Auburn will be without one of the key pieces of its offensive line for the entirety of the 2014 season.

Following the Tigers' first practice of the fall, coach Gus Malzahn announced that Alex Kozan had recently undergone surgery on his back that would keep him sidelined this fall.

"He injured his back while he was home lifting during the summer. He came back, we tried to rehab it, do some different things and he tweaked it," the coach said of the third-year sophomore. "The doctors just felt like it was the best thing for him and his future to have surgery. He will miss the season."

Kozan, a native of Castle Rock, Colo., started all 14 games for the Tigers at left guard last season, playing well enough to be named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America. Big things were expected of him this season as well, as Kozan had already been named to the preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the nation's top interior lineman.