The Loss of Joe Cope Could Mean Huge Problems For Second-Ranked Auburn
Ask anyone on the Tiger coaching staff what player they can least stand to lose and they will tell you Brandon Cox. Ask them who the second one is and they’ll say center Joe Cope. He means that much to the team. Now the Tigers are facing at least four weeks and possibly more after Cope suffered a severe knee sprain in Thursday’s win over South Carolina.
After losing tight-end Cole Bennett to an ankle break in the LSU game, the Auburn offensive line is suddenly very thin. We could see some serious juggling of positions Saturday when the Tigers welcome Arkansas to Jordan-Hare Stadium. The plan now is to go with back-up center Jason Bosley. The sophomore from Huntsville has seen very limited playing time this season. Last year he played in the Western Kentucky and Ball State games.
Cope has been a dependable workhorse at center for the past two seasons. He started in 11 games last season and was named the SEC’s Offensive Lineman of the Week after the Georgia game. He missed the Iron Bowl because of an injury. If Bosley doesn’t work out, it appears now that tackle Jonathan Palmer will move over to the center position. That would result in a domino effect across the offensive line.
The timing couldn’t be worse for the Auburn line. They are fifth worse in the SEC in sacks allowed with 13. That’s more than half the total the 2005 team gave up. On a positive note, senior offensive guard Tim Duckworth was named the SEC’s Offensive Lineman of the Week for his play against South Carolina. He paved the way for running back Kenny Irons 117 yard performance. He’ll be a key in Auburn winning their next two against the Razorbacks and Florida.
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