AUBURN — The call may not come this season, but if it does, Xavier Dampeer will be ready.
Dampeer is not battling for his job, he’s the backup and Reese Dismukes is the entrenched starting center. Period.
Dampeer merely wants to learn as much as he can from Dismukes, the Rimington Trophy finalist and preseason All-SEC selection, while he can.
“He’s the greatest center in the nation. I believe everybody knows that,” Dampeer said. “I’m trying to take everything from his game that I can — take what he has and make it my own.
“I’m going to continue to do that as long as he’s here. When they need me and they call my name, I plan to be ready. Hopefully this offense doesn’t miss a beat when I’m in.”
Coaches haven’t given Dampeer any indication of when, or if, he’ll play. He could redshirt, though that’s unlikely, particularly with a late-season meeting with Samford as a game Dismukes might not see much action.
“I would probably consider (redshirting), but I doubt that happens,” he said. “I feel like I’ll be used.”
With nothing more to see from Dismukes, Dampeer took the majority of snaps during spring practice, when he had to adjust to the pace of Auburn’s offense.
“That was part of my growing pains — having to work at that pace and having my mind work that fast,” Dampeer said. “I had to process things faster. It probably took me all spring. Once I learned the plays and the techniques and all that, everything was fine.”
If he is needed, offensive line coach J.B. Grimes won’t hesitate to put Dampeer in the game.
“I feel like he’s a guy right now that can give us quality reps if we need them,” Grimes said. “I think he’s an adequate backup right now with the potential to be a good starter.
“The thing that I see about him is he’s a tremendously strong young man. He has great strength and the thing that I would like to see is more functional strength, and what I mean by that is to be a quicker athlete. Reese Dismukes is a tremendously strong guy but he’s also a very quick guy. That combination of quickness and strength is something that we need to work on with Xavier.”
Past SEC Champs to be honored: Auburn will honor two of its SEC Championship teams during the upcoming season.
The 10th anniversary of the undefeated 2004 Tigers will be recognized at the San Jose State game on Sept. 6, and the 25th anniversary of the 1989 conference champion Tigers will be honored at the Louisiana Tech game on Sept. 27.
Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, now at Cincinnati, is planning to attend the Sept. 6 celebration and game, an Auburn official told the Advertiser. The Bearcats don’t play the first two weeks of the season and the date was selected to allow Tuberville, who also attended last year’s Iron Bowl and whose son, Tucker, is a walk-on quarterback at Auburn, to attend.
The anniversary teams were announced as part of a list of 25 “enhancements” to gameday, Auburn announced Wednesday.
The third annual military appreciation game will be against Texas A&M on Nov. 8, and fans will be allowed on the field at the conclusion of the Samford game on Nov. 22.
Among the notable concessions changes at Jordan-Hare Stadium this season, Auburn has reduced the prices of 20 oz. bottled water from $4 to $2 and hot dogs from $4 to $3. There will also be “grab-and-go” concessions stands located around Gates 0 and 2, and increased free water stations on the concourse.
The general public will be permitted at the new Wellness Kitchen on Friday nights and Café Jordan-Hare, the dining experience at the 50 yard line, will be open on Oct. 3 and Oct. 24, the night before the games with LSU and South Carolina, respectively.
Bruce Pearl announced his first complete non-conference schedule at Auburn on Wednesday.
The only game not previously reported, against Division II North Alabama, will be at 4 p.m. Jan. 3.
Auburn will face Division II West Alabama in an exhibition at 8:30 p.m. Nov. 7.
The Tigers will play eight non-conference games at home, three on the road and two in Las Vegas as part of the MGM Main Event on Nov. 24 & 26.
Game times for the season opener with Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Auburn’s second game at the MGM Main Event, which is contingent on whether they win or lose against Tulsa in the opening game, and the road game at Clemson, are still to be announced.
2014-15 Auburn basketball non-conference schedule
Nov. 7: West Alabama (Exhibition), 8:30 p.m.
Nov. 14: Wisconsin-Milwaukee, TBA
Nov. 17 (18 local): at Colorado, Midnight (ESPN2)
Nov. 21: Louisiana-Lafayette, 7 p.m.
Nov. 24: Tulsa at MGM Main Event, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
Nov. 26: Oklahoma State or Oregon State at MGM Main Event, TBA
Dec. 3: at Texas Tech, 8 p.m. (SEC Network)
Dec. 5: Coastal Carolina, 7 p.m.
Dec. 14: at Clemson, TBA
Dec. 17: Winthrop, 8 p.m.
Dec. 20: Xavier, 7 p.m.
Dec. 23: Texas Southern, 7 p.m.
Dec. 29: Middle Tennessee, 7 p.m.
Jan. 3: North Alabama, 4 p.m.