By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Rhett Lashlee says it's never wise to underestimate Sean White.
Auburn's offensive coordinator says his starting quarterback is a competitor, is steady -- and capable of winning. He did it last year when he was named Auburn's starting quarterback for Game 4, did it again in Auburn's preseason workouts when he won the starting job outright over Jeremy Johnson and John Franklin III, and he did it before he ever arrived in Auburn.
"You just look back at his journey coming through high school," Lashlee said. "He was always an undersized guy. People said he didn't have a strong enough arm. He was the last guy invited to the Elite 11 and goes out there and wins it. He's an alternate in the Under Armour Game and wins the MVP.
"He's kind of always played with that chip on his shoulder. He's tough. I think he proved last year. He's tough, probably to a fault. Sometimes you would like him to avoid some of these crazy hits he would take in the pocket. The big thing is he's got the toughness to stand in there and take it. I think your teammates respect that."
White was named the starting quarterback last Thursday, just in time for Saturday's opener against Clemson. The move ended a long quarterback race.
"It was a really good competition. I think that's why we kept it going as long as we did. We wanted to get as much information as we could," Lashlee said.
This is some of the information that Lashlee relied on:
"Sean can make every throw on the field. He takes it pretty personal when you question 'can he make the throw?'" Lashlee said. "I think the four games early last year, he started with Mississippi State, San Jose State, Kentucky and Arkansas — before the injury really took effect — he could make all the throws and he was a pretty good athlete. I think he pulled a read and ran 40 yards against Mississippi State. He's a better runner than people would give him credit for, but when he hurt his knee and, in particular his foot, it changed a lot of things. Being the foot you plant on makes it tough, too. His arm has been able to make all of the throws we've asked any of the guys to make."
Lashlee said Johnson and Franklin "handled it great." Still, they wanted the job.
"If people weren't somewhat disappointed you would be worried about if they were a competitor or not," Lashlee said. "They've been great. Both have been very supportive of Sean. They both know they have an important role on the team."
What's Sean White's week going to be like? Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee explains in this video... pic.twitter.com/doDNiaBwNG
— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) August 28, 2016
*Auburn was to practice under the lights at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Sunday. The 8 p.m. practice coincides with the start time of Saturday's opener against Clemson.
*Lashlee said receiver Kyle Davis is "doing really well." He's been slowed by a foot and shoulder injury, but he's now practicing at full speed.
"I expect him to be healthy. You're talking about a guy that didn't get to do very much in the spring and then missed the first two and a half, three weeks of camp. We're talking about a guy who is going to have two full weeks of practice under his belt. We'll just have to see where he's at this week as far as the load he can carry mentally. He's done a good job mentally and physically. We've just got to make sure we're fair to him and what we ask him to do."
*Lashlee said Franklin is still learning the quarterback position.
"To be fair to John, John wasn't even the starter on his junior college team last year. We recruited him and signed him as an athlete. So we felt like we could take him as an athlete, give him a shot at quarterback and see how he progressed. To be honest with you, I've been very pleased with his progression. He's done a lot of good things, quickly, in a fast timetable. I think there's nothing but positives to say about him right now. So we'll just continue to try to bring him along.
"He is a phenomenal athlete, so any ways we think we can use him to help, we will. But right now, he's still playing quarterback."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine