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Offensive line 'answers the bell' against LSU

The Auburn offensive line has been a work in progress all season, but since it solidified a starting five, it’s started to improve.

Head coach Gus Malzahn was pleased with the line’s performance.

“To be able to run for 206, to give up no sacks—and there was stress going into this deal, because No. 8, he’s a nightmare, and there’s some other guys that are really good too. To give up zero sacks says a lot about our offensive line,” Malzahn said. “They really answered the bell today. I think that’s the fourth game in a row we rushed for 200 yards; I don’t remember the last time we did that in SEC play four straight times. We did some things we can build on.”

While both stats were impressive, starting left tackle Alec Jackson was happier that the line didn’t give up any sacks.

“No quarterback sacks. Because, you know, we always preach about trying to keep Bo clean,” Jackson said. “So I think we grew a lot since the Georgia game, every single week. We've got a bye week coming up, so we'll get some guys rested up and ready.”

Bo Nix carries the ball with left tackle Alec Jackson trailing.
Bo Nix carries the ball with left tackle Alec Jackson trailing. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)

The offensive line ran into a hiccup when its most versatile piece and starting right guard Brandon Council was injured and ruled out for the season against Ole Miss, but Keiondre Jones slotted in for the LSU game and the line continued to improve.

While he hadn’t started until Saturday, Jones had appeared in all of Auburn’s games up to this point.

“I think he played well,” Jackson said about Jones. “We always preach next man up, especially during these days. So we're always preaching next man up, and he did his job. He did it.”

At quarterback, Bo Nix has seen the offensive line continue to improve and provide him more time in the pocket.

“Those guys, they’ve had the talent the whole entire time, and now the experience is kicking in,” Nix said. “We’re really seeing that, especially the last two weeks, when we’ve run for 200-plus both games. That’s huge when you can run the ball, especially for 200 yards. Coach Malzahn said if we run the ball for 200 yards or more, we’ll win the game, and sure enough, we did.”

Now as Auburn heads into a bye week, it has a solidified starting offensive line that’s starting to get more and more confident.

“It’s great for their confidence. I’m just excited for each and every one of them,” Nix said about the offensive line. “They deserve all this. They’re battlers and hard-workers. They started off, like you said, they started off getting beat down, this, that and the other, but they’ve responded great.”


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