Rhett Lashlee is figuring out which young guys can help in 2014
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ¯ Rhett Lashlee calls freshman offensive lineman Braden Smith "The Hulk."
Look for "The Hulk" to play.
Quarterback Sean White is another freshman that was talked up Sunday. Running back Roc Thomas, too.
Auburn's offensive coordinator is trying to place his freshman on the depth chart, now that fall camp is officially over, and now that, with two weeks to go to the season-opener, things are turning to game plans and such.
Lashlee praised White, who moved to the No. 3 quarterback behind Nick Marshall and Jeremy Johnson ¯ though Lashlee said he'd rather redshirt White than play him. But Smith is a different story. The big 6-foot-6, 299 rookie from Kansas has muscled his way into the playing rotation.
"I live in super hero word with my kids and he’s 'The Hulk,'" explained Lashlee. "He can really move and bend for a big guy and he’s really strong. He's had a good camp.
"He's not starting right now but he's going to be in our two-deep, there's no secret there. Braden is someone who is physically ready and can potentially help us this year."
Lashlee said that's been the feeling for the camp, in general.
"Offensively, we were fortunate to get through without any major injuries, which is good," he said. "I think we got accomplished what we needed to. We got some good work and had a lot of carryover from the older guys.
"We got to really see what a lot of the younger guys could do. Overall, we’re very pleased with our freshman class on the offensive side of the ball. We feel like all those guys are what we thought they were and maybe even more. That was positive. Now you get to these last couple of days of camp and coaches and players, everybody is tired. Now we get to give them a day off tomorrow and let them get school started and start focusing in on Arkansas."
White received plenty of snaps in the camp portion. Marshall and Johnson may be in line for more now, now that it's time to concentrate on game preparation. White is being held in reserve as Jonathan Wallace has worked primarily with special teams.
"Sean White has had a phenomenal camp from a freshman quarterback standpoint," Lashlee said. "He's not ready to play tomorrow, but he’s been very impressive not only throwing the ball, but mentally from a maturity standpoint as a freshman he's handled a lot of things. You’ve got to understand that Nick, Jeremy and Jonathan, they had already been exposed to everything so we went a little quicker than normal.
"I think we're in a great situation. We feel like we have four quarterbacks we can play in an SEC game… three we know we could: Nick, Jeremy, Jonathan because they've done it; and Sean. You never know what you're going to get with a true freshman. You hope you don't have to play him, but he's done enough in the first 20 days of practice to warrant to be in the conversation if we get into a scenario if we need him."
Lashlee also said Auburn has taken a long look at Thomas and Kamryn Pettway, the freshmen running back.
"I think they’ve gotten better and better. Roc got a bulk of the load in the second scrimmage and then Kameron Pettway," Lashlee said. "They both had really good scrimmages in those second scrimmages for themselves."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine