Dismukes Eager To Put On the Pads

Auburn center Reese Dismukes, a Freshman All-SEC selection last year, talks about the upcoming football season for his Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--With seven new offensive linemen on the roster for the 2012 football season, center Reese Dismukes says he is expecting plenty of competition for playing time on the Auburn offensive front when preseason practices begin in August.

"No one is guaranteed a spot, I am not even guaranteed a spot," says Dismukes, who started all 13 games last season while earning Freshman All-SEC honors in 2011.

"I think that all drives us to work a lot harder," Dismukes says of the competition. "I know it is driving me to work a lot harder. I am not trying to give up my spot to anybody. I am going to try to have it until I am gone. That is how I look at it and how I think other people look at it."

Because of a shortage of offensive linemen on the roster last season, Coach Gene Chizik and his staff focused on signing players at those positions in the 2012 class. Dismukes notes that was a good idea.

"It's good to have depth," he says. "Look at last year-- you didn't know who was going to come in if you went down and you have duct tape strapped to you pretty much. It's good to know there are people behind you that can help out."

While Dismukes notes that he hasn't had a chance to get to know all of the new offensive linemen yet, he has worked a lot with the two early graduates in the group, tackles Patrick Miller and Shane Callahan, who arrived at Auburn in January. Those tackles got a head start on their freshman seasons just like Dismukes did when he graduated early from Spanish Fort High after leading his team to the Alabama Class 5A state championship.

"Miller and Callahan work out with us and they have been doing really good," Dismukes says. "I would say they are where I was, at least, or where I was last year. They have both gained a lot of weight and that was something they needed to do. They still have a lot more to gain, but as far as workouts go from what I've seen they have been doing a really good job."

Despite losing the two senior starters from last year, tackles Brandon Mosley and A.J. Greene, the goal for the offensive line is not going to change in 2012 even though as a sophomore Dismukes has more starts than any other offensive lineman on the team.

The center says that position coach Jeff Grimes has told the group that he expects the starting offensive line to be the "toughest five in the country." "That (goal) is not going to change as long as we're here at Auburn," Dismukes adds. "That's how my mindset is and the rest of us are as far as it goes up front. That's the standard that Coach Grimes sets and that's the standard that we're going to try to uphold."

Dismukes says workouts are much tougher this summer than a year ago and adds that veteran players on the team have the same opinion. "I have heard from three or four of the older guys that have been here for three years and they said this has been by far the hardest summer they've been through," he says.

"I think last year with the facility situation (construction) we kind of had to designate which days we would run and lift and that kind of thing. We have got access to the indoor (practice facility) so we can run pretty much any given day. That's kind of how it has been going. We have been getting after it pretty good as far as running and lifting goes."

Asked if the reason for the tougher workouts is partly the result of having new coordinators with Scot Loffler taking over the offense and Brian VanGorder running the defense, the sophomore says he does not believe that is the case. "It's just us coming off an 8-5 season and needing to improve and getting after it," the sophomore says. "We need much improvement as far as last year goes and that is kind of what we have been looking for."

In addition to the conditioning drills, the offensive linemen have been doing their own voluntary workouts helping prepare the newcomers for preseason drills. He notes the 2012 signees who arrived this summer are still figuring things out. The sophomore notes they look like "deer in headlights."

That doesn't mean one or more of the new arrivals won't step up and contribute this fall, the center says. "You never know what's going to happen, it's crazy, You have got to work as hard as you can and step it up to the next level, I guess you could say. You're seeing the best here in this league."

After being named to the conference All-Freshmen team and a Freshman All-American last year, Dismukes was recently named to the watch list for the 2012 Rimington Trophy, which is presented annually to the nation's top college center.

"All that stuff really doesn't matter," he says. "It's an honor to be nominated for it, but at the end of the day it's not going to make a big difference to me whether I win it or not as long as we make it to the Georgia Dome (for the SEC Championship Game). That's our goal and it's going to stay the same no matter what award anyone is nominated for."

Dismukes is shown during a 2012 spring practice. The sophomore says he feels like he has made major strides as a football player as he heads into his second season with the Tigers.

With less than a month remaining until preseason practice starts, Dismukes says the hard work is paying off. He notes that he has lost five percent of his body fat and he is quicker and feels better.

"I'm trying to move some stuff around that's not so good," he says about his body. "I'm probably about 290 right now and running pretty good. I move a lot better. I'm in a lot better shape. Around the season I'm going to be playing at 295-300."

Pointing out he is already fully in "the grind" for his second year of college football, Dismukes says he is eager to put the pads on and play a football game. "I'm ready for September 1, I can tell you that," he says. "I'm ready to play in the Georgia Dome, step on that field, put on the AU and let's go. I'm ready to go."

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