Oct. 13, 2013
Auburn head coach J.B. Grimes spent five seasons as Texas A&M’s offensive line coach (Todd Van Emst photo)
AUBURN, Ala. – Even against an overmatched homecoming opponent, the numbers were head-turning in Auburn’s 62-3 victory over Western Carolina on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
* 511 yards rushing on 43 carries.
* 11.9 yards per carry.
* No sacks.
* One quarterback hurry.
* 712 yards total offense.
Only the 1985 Auburn team, featuring Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson, rushed for more yards in a game. The 2013 Tigers now on the record for total yards in a game.
Auburn’s offensive line opened gaping holes for running backs. It fiercely protected quarterbacks Jeremy Johnson and Jonathan Wallace. But that’s nothing new, really. The Tigers have given up just four sacks in six games, fewest in the Southeastern Conference. They average 287 yards rushing per game.
Saturday, sophomore Avery Young started at right tackle in place of sophomore Pat Miller. There was no noticeable dropoff. By the time the game was over, every available offensive lineman and been in the game.
Offensive line coach J.B. Grimes says his players have improved steadily since the start of the season.
“The biggest thing is, when we got here, we knew we had some talented players,” Grimes said. “You can see that when you have guys like Greg Robinson, Reese Dismukes, Pat Miller and Chad Slade who have played a lot of football.
“We had to progress in the fundamentals and techniques and the little things it takes to fit up and play good offensive line football. Those are the things we’ve had to fix and, so far, these kids have bought in.”
Young, who started the first three games of last season, moved back into the lineup when Miller did not dress because of off-field issues. Young says it’s a team effort, regardless of who plays.
"Whoever is on top, we make sure we're helping each other out," Young said. "I'm looking out for him making sure he's doing his job, and he's doing the same for me."
Grimes will go into familiar territory when Auburn (5-1 overall and 2-1 in the SEC) plays at Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1) next Saturday. Kickoff time is 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised by CBS.
From 1998-2002, Grimes coached Texas A&M’s offensive line. His daughter, Lindsey Moreno, is a Texas A&M graduate.
“It’s a great place,” Grimes said. “The people at A&M are a lot like the Auburn people. They are good people. It’s amazing all the similarities, how they treat people when they come in. They are going to be real nice to you, and then they are going to try to kick your butt.”
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: