Auburn redshirt freshman Nick Brahms will start again at center in the Tigers’ game against Southern Miss on Saturday.
Brahms made his first start of the season last Saturday in Auburn’s 34-3 victory over Arkansas.
Auburn steps out of SEC play for its game against Southern Miss set for 3 pm. in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Brahms replaced redshirt junior Kaleb Kim, who started Auburn’s first three games at center.
Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn announced that Brahms would be making his second start against Southern Miss during his regular press conference Tuesday.
“We thought he did some good things,” Malzahn said of Brahms. “There’s nothing like experience, getting out there and running the show. We thought he did a solid job with that last week, and expect him to improve.”
Auburn’s starting left tackle Prince Tega Wanogho said Brahms earned one of the highest marks among the Tigers’ offensive linemen in the coaches’ review after the Arkansas game.
“I thought his identification was pretty good,” Malzahn said. “That’s what you always worry about because he’s really the quarterback of up front directing the right way and all that. For the most part he did a solid job.
“Any time you put a new center in, you worry about illegal procedures and everything that goes with that. There was a couple of times our timing was off just a little bit, but the more he plays, the more comfortable he’ll get.”
Auburn’s offensive line was charged with one false start and one illegal-man-downfield call against Arkansas, with both being attributed to right tackle Jack Driscoll. Auburn’s offense was also charged on two delay-of-game calls. Brahms was not directly charged with a penalty in the game.
Auburn’s coaches made the switch from Kim to Brahms after the Tigers’ loss to LSU two Saturdays ago. Brahms entered fall camp on the bend after breaking his leg in the spring. Malzahn pointed to Brahms’ conditioning improving as camp went on, going into the early season, which led to him challenging for a starting spot.
Auburn’s offense mustered just 225 total yards in its win over Arkansas last Saturday, as the Tigers were led by the team’s defense and special teams units.
“I feel like we did actually take a step back, but we had just brought a new center into the game also,” Wanogho said, speaking with the media just after Malzahn. “Just working with him and practicing with him every day is going to bring chemistry for the whole O-line. We know we’ve got work to do, we know we’ve got a job to do.
“We’re not there yet, but we have to keep working every day and get better every day.”
Wanogho is aligned on the Tigers’ left side next to junior left guard Marquel Harrell.
Junior Mike Horton is starting at right guard, next to Driscoll, the Tigers’ transfer from UMass.
Brahms has stepped into the middle, between Harrell and Horton.
“He’s a really smart kid, so we kind of all knew that it wouldn’t be too much of a drop-off,” Driscoll said of Brahms.
“He did a great job ID’ing fronts and ID’ing ’backers, so as I said, I’m sure his chemistry will continue to grow with Marquel and Mike as he gets more rep. But he did a great job as a redshirt freshman making his first start in an SEC game.
“I mean, he couldn’t have played much better.”