Auburn's Rhett Lashlee will be looking to celebrate again Saturday in the Georgia Dome
By Charles Goldberg
ATLANTA, Ga. — Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, on Day Six Million of preseason practice, was asked by the media if there was a player flying under radar that we haven't talked about.
"I don't know," Lashlee wondered, "who have we not talked about?"
Surely everybody has been talked about since Gus Malzahn kicked off SEC Media Days, now 54 ago in Birmingham. The time for talking will thankfully end and the time for action will begin when Auburn begins the season at 2:30 p.m., Auburn time, against Louisville in the Georgia Dome on CBS.
Lashlee says there are "a lot of unknowns" are waiting for Auburn's offense, including a new starting quarterback in Jeremy Johnson, new running backs and a reworked offensive line.
"I'm excited to see how these guys do it and go out and that's part of the joy of coaching," Lashlee said. "It's usually stressful in the moment, but you're excited to watch them play, too. I just hope they play well and play to the best of their ability and then everything else will take care of itself."
Lashlee's challenge: A Louisville defense that finished sixth in the country last season after finishing first in the nation the year before.
"They were exceptional in a lot of categories. They feel, and I don’t disagree with them, that they may have a better defense this year," Lashlee said. "They've got some transfer in certain places that are key spots and then they got a lot of guys that played last year, even if they weren’t starters. So we expect it to be a really good challenge.
"Last year they were great at causing turnovers, sacking the quarterback and really good on third-down defense."
One of Auburn's experienced players is Duke Williams, the Tigers' leading returning player, a go-to threat that Louisville will watch carefully.
"It wouldn't shock me if they had a specific plan for him. It wouldn't shock me if they're playing just a specific plan for us," Lashlee said. "A lot of things in these first games are about adjustments.
"We feel like we have good players across the board that makes it hard maybe to double one guy, or focus on one guy. Maybe in certain scenarios people do that. I hope we're good enough that they want to double somebody. That's the first step."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine