Nov. 24, 2013
Auburn's Jay Prosch runs away from Texas A&M after a catch (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. – Jay Prosch transferred from Illinois to play fullback at Auburn, which he did for a year; and then Gus Malzahn came in as head coach and called him an H-back and asked him to do things a bit differently.
Is team-guy Jay Prosch angry? Hardly. Auburn's winning.
"I couldn't ask for anything better than this," Prosch said as he turned his attention to the Iron Bowl. "It's my senior year, it's the best college season I've had since I played in college…just with a great group of guys, great coaches and it's outstanding. I'm loving it. I'm enjoying every second of it."
Prosch didn't lose any playing time with Malzahn. He was just reassigned as an H-back, though coaches occasionally still call him a fullback. Either way, he finds himself with a lot of blocks, alas no carries, but with five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. His blocking has helped clear the way for Auburn to lead the SEC in rushing.
Auburn is enjoying an off week this week, but the Tigers have been thinking about playing Alabama next Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Prosch said he's eased into the H-back role.
"I feel like the beginning of the season I was having a little bit of trouble adjusting," he said.
Hurting his thumb didn't help "because not being able to use my hand at all during my blocking kind of made me turn into a shoulder blocker and I think that kind of hurt me a little bit in the middle of the season.
"I was still learning an offense. Once I got my cast off, I kind of had a better feel for everything and now I feel great about the offense and I wish I had more time than just a few more games because I'm really starting to feel it click now."
Prosch, back in the day, was named to an All-America team because of his blocking at Illinois. Auburn's blocking isn't Illinois' blocking.
"There it was just put my hand down, lineup and run full speed into the linebacker," Prosch said. "Now I have to worry about getting outside of the box and keeping leverage and things like that, not just an explosive impact hit."
He must be doing a good job because coaches have been praising him a long time.
"You can't say enough about Jay Prosch," offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. "He's as good of a fullback as there is anywhere in the country. He makes a lot of things go that maybe the average fan doesn't see. I'll tell you this: If we didn't have Jay out there, a lot of people would notice a difference."
Now, he gets to play against Alabama, this time at home.
"I think that it's going to be a special game," Prosch said. "Obviously it's going to be a great atmosphere and it's going to be something that I'm going to remember forever so I'm looking forward to it."
Auburn is 10-1 thanks to three last-minute wins, including the still talked-about 43-38 miracle finish last Saturday against Georgia. You know, the one when Nick Marshall threw it deep and the ball bounced off a Georgia defender… and Ricardo Louis happened to be streaking by?
"I saw the ball in the air and I looked down the field and saw two defenders and I was thinking, 'Oh man, I don't know who's got this,'" Prosch said. "I saw the tip and I saw that it was still in Ricardo's range, and I saw him reach out and tip it up to himself and I was like, 'Grab it, grab it,' and he grabbed it. After that, I was like, 'This is a joke. This is unreal. This isn't happening.' It was just amazing. I've never been on the field or been in a stadium and been able to see a play like that happen."
Prosch is hoping for an invitation to the Senior Bowl in his hometown of Mobile. And then he hopes for a shot in the NFL.
"I'm trying to keep it in the back of my mind," he said. "I've been trying to have the best senior season I could possibly have. Whatever that leads to is a bonus. Obviously, I want to play in the NFL. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens after the season."
That'll have to wait.
"Still just really excited about what's happening here at Auburn," Prosch said.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine