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"Staying Fresh" will be key for Auburn on Saturday

Auburn Offensive Coordinator, Rhett Lashlee (Photo: Auburn Athletics)

It is Wednesday, which means that Auburn football is putting the finishing touches on their preparations for Saturday’s matchup with Georgia. As practice finished up for the day, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee spoke to the media and provided insight specifically about Auburn’s offense, including a brief injury report, and how the offense is preparing to play Georgia in a tough environment. Lashlee opened by saying that the first two days of practice have gone very well. He then transitioned over to the game itself, recognizing the rivalry that is known as “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” by saying that it is one of the best rivalries in the country. Despite Georgia being considered one of the Auburn’s biggest rivals, Lashlee has respect for the way that first year Head Coach Kirby Smart has run the program to this point. With Smart being a defensive mastermind, the Bulldog defense continues to show strength and toughness that they are traditionally known for. Many Auburn fans have been concerned with injuries to two key players, quarterback Sean White and running back Kamryn Pettway. White missed the first half with what is still considered an undisclosed injury, while Pettway showed signs of an injured leg during the fourth quarter of last week’s game over Vanderbilt. Lashlee had good news, saying that both players were able to practice on Wednesday. However, each player’s status is different. Lashlee says that Pettway has now been bumped to “day-to-day”. “Each day we will see how he is doing. We are optimistic that he will be back very soon.” In the event that Pettway will be limited, Kerryon Johnson, a player who has dealt with injury himself this season, is ready to take on the load. Lashlee has so much confidence in Johnson, he feels that he would have over 1,000-yards by now if it had not been for him dealing with his share of injuries. Moving on to White, Lashlee says that White has practiced both days, and has shown sizeable improvement from last week, where he did not take any reps during practice. Lashlee says that White will not be limited on Saturday. In preparing for Georgia, Lashlee says that Head Coach Kirby Smart’s defense has similarities this season, as his past seasons at Alabama have shown. Lashlee is not spending too much time looking at Smart defenses at years past, due to the fact that each season brings new packages. “It’s going to come down to the ‘16 Tiger offense and the 2016 Georgia Bulldog defense. Those are the guys that are going to be out there playing.” One takeaway that Lashlee has picked up about Georgia’s defense, is their use of younger players, and their effectiveness at creating turnovers. What will it take to win in Athens? Lashlee says that it all comes down to how quickly the offense plays, and how fresh the team is. With every college football team having its share of bumps and bruises this time of the season, it is important to make the most of the arsenal each team has. “You can’t be running in the mud in our league and play these guys.” Lashlee credits his boss on his ability to make sure that players are as fresh as possible heading into big games late in the season. “I think Coach Malzahn does a great job this time of year by making sure that our guys are fresh.”

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