Auburn's Rhett Lashlee looking for more consistency with quarterback Jeremy Johnson
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Rhett Lashlee says he's hoping Auburn's offense will find more consistency in Saturday's game at LSU, but even after an uneven start to the season, all the long-range plans remain in place.
"We're 2-0. There isn't one goal that we can't reach," said Auburn's offensive coordinator Wednesday night.
Auburn heads to Game 3, usually a pivotal game for a Gus Malzahn team settling into an identity, looking to balance the offense and to find its most dependable players. Running back Peyton Barber's second-half performances in the first two games have certainly turned heads. Lashlee said the rest of the offense is also developing.
"I think we have a better idea right now. How long it takes for that to take hold you never know, but the guys have had a great week of practice," Lashlee said. "As coaches, we've got a lot of good information about the first two games."
The first two games were a 31-24 win over Louisville, in which Auburn led 24-0; and a 27-20 overtime win against Jacksonville State, when the Tigers staged a dramatic comeback.
"It was two different scenarios, two different endings, and we learned a lot about every guy on our team," Lashlee said. "We know, I think, what positions to put them in and what to do with them, what we're good at and what we need to work at more. We feel like we've got a really good plan to move forward. Hopefully, it starts this week.
"In the first game, we had a chance to finish better than we did, but we found a way to win when things got tight. In the second game, when there was as much pressure on our guys as much as there could be, our sideline was upbeat and positive. You didn't have a lot of guys pointing fingers at others, you didn't have guys getting in arguments, you didn't have guys quitting and getting down. They kept fighting. Offense, defense and special teams. Everybody in one of those phases at some point made a play in the game to help us win. At the end of the day, that's all that matters."
Auburn has had four plays of 20 yards or longer, and that's off its normal pace.
"We haven't had a lot of explosive plays. Matter of fact, we may have had fewer in these first two games total than we have in a two-game span since we've been back," Lashlee said. "We've had a game here and there in the past when we haven't done great, but usually we don't have back-to-back games.
"That's definitely something we've talked about hard with those guys this week, generating those plays, giving them opportunities to make those plays, because that's a big part of our offense. When we're doing well with that, we're scoring a lot of points. You get frustrated thinking well, third downs this—well, we're 50 percent on third downs. We could've done better, and we need to do better. We're going to be playing the best opponent we've played, by far, but explosive plays have got to be a big part of what we do."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine