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Auburn's offensive line changes things up, keeps going
Oct. 1, 2014

Auburn's Reese Dismukes holding steady in the middle of the offensive line

By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala.  The left guard and right guard flipped positions before the game. But when the right tackle got hurt for Auburn last week, well…
"We had to play some musical chairs," said offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.
Auburn will spend this week trying to lock down its starters in the offensive line before playing host to LSU at 6 p.m. Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday night. In any case, Auburn stands ready with players who know multiple positions.
Last Saturday, Chad Slade and Avery Young swapped positions before the Louisiana Tech game, but when right tackle Pat Miller suffered an injury early, more changes were on the way. 
It started like this: Slade started at right guard and Young at left guard after flipping positions. But when Miller suffered an injury, after about 15 plays, Young moved to right tackle and Devonte Danzey came in at left guard. All the while, Reese Dismukes stayed steady at center, as did Shon Coleman at left tackle.
The Tigers say they're ahead of this game because they've worked different players at different positions all of spring and the fall. Still, Auburn is hoping Miller will be back in the lineup for LSU.
"We'll know more each day," said coach Gus Malzahn.
Auburn was already dealing with season-ending injuries to starting offensive lineman Alex Kozan and backup Jordan Diamond. The injuries, or at least the potential of them, had Auburn working players out across the line in the offseason. That paid off last Saturday.
"It helped a lot because you already knew what to expect playing on the left side or on the right side," Danzey said. "Once you jump in, you never know what position may go down, so you're already a step ahead."

Center Reese Dismukes is the most senior member of the offensive line.
"Obviously, we’ve had an injury or two and there is some mix and matching going on, but whoever is out there with us, we’re going to continue to work and continue to get better, which we need to do," he said.  
Dismukes has made a team-high 41 starts. He says he can deal with the comings and goings around him.
"Throughout camp and throughout the weeks, you work with different guys here and there," he said. "It’s not totally new if there has to be a new guy in there. It’s obviously going to be a different challenge than working with the same guy every day, but it won’t be too bad."
Dismukes said the most challenging part is the "just chemistry, just working with the same guy every day. With the offensive line you’ve got to have five guys on the same page and doing the same thing and knowing how one guy is going to react to this situation or that situation. You just have to continue to work on that."
Lashlee said the offensive line adjusted on the fly last weekend.
"Physically, we did well when we were locked on. When you move a guy, like Avery started the game and he popped out to tackle real quick. I thought Devonte Danzey did a good job of stepping in there and playing well for us," Lashlee said.
Danzey said he succeeded because "I didn't overthink it. I just played as if it was practice, just rattling along with the other players like the senior leaders. Reese told me just to rally behind him and keep playing as I play in practice."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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