Lutzenkirchen ready for new offensive role

HOOVER, Ala. -- Philip Lutzenkirchen doesn’t come close to resembling a diva.

He’s too rugged and barrel-chested for that sort of persona.

But Auburn’s senior tight end can’t help but be a little excited about having the chance to expand his personal limelight as he steps into more of a pass-catching role for the Tigers this fall.

“To get back to the opportunity where I’m going to be thrown at seven to 10 times a game, like coach [Scot] Loeffler said, is very exciting,” Lutzenkirchen said Wednesday.

Lutzenkirchen, who caught 24 passes for 238 yards and 7 touchdowns last season, can thank the NCAA and new fullback Jay Prosch for his new-found happiness. Prosch transferred from Illinois this spring and was cleared by the NCAA to play immediately.

Prosch will take over some of the blocking responsibilities that Lutzenkirchen had as more of an H-back in Gus Malzahn’s offense. That means Lutzenkirchen can move out to be more of a traditional tight end and help the Tigers’ passing game, which is full of unproven talent. He expects to not just help out underneath but stretch the field at times, too.

“It’s been a real blessing in disguise to have Jay transfer to Auburn and take on that true fullback role that I’ve been playing the past two seasons in coach Malzahn’s offense,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot of the blocking responsibility off me.

“It’ll take a lot of hits off of me.”

He also anticipates being very helpful to Auburn’s young quarterbacks and offensive line. He expects the Tigers to meet a lot of early-season blitzes from opponents because of its youth and he’ll turn into a nice option underneath for either Kiehl Frazier or Clint Moseley.

“For whoever does start at quarterback, I’m going to be a pretty valuable weapon and short third downs,” he said.