Spring Notebook, Day 13: Building versatility on OL

April 15, 2014


Auburn center Reese Dismukes says offensive line has had a productive spring (Todd Van Emst photo)

AUBURN, Ala. – As Auburn heads toward Saturday’s A-Day game, it’s not certain who will play what position on the offensive line or how much they will play.

Offensive line coach J.B. Grimes, who lost only left tackle Greg Robinson from last season’s Southeastern Conference champions, has looked at numerous combinations over the course of the spring. And backups could get more work Saturday than starters.

Sophomore left guard Alex Kozan, a freshman All-American last season, says it’s been a valuable experience.

“If your end goal is to get to the NFL, you need to be versatile,” Kozan said. “I take every challenge Coach gives me.”

All-SEC center Reese Dismukes says it’s been a productive spring for the offensive line overall.

“I think we’ve done a good job,” Dismukes said. “I think everybody has responded well and accepted coaching and has come out every day and worked hard to get better.”
--Phillip Marshall

Ellis Johnson says spring 2014 is different than spring 2013.

Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson says last spring he had "good, solid football players on the field" and a deep enough roster. Now, he says his defense is "making a lot of plays that we didn't make last spring."

"Familiarity within the system, making quicker and better adjustments on formations and playing better within the system and with each other, we're just a lot better," Johnson said. "We're a lot further along than we were at this time last year.

"We're feeling a lot better about our safeties now, and the depth there. We've got some incoming help in the front."
-- Charles Goldberg

Montravius Adams applying the pressure

They aren't knocking down quarterbacks in practice, but defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson says tackle-turned-end Montravius Adams has looked good applying pressure on Nick Marshall, Jeremy Johnson and company.

"Montravius really looked good out there as a pass rusher at times," Johnson said. "I don’t know if that’ll be a permanent consideration, but he’s certainly athletic enough to play out there."

Adams is at defensive end this spring because of injuries at the position.
-- Charles Goldberg

Reed wants to honor fallen teammate

Trovon Reed, who has moved from wide receiver to cornerback, is wearing No. 25 this spring, but he wants to wear No. 37 next season.

Reed wears No. 25 because of his admiration of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.

“My favorite cornerback is Richard Sherman,” Reed said. “The guys call me Sherm. I go out there and talk a lot. He’s one of the best in the game. I want to be the best.”

 But Reed hopes to talk fellow cornerback Kamryn Melton out of No. 37. He wants to honor the late Ladarious Phillips, killed in a shooting in the summer of 2012.

“I want to wear 37,” Reed said. “… I couldn’t wear it this spring because Kamryn Melton had it. We will work something out over the summer.”
--Phillip Marshall

Whitaker: Injured players stuck together

Defensive tackle Jeff Whitaker, back as a fifth-year senior, says he and other injured players were a close-knit group during last season.

“We were the injured clique,” Whitaker said with a laugh. “We used to go out to eat together and all that kind of stuff. We stuck together. They are my teammates, my little brothers. They call me the old man already, so I had to do some mentoring.”
--Phillip Marshall

Cornerback and former wide receiver Trovon Reed says quarterback Nick Marshall, his close friend, has matured over the course of the past year.

“He was mature already, but he’s more mature now,” Reed said. Marshall, Reed said, is determined to make amends for coming up short in the BCS Championship Game.

“He beats himself up all the time,” Rees said. He says ‘We could have won, we could have won.’ I believe in him 100 percent. I know he’s going to take us back to the promised land.”
--Phillip Marshall