AUBURN – Nosa Eguae spent last season working his way back from a knee injury and cheering on his Auburn teammates. Brandon Mosley spent last season playing tight end at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.
Defensive end Nosa Eguae/Bryan Matthews photo
Last Saturday, with Auburn facing its most important of the season to date, there they were in the starting lineup – Mosley at right tackle and Eguae at defensive end. And they’ll be there again when the No. 11 Tigers try to run their record to 5-0 against Louisiana-Monroe (2-2) Saturday morning at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Mosley, 6-foot-6 and 299 pounds, won the starting job from sophomore John Sullen after A.J. Greene, who started the first three games, was lost for the season with a broken ankle. Eguae, in the playing rotation from the start of the season, moved ahead of senior Michael Goggans.
On Thursday, Mosley got the word that he would start from offensive line coach Jeff Grimes. He said the experience was all he expected and more.
“The fans here, I love them - Tiger Walk, everything, is just incredible,” Mosley said. “It’s amazing. I love it. I feel really blessed to be here.”
Mosley, who took over at left tackle against Mississippi State when Lee Ziemba banged up his knee, had good times and times that weren’t so good in his debut as a starter.
“I had a couple of penalties that messed me up a little bit,” Mosley said. “It really frustrated me.”
But Auburn coach Gene Chizik said there was more good than bad, enough to good for him to feel confident in what Mosley will do going forward.
"I was really proud of Brandon,” Chizik said. “He didn't do everything perfect, but he helped win that football game. I thought he tried to play physical up front. I'm just really proud of him. He's been thrown into the fire a few times now. He comes through for our team."
In the second half, Auburn’s offense picked up the pace, heeding coordinator Gus Malzahn’s demand that they play faster. The Gamecocks started to wilt.
“It felt good,” Mosley said. “You could tell they were getting tired. They were standing up, had their hands on their hips, just weren’t ready. We knew we were whipping them then.”
Eguae, 6-foot-2 and 258 pounds, heard from defensive line coach Tracy Rocker on Sunday before the game that he had won starting job.
“I just try to use every week as steppingstones to get to be the player I want to be,” Eguae said. “To me, it is big gaining Coach Rocker’s trust to be in those situations in the fourth quarter when it’s down and dirty.”
Eguae said he has made significant progress since playing college football for the first time in Auburn’s opener against Arkansas State.
“It’s leaps and bounds,” Eguae said. “There is nothing like being in the trenches, going against a man and trying to beat him and make plays.”