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SEC Media Days 2011: Phillip Lutzenkirchen, An Elder Statesman At Age 20

This update was written by Doug Gillett, live from Birmingham.

Two of the players Auburn brought to Media Days, receiver Emory Blake and tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, just turned 20 this past summer. Yet as one-third of the returning starters on Auburn's 2011 team, they're now the veteran leaders on the roster more or less by default.

"I've always considered myself a leader, I try to do the right thing," Lutzenkirchen said. "But it's just weird -- me and Emory just turned 20, and to think we're the 'old guys' on the team now, it's kind of strange."

That hasn't stopped Lutzenkirchen from being bullish on this year's team's chances, though -- "Like last year, people are underestimating us," he said. "But we've got the same mentality as last year, we don't really listen to the naysayers. We definitely have the talent, we just don't have the experience."

Among the noobs Lutzenkirchen singled out as having impressed him in spring practice: defensive tackle Angelo Blackson ("He's big, he's hard to move -- built like Nick Fairley, as crazy as that sounds for a freshman"), linebacker Chris Frost, and Quan Bray, who participated in summer drills even as his father was being arraigned for the fatal shooting of his mother. "Quan's had a lot to work through this summer, but he's done a great job, and we're looking forward to seeing him on the field," Lutzenkirchen said.

A Marietta native, Lutzenkirchen described Media Days as a "whirlwind." "Being from Georgia, you see some of the same reporters you saw back home," he said. "And you still feel like just some small-town kid."

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.