BY RYAN BLACK | firstname.lastname@example.org
AUBURN, Ala. — Reese Dismukes isn’t worried about the right tackle position.
Auburn’s starting center knows whoever winds up winning the job — be it redshirt freshman Avery Young or sophomore Patrick Miller — will man it capably.
“They’re both coming out every day, competing hard and that’s what we need,” Dismukes said following Tuesday morning’s situational scrimmage. “They’re getting the best of each other and that’s what happens when you get a competition going like that. I think that they’re just doing the best they can and whichever one wins the job we’ll stick with.”
Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee wasn’t worried, either, saying both Young and Miller “are good players.” When the job is finally settled, Lashlee said it will also have implications for the rest of the offensive line.
“How does it work shuffling everything else, from backup guards to centers to left tackle, all those things will play into that (right tackle) position,” he said. “Those guys have really come along and gotten much better. Whoever wins that job will also alter how we go in with our top six, seven, eight linemen going into the game.”
Four spots on the line seemed set heading into the season, with Greg Robinson at left tackle, Alex Kozan at left guard, Chad Slade at right guard and Dismukes at center.
Kozan, specifically, has impressed Dismukes.
“He’s taking a big step in the film room,” he said. “Really just focusing on technique each and every day and just going out there every day and getting better. That’s the big thing he’s done. Still same guy he was in the spring. He’s just kind of set himself apart in the fall. I think that’s what he wanted to do and that’s what’s happening.”
Lashlee felt the same about Tunde Fariyike, noting the gains he has made snapping the ball after struggling during the spring. Though he’ll likely serve as Dismukes’ backup this season, Lashlee said Fariyike’s versatility makes him a valuable asset.
“He’s a guy that could maybe get in the mix at other spots on the line too in a reserve role,” Lashlee said. “I do think we’ve got three or four guys that can snap the football behind Reese, (who) certainly is kind of the leader and anchor of that unit. We got to be very cautious with him and he’s very important to us, but if something were to happen, we feel like we’ve got several options, with Tunde being one of them.”
Dismukes said he does his best to assist his teammates — linemen or otherwise — any way he can.
“My main goal is for us to win football games,” he said. “Whatever guy needs help out there, whether a receiver needs help or quarterback needs help, I just try to help them. I think everybody can be replaced.”