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The Auburn football team’s hopes at returning to the college football title game took a big hit on Friday when head coach Gus Malzahn confirmed that starting left guard Alex Kozan will miss the entire 2014 season.
Kozan injured his back while lifting weights at his home in Colorado. He underwent surgery to repair the injury but will not be able to suit up the whole season.
"That's not what you want to hear," starting center Reese Dismukes said, reports The Ledger Enquirer. "One of your guys, especially you put a lot of work with, to go down. It's tough — and not like heartbreaking — but you ache and hurt for him knowing he wants to be out there with the guys. You've just got to be there for him and work with him and hope for the best for him."
Kozan started all 14 games for the Tigers last season as a redshirt freshman. He was named a freshman All-American and made the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Entering this season, he was on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, which is presented to the nation’s top interior lineman. Athlon Sports also named him to their preseason All-America third team and preseason All-SEC first team, according to Auburn’s athletics website.