March 20, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN -- Auburn's spring practice begins a week from today, but Jay Prosch already has a sense of what to expect when Gus Malzahn takes his team to the field for the first time.
A fresh start. More energy. Tempo.
That's from Malzahn's playbook, and from the first to implement the plan has been new strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell, who kicked off things in off-season workouts.
One of the first to line up for that work was Prosch, Auburn's weight room king/fullback/H-back/who-knows-what-else in Malzahn's offense.
"Things have been great. We brought in a new strength coach and a new program, and guys have gotten really excited," Prosch said Wednesday "We've come out with a new mentality and new work ethic, and guys have really gotten after it. We've really been doing it together."
Malzahn brought in Russell, who has followed the head coach's approach to, well, everything he does in the weight room.
"It's a little more fast-paced. Our whole thing with Coach Russell is tempo, tempo, tempo. It's an everybody-get-after-it type thing," Prosch said.
Prosch likes the idea of new energy, especially after last season's struggles.
"It's always good to have a fresh start. It's a new day. Everybody feels like they have a new chance to prove themselves. The change has been great for the team," he said.
The fresh start on offense begins with Malzahn and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.
"I'm really impressed how they came in and got everything started. I love both of them. I think they'll be great for Auburn," Prosch said.
Porsch's plan in spring practice is simple.
"Get back to hard-nosed Auburn football," he said.
Prosch transferred to Auburn before last season as primarily a blocking back from Illinois. The Tigers made sure he was rewarded for his hard work in 2012, giving him 12 carries, good for 38 yards and two touchdowns. He also had five catches for 19 yards.
"I started out as a straight hard-nosed fullback, really no shift, just I-formation. But it has been transformed more and more getting outside the box. It's even changing a little bit more. I'm excited about it," Prosch said.
Prosch says his work goes beyond the weight room and Xs and Os. There's leadership. "I feel like I have an obligation. It's kind of my team," he said. "I'd feel more that way if I had been here my whole college experience, but after being here last year, I feel like I've earned some respect from the guys. It's my senior year, and I'm going to do whatever I can to make it a successful year."