March 21, 2013

Prosch's Adaptation

AUBURN | Jay Prosch left Illinois for Auburn 14 months ago for a new start much closer to his Mobile home.

He never regretted that decision. Not for a minute.

Still, there were fleeting moments of doubt after coach Gus Malzahn and his misdirection offense arrived to replace the I-formation system preferred by the Tigers' previous regime. An offense predicated on speed and deception doesn't create an obvious need for 250-pound fullbacks who open holes for a living.

"I was a little nervous," said Prosch, a rising senior. "I talked to some of the guys who had been with the offense before and they re-assured me that hopeful there would be a spot for me, the things I can do. I'm not the kind of guy who will be like I have to do this, I have to do that. I'm more the kind of guy who says: 'I want to play for you; tell me what you want to do and I'll do it the best I can.' I'm excited about it."

He has reason to feel that way.

Malzahn created a utility role in 2009 and 2010 for a tailback named Eric Smith, whose heavy body and relatively weak acceleration limited his standard value. Yet Smith warmed to the role and became a useful blocker during the Tigers' run to the national championship.

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