AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn’s offensive line has struggled at times this season. They’ve also, head coach Gus Malzahn said on Tiger Talk on Thursday night, been a little ‘banged up.’
Malzahn said that the physical game against LSU last Saturday, in which running back Kamryn Pettway suffered a bruised quad, also left his starting center Xavier Dampeer suffering from undisclosed minor injuries.
“Our center was banged up in the second half,” Malzahn said. “He showed a lot of guts and a lot of courage, didn’t want to come out. Just hung in there. Did a good job, and that group is growing.”
Dampeer suffered a broken jaw just four games into the 2015 season and missed the rest of the year. Malzahn was excited about his progress in the offseason, but did touch on his injury history.
“He’s done a good job in spring. He’s done a good job in fall camp,” Malzahn said on Aug. 25. “We’ve thrown a lot more at him. But he’s got a chance to be a good center and I think he’ll improve each game as long as he stays healthy.”
Three of Auburn’s five offensive lineman switched positions in the offseason. Still, Malzahn is excited about the progress he’s seen through the Tigers’ first four games.
“Like I said earlier this year, We’ve got three new guys in three positons.” Malzahn said. “It takes just a little bit of time, but I feel very good about this group moving forward.”
Saturday’s kickoff against Louisiana-Monroe is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT.