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Auburn Position Preview: Offensive Line

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We're on the offensive side of the ball, now. Let's take a look at the offensive line.

How will the Tigers fare without this guy?
How will the Tigers fare without this guy?
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Key Losses:

Greg Robinson, Alex Kozan (Injury)

Key Returnees:

Reese Dismukes, Pat Miller, Avery Young, Shon Coleman, Chad Slade

Newcomers:

Braden Smith, Xavier Dampeer

Causes for optimism:

Reese Dismukes may be one of the best centers in college football and is fantastic at what he does. He will provide an excellent anchor for whatever the ultimate line up for this unit is. Pat Miller has been a stalwart on the line for two years. Avery Young was a bright spot as a true freshman and gave us one of the best reactions to the Kick Six out there:

Ohmyauburn_medium_medium

via cdn0.sbnation.com

Shon Coleman should step in as the starter in place of Greg Robinson. Replacing Robinson will be tough, but I think Shon is up to the task. Shon was a 5* recruit when he was signed and has had a few years to mature after going through cancer and overcoming it in an amazing battle. Chad Slade is a senior adding experience to the line. If someone else should go down, don't forget Jordan Diamond. Diamond was starting in 2012 before injuries hampered his playing time. Then there is the man of many nicknames, true-freshman Braden Smith. Discussion has indicated that Smith could definitely see playing time this year. I've written about my thoughts on redshirting, and Smith is an excellent example of my point. I believe Smith will see the field a decent amount this season. It may be in a role similar to the one Shon Coleman filled last year: put an eligible number on him and line him up as a blocking tight-end, but it's hard to keep someone that talented off the field.

Causes for concern:

We have to replace Greg Robinson and Alex Kozan. Robinson was a 1st round draft pick, and I believe that if he gets healthy, Kozan will be as well when he leaves Auburn. Kozan was an absolute road-paver for Auburn last season. Losing Robinson alone would have been tough, but I'm confident in Shon Coleman to replace him with little or no serious drop off. Losing Robinson AND Kozan takes us from one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country to... well, still one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country. Even without Kozan, Auburn is now only second in the SEC (were tied with South Carolina with 113) in terms of combined starts by the offensive line. This is assuming no shake-up in the line-up of Coleman, Slade, Dismukes, Young, Miller. It's not going to be as smooth as it could have been, but the offensive line should still be one of the strengths of the team.

Next up: Wide Receivers/TEs