-- The broken bone in Avery Young's hand did not provide the immediate flair of pain one would expect when a thumb cracks after bending the wrong way.
But the pain did come, and when it did Auburn's right tackle couldn't help but wince from the excruciating injury.
"Scale from 1 to 10," said the right tackle, "it was like 100."
The injury occurred on the first play of the BCS National Championship. Young was on the biggest stage of his career, and already a crucial component to his position -- his right hand -- was out of commission.
Well, maybe it would have forced any normal man to trot to the sideline and ask for his backup.Auburn offensive lineman Avery Young broke his right hand in the BCS National Championship, but toughed it out and continued playing with the injury. The sophomore is vying for playing time -- and will likely start -- at right tackle and right guard for Auburn three months after suffering the injury.
Young instead opted to stay in the game. His arm slumped to his side and unable to perform a simple task, he looked to his right guard, Chad Slade, and asked him to buckle his chin strap. He tried to hide the injury from offensive line coach J.B. Grimes as well.
During a timeout Young pointed to his hand and told a trainer to "tape it up." He didn't leave the game.
"I had to kick, get my hands on them," Young said. "Basically the whole game I'm blocking with four fingers and nobody knows it. I felt I held my ground pretty good."
Young did just that, and even came through on the play in which he broke his thumb: a corner blitz from the right side.
Later, with 1:19 remaining in the game, he provided a crucial block on Tre Mason's 37-yard touchdown run. The touchdown put the Tigers ahead and, for the time being, appeared to provide them with yet another miracle finish.
Moments later, Florida State completed a miracle drive of its own to win the game on a touchdown pass with 13 seconds remaining.
Three months later Young is back on the field,. He moved inside last week -- he wears a brace to protect his hand -- in an effort to build depth along the offensive front. The move might stick, too, meaning Slade will likely make way for the sophomore at the position.
Young's story since his arrival on campus is all about consistency.Auburn offensive lineman Avery Young (56) and offensive lineman Eric Averett (79) work out Tuesday, March 25, 2014, during spring football practice at the Auburn Athletic Complex in Auburn, Ala. (Julie Bennettemail@example.com)
"Obviously, we know what we re getting with Avery," coach Gus Malzahn said earlier this spring.
The 6-foot-6, 309-pound Young certainly has the potential to play four positions on the offensive line. Many thought he could move to left tackle to replace the NFL-bound Greg Robinson, but it was Patrick Miller who made the move to the left side at the beginning of spring practices.
, but it's not certain if his move to the left side will be permanent. Shon Coleman appears to be making a move at possibly winning the left tackle job.
"I like playing next to Avery. He s real fast," Miller said. "I feel like I m a faster offensive lineman, too. I like the speed where he s at, but I ll play wherever they want me to."
Young has plenty to learn at guard, where he is learning new techniques and polishing his footwork. "There's a big difference," he said.
Playing next to Miller could prove to be the strong side of Auburn's offensive line if the moves stick. Otherwise the two could bookend the offensive line if Miller moves back to left tackle and Young moves to the right.
"The thing about Avery is that you can see he really matured last year," offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. "I think he could develop into a big leader for us up there along with (center) Reese (Dismukes) and (left guard Alex) Kozan."Thank you for subscribing. You should receive your first newsletter within 24 hours. To view and subscribe to any of our other newsletters, please .