By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - When there are three numerals in the stat sheet for total offense, and the first one is a seven, offensive linemen know they've done their job.
Such is the case for Auburn's Alex Kozan, who anchored a line that helped produced 706 yards, second most in school history, against Arkansas State.
"We had more cohesion," Kozan said. "Everything was communicated better, definitely. And results speak for themselves. Obviously, Arkansas State wasn't as good as Clemson was, but I was proud of the way we responded from week one to week two, and hopefully we can continue growing as a unit and developing as an offense."
The next opportunity for such growth occurs Saturday at 6 p.m. when Texas A&M comes to Jordan-Hare Stadium.
"Last week definitely helped a lot of things," Kozan said, "Hopefully, we can take that and continue it into this week."
In the Aggies' two games, wins over UCLA and Prairie View, seven players have recorded a sack.
"Very athletic," Kozan said. "Just like every defensive line in the SEC, but obviously they have elite talent. Their defensive ends and their defensive tackles are pretty good, too. It's going to a be a major challenge, but we'll be ready to take it on."
Kozan paid what could be considered the ultimate compliment to the ability of Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett.
"It looks like he was created in a video game to rush the passer," Kozan said. "He's long, athletic. He can bend. Great pass rushing talent. He's improved as a run defender. Very talented player, and it's going to take our best effort against him."
"Definitely gives you more confidence for every game, now that you've done it as a unit, and hopefully, you can continue that," Kozan said.
Since A&M joined the SEC, the Aggies and Tigers have split their four games, with the road team winning each time. Kozan has been around for all of them, beginning in 2012, when he watched as a redshirt freshman while Johnny Manziel put on a show on his way to the Heisman Trophy.
"It is a little weird," Kozan said. "Normally, the home team (has an) advantage, but 2012 obviously that wasn't going to happen. 2013, we kind of shocked them a little bit. 2014 they shocked us. 2015, we got them again, so hopefully we can break that little weird streak."
The visiting team's success, Kozan said, is not a frequent discussion topic among his teammates.
"I don't think anybody pays attention to that to be dead-honest," he said. "Most of the guys in the locker room haven't been here that long to really notice that kind of stuff."
What they have noticed, he said, is Auburn quarterback Sean White's continued improvement, including a 3-touchdown performance against Arkansas State.
"I think it's important for any player, especially confidence boosting. Not that Sean's not a confident guy. He is. But once you can display that on the field and really put it all together, I think that helps a player for sure."
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer