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November 27, 2013

Tightly knit

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AUBURN | Nosa Eguae thinks fellow defensive lineman Dee Ford will cry at some point this week.

The tears have nothing to do with Alabama. Ford, Eguae and several other seniors will play their final game inside Jordan-Hare Stadium this weekend. It'll be a bittersweet moment regardless of the game's outcome and Eguae believes Ford's emotional side will get the best of him.

"He may cry," Eguae said with a blank stare earlier this week. "Dee Ford is a little more emotional than me."

Ford initially recoiled a day later when confronted with Eguae's prediction, but changed his tune after pondering the idea.

"We're total opposites. He's very mellow and cool. I'm very emotional and loud and crazy and wild. I don't know about crying; I don't think I would cry."

A reporter then asked if Ford, a talented musician, would consider serenading his teammates at some point prior to kickoff.

"They have a piano at the hotel," Ford said with a smile. "I might play a farewell song. I don't know. I might cry -- you never know."

Ford and Eguae have been making opponents emotional for different reasons during the past five seasons. They both signed with Auburn in early 2009, swayed by the promises of Gene Chizik and his coaching staff, and spent their college careers learning to thrive despite being undersized.

Ford arrived at 190 pounds and knew something had to be done. The native of St. Clair County dedicated himself to becoming the team's most dedicated worker inside the weight room, flooring trainers and teammates alike with boundless energy.

Even fullback Jay Prosch, widely considered the Tigers' strongest player, said last week that Ford is on a different level.

"I think Dee is a little more obsessive than I am," Prosch said with a smile. "Dee works out all the time. He'll wake up before everybody and go work out -- and he eats everything healthy. He's extreme."

Eguae may not match Ford's achievements near the weight bench, but the Texas native has become a valued member of the organization in other ways. He's found a niche this season as a three-technique tackle, which seems like an odd job description considering Eguae weighs only 275 pounds.

Most of the blockers he faces are at least 305 pounds.

Yet Eguae's quickness and long arms allow him to separate from blockers and negatively affect the running game. That gives him credibility on the field.

His ability to speak authoritatively makes him an important presence off the field as well. Eguae addresses the team prior to every game and has no problem taking action against younger players who fall short of expectations.

Ford and Eguae may work in different ways, but they remain united at all times.

"We came in together. We've played the same position. We've worked together," Eguae said. "When we get a little time off, we go shopping. We do all that. That's a brother. I've got brothers -- guys that, way past football, when the football is over, those are the guys that are going to be in my wedding and be my kids' godfathers. That's what it's all about."



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