Jeremy Johnson carries it in for Auburn's first touchdown of the season
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Not to worry, says Rhett Lashlee, Jeremy Johnson will be just fine as Auburn's starting quarterback.
"He's still undefeated as a starter. He's our guy," said Auburn's offensive coordinator Sunday. "I've got as much confidence, if not more, in Jeremy than I had before the game."
Auburn opened the season Saturday with a 31-24 win over Louisville, thanks to the running of Peyton Barber, and with Johnson throwing for a touchdown, running for a touchdown, and throwing three interceptions.
"There's nobody more disappointed and ready to atone for their mistakes than Jeremy," Lashlee said. "I think the best thing is you learn from your mistakes in a win, it's a lot more fun than learning from them in a loss. Those are just things we've got to be careful with the football. Overall, when he threw the ball, I think he threw a lot of accurate balls and did a nice job. It was probably just three or four bad decisions that we'd like to have back. And we're going to learn from them."
Lashlee said the perception, if not the reality, of Johnson's performance would have been different if a penalty had not called back a 56-yard pass on what Lashlee called a "phenomenal throw."
"Now you're looking at a guy that threw for over 200 yards and two touchdowns," Lashlee said.
Johnson instead threw for 137 yards and one touchdown and three interceptions.
"He'll be fine and I look for him to bounce back and have a great game this weekend," Lashlee said.
Auburn's running game was fine after Barber stepped up with a career-best 115 yards, 95 of which came in the second half and fellow running backs Roc Thomas and Jovon Robinson left with injuries. Lashlee said their injuries aren't serious.
"They just weren't able to go back in last night, but we're not concerned long term at all with those guys."
Barber filled in with 24 carries.
"I was really proud of Peyton," Lashlee said. "He was going to play, but he really stepped in, carried the load.
"Peyton was making yards after contact, wasn't getting tired, so really proud of him."
Lashlee said the game showed Auburn will need to be deep at running back.
"We’re going to need them all. Just like last night, two of them dropped in one drive, so you never know in this league what will happen. I'd say a guy like Peyton definitely, hopefully, earns some confidence in himself. He earned confidence from his teammates and his coaches. You feel really confident that he’s now gone out there. Twenty-four carries in a big game in about two and half quarters is a lot. And he carried the load and did very well."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine