AUBURN, Ala. -- Clint Moseley is a small-town guy about to arrive in college football's bigtime.
The sophomore quarterback for Auburn (No. 20 BCS, No. 19 AP) will make his first career start Saturday for the Tigers at No. 1 LSU, a daunting debut that he's embracing.
"It couldn't get any better," Moseley said Tuesday. "Aggressive defense. No. 1 team in the country. All the hype coming up to it. It's Death Valley. Yeah, it's a little nerve-racking, but at the same time how could you draw it up better?
"That's just the most dramatic situation you can think of. That's just awesome."
Moseley is replacing Barrett Trotter, who started the first seven games but completed only eight passes in the last six quarters for the nation's 106th-rated pass offense. The 6-foot-3, 223-pounder from tiny Leroy, Ala., has attempted nine career passes and all four completions came when he took over in the second half of last weekend's 17-6 win over Florida.
The two battled to replace Cam Newton through spring practice and into preseason camp. When Trotter won out, Moseley called it "the disappointment of my life" and admitted it took him a few days to get over.
He faded from the picture for a while, though Chizik and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said throughout that he not the increasingly utilized freshman Kiehl Frazier remained the top backup.
Moseley watched as Trotter started and Frazier played in the Wildcat role. When Mosley didn't get in the game in an easy win over Florida Atlantic on Sept. 24, he went the next day to Chizik's office for a heart-to-heart.
Chizik said they talked for about 90 minutes about football and "just about how to deal with different things in your life."
"When he left my office that day, I felt like he was a little bit more comfortable with where he was at and a little more comfortable in his own skin," the coach said.
"I think it was a productive meeting. I've seen him over the last couple of weeks improve and just kind of altogether probably come to grips with other things: being the quarterback at Auburn or being the backup or starter or whatever it may be. Just the challenges that come with it."
Challenge No. 1 as starter: Take on a playmaking LSU defense that ranks fourth nationally in total defense. And do it possibly without Auburn's injured two top receivers, Emory Blake and Trovon Reed, who Chizik said are "50-50" for the game.
Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen said he feels Moseley will be the quarterback "probably the rest of the season."
"I feel comfortable with either guy back there," Lutzenkirchen said. "And I think everyone on the offense feels the same way."
All in all, it's heady stuff for a kid who's virtually unknown outside the state. Moseley wasn't particularly highly recruited out of Leroy High School and a town of about 1,000 residents even though he was named Alabama's high school player of the year. When Auburn offered him a scholarship a few months before national signing day, his suitors were schools like UAB, Marshall, Arkansas State and South Alabama.
His biggest previous game was the state championship in Class 2A, Alabama's second-smallest classification. Now, it's soon to be LSU in front of 92,000 raucous fans.
"It's not that big of an adjustment," Moseley said straight-faced. "Sulligent was pretty fast defensively. They had some D-linemen, I think their biggest one was about 220 pounds. It won't be that big of an adjustment."
Then he smiled broadly.
"OK, maybe it's the best defense that I might possibly ever face," Moseley said. "That's why you come to Auburn. That's why you play in the SEC. That's why you have the big dreams.
"What bigger stage could I possibly play on? To get to start on it, I'm so blessed."