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Auburn Preparing for Another Tough Defense

Offensive Coordinator Rhett Lashlee (Photo: Auburn Athletics)

The final press conference of LSU week has wrapped up, which means the hay is almost in the barn, and gameday is quickly approaching.

Offensive Coordinator Rhett Lashlee met with the media today, to talk about the upcoming LSU game, and even discussed some corrections that Auburn needs to make in order to come out on top.

What does Lashlee see in the LSU defense?

The LSU defense played Auburn tough in last season’s 45-21 loss in Baton Rouge. Good news, is that the 2015 LSU defensive coordinator is now with Auburn. Bad news, they are still good. Lashlee says that the defense that Auburn will face on Saturday evening will be an athletic bunch. Lashlee talked about the Outback Bowl two years ago, which was the last time that Auburn faced a defense coached by Dave Aranda.

Does the 2015 Outback Bowl film help the Auburn offense prepare for LSU?

Prior to his time in Baton Rouge, LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda was the defensive coordinator. Lashlee was asked if he uses game film from the Outback Bowl in 2015 in preparation. “There’s some familiarity there. I’m sure there will be carry over, I’m sure that there will be changes. It was a good game, I think we both (Wisconsin) had some success at different times of the game.” He says that some of Aranda’s schemes are similar, but he is working with a new personnel, so there could be a few things that are different.

Does having Kevin Steele on staff help with preparation? Does not having Dameyune Craig hurt it?

In the off-season coaching scene, Auburn hired a new Defensive Coordinator in Kevin Steele, formerly of LSU. LSU hired a new wide receivers coach in Dameyune Craig, formerly of Auburn. With those coaches on opposing sidelines for this season’s game help in preparing? Lashlee weighs in on how the LSU defense has changed since Steele left. “The scheme is different, because he is not there. Coach Steele knows those guys very well, he recruited some of them, he coached all of them. He has been very complimentary of all of them.” What does Lashlee think of Dameyune Craig? “He knows our personnel very well, he knows out scheme. But that’s common in football, though. You have coaches change and bounce around. There will probably be some assisting on both sides. But, at the end of the day, it is a player's game, and they will go out and play.”

On Sean White:

Head Coach Gus Malzahn announced on Tuesday that Sean White was going to be the starting quarterback for the LSU game. This decision coming after taking White out of the game last Saturday against Texas A&M, and playing John Franklin III in the fourth quarter. Malzahn said that the decision to take White out of the game was not due to his performance, but that he felt that the offense needed a “shot in the arm”. Lashlee agreed. “I don't think Sean played poorly at all,” said Lashlee of Sean White, “There were a couple of throws that he would have liked to have had back, in terms of just finishing a drive.” Lashlee says that the offense needs to do some things to help White out, including converting third down plays.

On the young receivers:

Darius Slayton, Kyle Davis, Will Hastings, Ryan Davis, Nate Craig-Myers, and Stanton Truitt are all underclassmen, and have seen valuable playing time in three games. Lashlee likes the way that those players have played, and feels that everything will come together, just as long as they continue to get meaningful reps.

On LSU’s Arden Key, and playing against tough defensive ends.

Last week, Texas A&M defensive ends Daeshon Hall and Myles Garrett gave Auburn fits. This week, the Tigers face another defensive threat in Arden Key. Key has caught the attention of Rhett Lashlee. “There are some similarities of quickness in that first step.” said Lashlee of Arden Key, comparing him to Daeshon Hall and Myles Garrett. “His length is what stands out to me. His built to rush the passer, and he does that very well. He is really good at getting off blocks.” Lashlee says that one way that he is hoping to improve their play against tough defensive ends, is to play aggressively, but in a smart way.

Who is the starting running back?

This season, Kerryon Johnson has 278 yards and 4 touchdowns. Kamryn Pettway has 275 yards and one touchdown. Who has the edge? According to Lashlee, it is a one-two punch. “They have both shown great ability to make plays and be tough.” said Lashlee of the running backs. “Kamryn got rolling last week, then we bring KJ (Kerryon Johnson) in, and he popped some good runs for us. We said in the beginning of the year, that I could see those guys complimenting each other, and so far, I think that they are doing that.”

Auburn continues preparations for LSU. Kickoff is scheduled for 5PM on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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