miller and Coleman. He won’t venture a prediction on how it will turn out.”
“Shon and Pat are two very athletic guys, two guys who are very hungry and very focused,” Kozan said. “Either one of them is capable of starting at just about any school in the country. It’s going to be a real battle between those guys. I don’t think it’s probably going to get settled until the end of fall camp. Shon does some freaky things every now and then and Pat is a consistent performer. He has started before. It’s a pretty good battle.”
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: