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Healthy Xavier Dampeer will be back in lineup when Auburn visits Mississippi State

Auburn center Xavier Dampeer warms up before the Arkansas St. game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016.
Auburn center Xavier Dampeer warms up before the Arkansas St. game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee had to shuffle the offensive line Saturday when the coaches decided to keep an injured center Xavier Dampeer (leg) out of the lineup.

Last year’s starting center Austin Golson slid back to his old position and Texas transfer Darius James got his first start as an Auburn Tiger.

The line played well in a 58-7 win over ULM with the offense putting up 688 total yards of offense.

“That was the easy thing: Just move Austin and put one guy in a different position, that being Austin,” Lashlee said. “Darius has been repping at left tackle, even though he hadn't been starting. I thought our offensive line did a solid job and didn't miss a beat too much.”

Lashlee praised the effort, but isn’t planning on making any of the changes made Saturday permanent.

Dampeer will start at center when the team visits Mississippi State this weekend. The goal of sitting the senior against ULM was to have him “rested” for the Tigers’ first road game of the season.

Lashlee did make sure to mention the experience James got Saturday could come in handy down the line.

Auburn has rotated in a sixth offensive lineman on certain packages and played the second group in mop up time against Arkansas St., but this was the first time the season a backup had meaningful extended work with the first team.

“It's one thing to know that's your option, but to be able to see it,” Lashlee said. “We felt like Austin would play well, but to see Darius come in and do a solid job for us is only going to help us because seven games left, you're one play away anyone going down and you have to shuffle guys around. It was huge for Darius to get that experience.”

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