Auburn's Gus Malzahn welcomes Melvin Ray, left, and Ricardo Louis back to the sidelines
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Quarterback Sean White's first college start has earned him his second college start, and won him praise from his head coach to boot, but there is still work to be done to get Auburn's offense on track, says the architect of the Tigers' highest-scoring seasons.
"I still feel very confident that we can be a good offense," said Gus Malzahn on Tuesday.
Malzahn said White, who appeared in his first college game in last weekend's loss to Mississippi State, will get the call again when the Tigers play host to San Jose State at 3 p.m. Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Malzahn said Auburn's defense "really took a very good step in the right direction" in the 17-9 loss to Mississippi State. And that White "gave the offense a spark." But the offense, Malzahn said, still hasn't found its rhythm despite White's steady play.
"He didn't have that bright-eyed look like he was scared or anything like that," he said. "Then right before he went out there the first drive, you could tell he was ready to go and just needed to get hit once. I felt like that first drive with a new quarterback, he did some very good things. He got some pressure one time, made a throw down the field, and did some good things. There's a lot of things we can build upon with him. I think he'll get nothing but better with experience.
"We really feel like he's got a chance to be a very good quarterback in our system. We're just going to take it like that."
White was solid, hitting 20-of-28 passes, but Auburn didn't score a touchdown.
Malzahn said his offense "at times, yes, we have been in rhythm and at times, no, I have not been in rhythm. It has been a combination of both.”
"We take great pride in scoring points around here and playing well on offense and we haven't done that yet," Malzahn said. "There were times that we've done some good things, but we haven't been consistent. Usually by this time we have an idea of what we have, don't have, and we can build around our strengths.
"I think the change in quarterbacks put us a little bit behind. I still feel very confident that we can be a good offense.
"Last week's game obviously didn't turn out like we wanted, but there was some bright spots that we can build upon."
Malzahn also said…
• "We need to be a little more creative to get guys open. But, at the same time when, you've got a new starting quarterback, there's a little bit of want to make sure that he's comfortable. There's a balance there."
• Receiver Ricardo Louis has been limited because of injuries the last few weeks.
"Hopefully, we can get him healthy where he can be a bigger role. Obviously, he's one of our impact players. I think everybody saw that the first game. He's been a little banged up and we're hoping he'll get healed up in a hurry."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine