June 18, 2013
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN – At 6-foot-4 and 253 pounds, Auburn junior C.J. Uzomah can split out like the wide receiver he was when he arrived at Auburn or he can put his hand on the ground and block like the tight end he has become. At 6-feet and 247 pounds, senior Jay Prosch is a powerhouse blocker and runner.
Yet they play the same position. Sometimes.
In Gus Malzahn’s offense, the H-back plays a crucial role. Sometimes the H-back is a traditional tight end. Sometimes he’s a wide receiver. And sometimes he’s a fullback. Scott Fountain is responsible for coaching them all.
“In a perfect world, you have a guy that can split out, can put his hand down and play tight end and can move to the backfield and do the blocking and run routes form the backfield,” Fountain said. “That guy is very, very hard to find.
“Inevitably, in this offense, you find a guy that can be a real good tight end with his hand down and split out. Then you find a guy like Jay who can do things in the backfield. There are also some things we will be able to do with C.J. in the backfield. This spring, he really worked hard on his blocking back there. He’s a really good route-runner anyway. When you hear H-back/tight end, that’s what they mean. In a perfect world, they could all play all three play positions.”
But, alas, it’s not a perfect world. That’s why Prosch, an All-American fullback at Illinois before transferring to Auburn, won’t likely be on the field as much as his coaches wish he could be. And that’s why Uzomah won’t be in the backfield as much as Philip Lutzenkirchen, now gone to the NFL, once was.
“Where it hurts is you’d like to just be able to leave that guy in the game all the time,” Fountain said. “We just won’t be able to do that. I know the further we go into the season we will continue to expand his package.”
Junior Brandon Fulse, 6-foot-4 and 264 pounds will compete in the preseason with Uzomah. Redshirt freshman Ricky Parks, strong and swift at 6-foot-4 and 257 pounds, has the versatility to play all three positions and will likely be next in line behind Prosch.
“I tell people all the time I think tight end tight end might be the toughest job on the field, other than quarterback,” Fountain said. “You have to run block, pass block and run routes and occasionally run the football."
<em>Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter:</em><br>
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