Having a Balanced Attack Gives Auburn's Offense Confidence
Offensive Coordinator Rhett Lashlee (Photo: Auburn Athletics)
Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee took over play calling duties three weeks ago. Since then, Auburn has won every game and has improved in problem areas such as red zone touchdowns, and offensive line. The bye week comes at a great time for Auburn, as the remainder of the schedule is filled with tough teams. Lashlee spoke to the media on Tuesday night, about bye week practice, and the Mississippi State game. Lashlee says that this week is all about Auburn. The offense this week will continue to fix mistakes, and improve in all areas. Lashlee says that the bye week allows more time to focus on the second string offense and the redshirt players. The goal is to rest and get healthy. “We have had a long, hard six weeks. We have played as good of a schedule as anybody, and we have just as good as a back end as anybody. We have got to get healthy first. This week is a good week for our guys to just refresh their minds.” Even though rest is in order, there is still work to do. “We are still doing ball, we are still working, but you don't have that impending game on Saturday that everybody is grinding towards.” On the subject of Mississippi State, Lashlee says that he enjoyed the fact that the team was wide awake and ready to play at 11 A.M. on the road. One aspect that Lashlee would like to see improve, is on ball security. “We have got to protect the ball better. Our ball security was horrible on Saturday.” Lashlee said, “For the most part, we have been one play a game. We had several times a ball on the ground, it was sloppy.” One play sticks out in the mind of Lashlee, the first quarter interception by Sean White. “We have got to eliminate the one, just horrible turnover in our territory, where we put our defensive backs against the wall.” One key piece that was missing on the Tiger offensive line, was injured center Xavier Dampeer. Lashlee addressed that, saying that Dampeer was not feeling 100%, and felt that Mississippi State would use a big defensive lineman, and would bang him up even more. Austin Golson started at center for the second straight week, with Darius James getting the start at left tackle. Another key injury on Saturday was to runningback Kerryon Johnson. Johnson tweaked an ankle in the first quarter of Saturday’s win, which gave way to Kamryn Pettway rushing for 169 yards and three touchdowns. Lashlee gave his thoughts on Johnson’s possible return for the Arkansas game in two weeks. “I’m very optimistic.” says Lashlee, “He is doing well. We are just taking it day-to-day. He is progressing maybe better than our trainers thought he would after Saturday.” Since taking over the playcalling duties, Lashlee and the Auburn offense have seen more of a balance. Last week, Auburn produced 432 total yards (204 passing, 228 rushing). Lashlee says that being successful in both aspects gives his team confidence in finding ways to win. Auburn is off this Saturday but will face a tough Arkansas team on October 22 at home. Kickoff is scheduled to begin at 5 P.M.