AUBURN | Perhaps the best news to come out of No. 15 Auburn’s 24-10 win over Mercer was the injury report on Darius James.
The senior right tackle was immobilized and carted off the field after hurting his neck and lying motionless on the field after a collision in the second quarter.
“Darius James has a good report. Everything is fine,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “Anytime one of your players gets a neck injury and gets carted off, that’s a scary deal.”
James was taken by ambulance to the hospital but returned in time to walk around the locker room after the game and congratulate his teammates on the win.
“To have him carted off, you’re scared for him,” Casey Dunn said. “To have him carted off and have this big scene and to see him walk around the locker room is just a sigh of relief.”
It was Dunn who subbed in for James after the injury. Dunn went in at center, moving senior Austin Golson from center to right tackle.
“It was humbling,” said Dunn, a graduate transfer, of planning with the first-team. “I hate the circumstance they had to bring me in to play.
“I’ve got a lot of things to clean up. You want to use the excuse that it’s my first game but that’s no excuse.”
Offensive line coach Herb Hand has designated Dunn as his sixth man. If any of the starter are injured, Dunn comes in at center and Golson has to move to the open position.
“I know I’m the guy that plays all five so I know I’ve got to be ready to do it at all times,” said Golson, who hasn’t repped at right tackle since the end of fall camp. “I thought it went well but obviously it wasn’t perfect. I hadn’t been repping at right tackle in a while.
"I think for the most part I did a solid job and Casey did a really good job coming in and executing the offense.”