July 1, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN - J.B. Grimes was saying something about getting his achy knee checked out. The Auburn offensive line coach better. He'll have to stay in shape to keep up with center Reese Dismukes when fall practice begins next month.
"He leads every drill. It's a race for him to beat me there," Grimes says.
Grimes has penciled Dismukes into his starting lineup for 2013. He's got at least two others leading the way for offensive line starting jobs, too.
Dismukes admits he had uneven 2012. But Grimes says he didn't see that side of Dismukes in spring practice 2013. Grimes says he's received positive reports about Dismukes in summer workouts as well.
Starting over? It is for J.B. Grimes, who is in his first year as Auburn's offensive line coach, and for Dismukes, whose 2012 season included a one-game suspension and an injury that cost him another game.
"I made some mistakes, and that's a good thing and a bad thing. It made me grow up a lot, which I needed," Dismukes said in the spring.
Grimes said Monday that Dismukes has been a leader, starting with spring practice.
"I saw one of the finest guys that I've ever had on the field," Grimes said. "I saw a guy that was all business. I see a guy who really wants to win. I see a guy who was embarrassed what happened a year ago. All I've seen since I've been the offensive line coach is a guy who is doing everything we've asked to make our football team better - not just Reese Dismukes better, but our entire football team. He's working to make everybody better."
Dismukes and right guard Chad Slade have a leg up with Gus Malzahn's return to Auburn. Dismukes was an All-SEC freshman for Malzahn in 2011 before 2012's lost season.
Grimes said Greg Robinson "has a good solid lock" at left tackle.
Patrick Miller and Avery Young battled at right tackle in the spring. Alex Kozan and Devonte Danzey, rated the No. 1 junior college guard in the country last year, jockeyed for position at left guard.
"There's going to be competition for two or three of those positions going into fall camp," Grimes said.
All but Danzey was around last season on an offensive line that, despite some problems, helped Tre Mason rush for 1,000 yards.
"You look at the tape from last year and they did some good things. It wasn't like these guys all of the sudden became really bad football players. That's not the case," Grimes said.
Grimes is also encouraged about summer workouts overall.
"I know there's a lot of excitement with our football team. I know there's a tremendous amount of work going on behind the scenes that the average fan doesn't see," Grimes said. "But I know around the middle of July, they'll be tired of the working out stuff and be ready to go play some football."
Charles Goldberg writes for AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine