Auburn Football: How FB Jay Prosch Completes Tigers' Offense
Auburn's offensive struggles in 2011 will be a thing of the past and they will be a complete team in 2012. Jay Prosch, a 6'0", 253-pound fullback, is the final piece of the puzzle.
Prosch has recently been cleared to play in 2012 by the NCAA, and this couldn't be better news for Auburn and their fans.
He spent the majority of this offseason waiting with trepidation about the decision. The former Fighting Illini and Mobile native returned to the state of Alabama to be near his mother, who is battling brain cancer.
The value of Prosch to the Tigers will become evident in the 2012 season, and it all revolves around what he can do for Tigers tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen.
Here is why their combination will be a great addition to the Tigers' 2012 offense.
Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen will be free in the passing game
Auburn needs a guy to be the X-factor in the run game and another in passing game. In 2011, Lutzenkirchen had to be both.
After the success Auburn found with Lutzenkirchen in 2010, they had big plans for him in 2011, but he was forced to fill the role that former Tiger Eric Smith held after he was dismissed from the team, an event certainly related to charges of assault on another student.
Lutzenkirchen is a tight end that can block, but he is a real threat as a receiver. He is built in the same mold as New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham and New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
How big is the addition of Jay Prosch?
Both hauled in over 100 receptions last season for around 1,500 yards. Lutzenkirchen won't see those kinds of numbers in the college game, but he can make the same kind of impact through the air.
Lutzenkirchen will take pressure off the run game
With increased production and play as a receiver, Lutzenkirchen is going to command a lot more attention from opposing defenses.
He creates dangerous mismatches in the passing game and only linebackers will have any real shot of stopping him, especially since he makes most of his plays right in the middle of linebacker territory.
Opposing teams will need a linebacker dedicated to watching Lutzenkirchen at all times, and this situation could be especially devastating for teams that use a 4-3 base defense.
Lutzenkirchen will take pressure off receivers
Lutzenkirchen's versatility will benefit both the running and passing game.
Opposing defensive backs will be required to help out against Lutzenkirchen, which will create freedom for Auburn receivers.
The focus of the defense will be split a lot more, and Auburn's receivers will not deal with as much pressure.
The primary benefactor will be wideout Emory Blake, who will likely have a breakout year in 2012.
With more of a team-wide threat in the passing game, Blake should easily eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, which would be a career first.
Prosch will make the size of Auburn's running backs irrelevant
Auburn has a great running back squad heading into 2012, but they are all a bit undersized for the smash-mouth style of play in the SEC West.
They are led by 5'11", 174-pound Onterio McCalebb (who may or may not get the most carries), and the other guys aren't much bigger.
It will be up to Prosch to launch the small, speedy backs toward the end zone, and it's a role that he will perform well.
Prosch isn't quite as fast as the guys he will be protecting, but he ran a 4.6 40-yard dash coming out of high school.
I'll say right now that Prosch will prove to be a better run-blocker for the Tigers than Lutzenkirchen has been.
Now that Jay Prosch is eligible for play in 2012, he will be the most valuable addition to the Tigers' roster, and he will play immediately.
To top it all off, the guy has some of the biggest biceps and triceps that I have ever seen on a college football player.
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