A three-time all-conference selection while at Lemont High School, Tim McAuliffe redshirted his first year at Bowling Green before becoming a full-time starter at center for the Falcons last fall.
Heading into this season, the 6-foot, 275-pounder has been named to the Rimington Award preseason watch list; the award is given to the nation’s top center. Also on that list is former Lemont teammate Ethan Pocic.
Before starting preparations for the college football season, McAuliffe spoke with Suburban Life sports reporter Scott Schmid about being on the Rimington watch list, his first season as a starter last year, and the Falcons’ prospects for 2015.
Schmid: What has your summer consisted of thus far?
McAuliffe: We’ve been training all summer; I got back to Bowling Green on June 1. I’m also taking one class [economics]. It’s a six-week course.
Schmid: Are you looking forward to the 2015 season? What are your thoughts on the team?
McAuliffe: I’m really excited about the team. We have 11 starters returning on offense; not every guy started every game but there are 11 guys that have starting experience. So we have a lot of talent coming back. We have less experience on defense, but we have a new defensive coordinator and I really like the stuff they were doing in the spring.
Schmid: How special was it to be named to the Rimington Award watch list along with former teammate Ethan Pocic?
McAuliffe: It’s always nice to get recognition, especially as an offensive lineman. We put in a lot of work but don’t always get the attention everyone else does. And it’s crazy that me and Pocic both made the list. That’s probably the only time two guys from the same high school and same graduating class made the Rimington list at the same time. [Editor’s note – officials affiliated with the Rimington Trophy could neither confirm nor deny that fact].
Schmid: What was last season like for you individually, becoming a full-time starter?
McAuliffe: It was awesome. Everything went by so fast. I had to battle through some injuries last year but it was an awesome experience. And I learned a lot. It was a great baseline for what I need to get better at and what I do well. It was an eye-opening experience and showed what I need to improve on.
Schmid: Was it a big transition going from high school to college?
McAuliffe: It was huge, definitely a big jump. The speed obviously picks up and everyone is an elite player. Everyone is a Division I athlete and there is really great competition every day. You have to show up every day. You can’t take days or plays off.
Schmid: Having said that, how did playing for Lemont prepare you for the next level?
McAuliffe: We had a really great coaching staff at Lemont. Coach [Eric] Michaelsen did a great job. Look at Lemont the past 10 years, we’ve had a lot of Division I offensive lineman come out of there, so they are doing something right. And I think it really showed; there was definitely a learning curve [when I got to Bowling Green], but I picked some stuff up pretty quickly.
Schmid: Have you always been an offensive lineman? When did you start playing center?
McAuliffe: I started playing center when I was in sixth grade and I’ve always been an offensive lineman. I’ve never really touched the ball. I think I have one career carry. Growing up, you always want to be a wide receiver and quarterback and all that fun stuff but playing offensive line is deceiving fun. You get to fly around and hit some people. You can’t beat that.
About Tim McAuliffe
College: Bowling Green
Year: Redshirt sophomore
High school: Lemont