July 13, 2014
Auburn went from SEC Media Days to SEC Champions in 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Reese Dismukes has been mentioned this preseason for a couple of national awards, but the Auburn center shrugs that off to talk about the bigger task at hand.
"As long as your team is playing well and your team is winning football games, you're going to be in the hunt for one of those," Dismukes said. "But my main concern is for this team, just trying to lead by example and win football games. All that other stuff will take care of itself."
Auburn begins its football season Aug. 30 at home against Arkansas, but one of the sure signs there's already been a change of seasons is SEC Media Days, 2014 style, in Hoover on Monday. Auburn, with Dismukes, Gabe Wright and now C.J. Uzomah in for Nick Marshall, will kick off the proceedings, the first of 14 teams to address the media over the next four days.
The Tigers will be long gone before the league announces the media's predicted order of finish on Thursday. No loss there considering the media has correctly predicted the SEC champion only four times in the last 22 seasons. The media said Auburn would finish fifth in the SEC West last year. The Tigers, of course, finished first.
Auburn will surely be a hot topic this time, however. The Tigers, the SEC champion, played in the national championship game just last season.
Pundits are saying Auburn will be good again, and one reason is a veteran offensive line anchored by Dismukes, already on the watch lists for the Outland Trophy, which goes to the best interior lineman in the country; and the Rimington Trophy, which goes to the top center.
Dismukes says he's happy enough to tell the Auburn story Monday.
"Last year at this time one of my goals was to represent the school," he said. "It's a huge honor and I'm excited to go and represent my teammates and this university."
And try to lead the nation in rushing again. Auburn did it last year, and returns four of the five starting linemen who helped pave the way.
Alas, Auburn won't sneak up on anybody this year. Last year, with Gus Malzahn as the new head coach, the Tigers were something of an unknown commodity.
"We knew we were going to win football games and we knew we were going to be decent," Dismukes said. "But we didn't know what was in store with all the crazy things that were going to happen. We just went out there and we worked and we worked, and got better every day, and that's how we bought into the system.
"It takes time for coaches to trust players, and players to trust coaches. That's the difference this year. Everybody knows this system works and do what the coaches say, and good things will happen."
Dismukes said the Tigers can do it with another dose of old-school football, as told by offensive line coach J.B. Grimes.
"Coach Grimes does a great job with us, and he's old school, and we're a bunch of old-school guys," Dismukes said. "We're going to go out there, and really not talk that much, but we're going to get after it. That comes from him and it's really been instilled in us. We've really bought in and believe in it."
Why? It works.
"People around this league know. We led the nation in rushing. I don't think that's a gimmick. You can't do that and not be a physical team."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AbuurnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine