AUBURN | Mike Horton could have been the odd man out again this fall.
The third-year sophomore was Auburn’s sixth offensive lineman last season and with the addition of two offensive line graduate transfers this summer, there was a chance Horton would have to serve in that capacity for a second-straight year.
Horton, however, had other ideas. He’s been working with the first-team at guard for a good portion of fall camp and could be closing in on a starting job.
“I think I'm doing pretty well,” Horton said. “I just try to take it one day at a time. You can't let anything that happens affect how you perform on the field. If you have a bad day, you have a bad day. You've just got to pick it up the next day.”
Horton has been working mainly at left guard the past week where he’s lining up beside fellow sophomore Prince Tega at left tackle and senior Austin Golson at center. Wilson Bell, who started 18 career games at guard for Florida State, and Casey Dunn, who was a FCS All-American center at Jacksonville State, were with the second-team for first portion of Saturday’s scrimmage.
“I think the competition has definitely helped us because when you have competition, everybody’s going to want to put their best stuff out there, so definitely we’re learning a lot about ourselves,” Horton said. “We’re learning that different people can play different spots, so that’s definitely going to help us, especially later in the season.”
If Horton does earn a starting position, he can point to last year’s work as the extra offensive linemen that helped lay the groundwork. Robert Leff and Braden Smith followed similar paths to the starting lineup the previous two seasons.
“I think being that sixth lineman this year, it helped me to have more confidence in myself,” Horton said. “I think that's the biggest thing, transitioning and trying to earn that starting job. It's like I kind of know what to expect now. I think that's the biggest part.”
Another big plus for Horton has been his willingness to compete and a hard-nosed mentality.
“I shouldn't even be playing football if I'm not determined to try to start,” he said.