It is no secret that Auburn’s offensive line had its struggles last season. The unit was plagued with inexperience and injuries that was the cause for many offensive problems, specifically the inability to produce a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time in nine seasons.
Prince Tega Wanogho addressed the media on the last day of SEC Media Days and the question was posed on if the offensive line took the snapping of the streak personal.
“Yeah, we did,” Wanogho said. “Then again, we actually had some younger guys, some younger running backs and some younger o-linemen, but we actually did take that personally. We know this is for us and we try to prove something every time we’re on the field. That’s the mentality we have every time. That’s what we want to do. That was pretty much a blow to our face, to the whole o-line, and we feel like we have to do better and we’re going to do better.”
The lackluster performances throughout last season added on with the snapping of the streak, the unit knew their chance at improving would come in the spring and playing with an edge.
“We did because we all know how last season went," Wanogho said. "As a whole unit, we decided that we were going to play with an edge now. We’re going to play to a standard. I feel like since Coach Grimes has been there, the standard he was with before he left, he came back with the same standard. He challenges everybody to come with their A-game every day and play with an edge and play with a chip on their shoulders. That’s what we try to do and that’s what I think we did do in the spring and now we’ve got to do in the season too.”
Now returning every starter on the offensive line, the Tigers are being rated as one of the better units in the conference. The game experience that Auburn’s offensive line has is not matched by many other units in the country. As a unit, Auburn’s five starters have a combined 104 games of starting experience and that is what the Tigers are relying on to be the driving force this upcoming season.
“Experience is just—it’s not just experience alone, because that brewed chemistry from playing in games like, playing alongside someone who played or a veteran guy," Wanogho said. "There’s chemistry between you too. Playing beside Marquel, that actually boosted my confidence level too. That actually improved our chemistry, because if I can trust the guy beside me, then guess what, he can trust the next guy beside him like he’s going to do the job. We all trust ourselves, and guess what, we’re going to do our jobs. That actually, the experience actually comes with that. I trust everybody that they’re going to do their job and actually put us in a good situation.”
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Still, experience and confidence can only get an offensive line in the SEC so far. Wanogho knows this and what the unit must do game in and game out.
“We’ve just got to fight," Wanogho said. "That’s what it is. We’ve just got to fight, our whole o-line at the line of scrimmage. That’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve just got to keep fighting. I’m going to do my job, the guy next to me do his job and everybody do their job, we’re going to do it, we’re going to get it. I feel like that’s what we just need to do. We’ve got to fight every game we play.”
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