Auburn loses key starter days away from its opener

Kiehl Frazier's job as Auburn's starting quarterback was already going to be difficult in Week 1, as he'll be facing a talented Clemson defense that is looking to bounce back from an embarassing bowl loss last season.

But the sophomore signal-caller's chore became even more daunting Saturday when Tigers head coach Gene Chizik announced that sophomore starting center Reese Dismukes, who was a freshman All-American last season, would be suspended for the opener after he was arrested early Saturday morning on a charge of public intoxication.

The loss of Dismukes is a tough blow for a team with an inexperienced line, so Frazier could find himself on the run more often than not in the Georgia Dome. Auburn plays at Mississippi State in Week 2, so it will be interesting to see if Dismukes is reinstated for that contest.

Sophomore Tunde Fariyike, who has never started a game, will likely take over at center. Senior guard John Sullen could also slide over and be replaced at his guard spot by redshirt freshman Christian Westerman.

Nonetheless, Chizik's squad could have three or four offensive linemen making their first career starts against Clemson, including redshirt freshman Greg Robinson at left tackle, true freshman Avery Young at right tackle and true freshman Alex Kozan at guard.

Most troubling for the Tigers, though, is the idea of a first-time starter at quarterback taking his snaps from a center he has not worked with too often.

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