Auburn Opening with Inexperienced Offensive Line

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Why isn't Brandon Cox more nervous?

No. 18 Auburn's left-handed quarterback enters the season opener Saturday night against Kansas State with two new players protecting
his blind side on the offensive line. He'll take snaps from a new starter at center, who will work beside a new left guard.

Cox brushes off the image of Kansas State pass rushers blowing past an inexperienced blocker and plowing into him from behind.

He said it's happened before and he just takes it in stride.

Actually, it happened quite frequently last season even with the four now departed starters. The Tigers allowed a whopping 35 sacks.

Now, take that oft-victimized group and leave only left tackle King Dunlap behind. Then, plug in freshman right tackle Lee Ziemba as the probable starter Saturday, and put redshirt freshman Mike Berry at right guard.

Plus, insert junior Tyronne Green, an experienced backup, at left guard.

It's a recipe for trouble early in the season, right?

Coach Tommy Tuberville might disagree. He said the Tigers haven't had this much capable depth on the offensive line during his tenure, even if some of those players have more talent than experience.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)