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A tough guy in the middle: Auburn's Dismukes leads way

Aug 13, 2013

Center Reese Dismukes says he learned early about hard work (Todd Van Emst photo)

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By Phillip Marshall

AUBURN, Ala. - In the heat and humidity of south Alabama summers, Reese Dismukes didn't sleep late. He didn't hang out with his friends. That wasn't the way things worked at his house.

Ed Dismukes owned a plumbing company in Spanish Fort. Reese, his youngest son, was expected to work. Work Reese did, and he developed a toughness that would serve him well on the football field.

"In the summer I was hitting nail guards in houses," said Dismukes, heading toward his third season as Auburn's starting center. "I wasn't a kid that just got to sleep in and play video games. I was working at a young age."

Dismukes celebrated when his father got a tractor, meaning he no longer had to dig ditches, his least favorite part of the plumbing business. But even when he wasn't working for his father, he was working somewhere.

"I was working somewhere, no matter what," Dismukes said. "I was always doing something. That's how I was raised."

On the football field, Dismukes' toughness, uncanny quickness for a big man and intelligence became a dynamic combination. By his senior season at Spanish Fort High School, he was one of the top prospects in the South and some said the top center prospect in the country. He chose Auburn over Alabama.

The road hasn't always been easy. Dismukes was suspended for the opener last season and missed another game because of injury. He suffered with his teammates through a 3-9 season. But as last season ended, he went to work with new determination.

It didn't take first-year offensive line coach J.B. Grimes to see that his center was no ordinary guy.

"The guy is a warrior," Grimes said. "I'd take that dude anywhere. He's what you are looking for right down the middle of your football team. The grind isn't getting to him. He's too tough. I like that toughness. He's mentally tough, too. He could play any position out there and not miss an assignment. He's played a lot of saps at Auburn, and it shows. He's been there and done that and he's leading us."

Dismukes says there is a different feel on the offensive line as the Aug. 31 opener against Washington State rushes closer.

"By far," Dismukes said. "I'm in my third year and definitely more comfortable. As a whole, I think we are more confident than we ever have been with the experience and the depth we have everywhere."

Dismukes signed in 2011 to play in then-offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's offense, only to see Malzahn leave to be Arkansas State head coach when the season was over. A year later, Malzahn was back as head coach and the hurryup, no-huddle offense was back with him.

 Dismukes says he expects big results in a big hurry.

"I think there was maybe one day we didn't go out there and get better," Dismukes said. "Other than that, I think we've gone out there and gotten better every day."


Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for Follow Marshall on Twitter:




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