AUBURN | No. 13 Auburn knew it wasn’t getting a finished product when Prince Tega Wanogho won the starting left tackle position during preseason practice.
The Nigeria native was just starting his fourth year of playing football and had moved from defensive end to offensive tackle just a year earlier.
Still, Wanogho’s potential is high and Auburn’s players and coaches are already seeing progress.
“He's definitely made some strides,” said senior offensive lineman Braden Smith, who has started 31 career games. “It always takes a little bit of time to kind of get your feet within yourself and get a feel for it, but he's come a long way.”
The Tigers’ offensive line allowed 14 sacks in the first two games and just two since. The improvement of Wanogho has played a part in the turnaround.
“I think Prince Tega is continually getting better each week,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “You're talking about a guy that this is his first rodeo. From a line standpoint, there's a lot of moving parts. I think he's getting more and more comfortable each week.”
What has Malzahn and really anybody that comes in contact with Wanogho excited is the sophomore’s attitude and work ethic.
“The big thing that stands out to me about Prince is it's so important to him,” Malzahn said. “And he is probably harder on himself than a coach would be. He takes things personal. He's got a lot of pride.
“My experience is, the guys like that they have a chance, if they're talented like he is, they've got a chance to be really good before it's all said and done.”
Auburn hosts No. 24 Mississippi State Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. CT on ESPN.