By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee says Sean White has come a long way from his first start at quarterback a year ago.
That was against Mississippi State in what turned out to be a 17-9 Auburn loss. Today, White is preparing for Saturday's game against the Bulldogs in Starkville coming off a two-week run in which he completed 33-of-43 for 473 yards and two touchdowns, and scored on a run for good measure. His latest venture was helping Auburn beat Louisiana-Monroe 58-6 over the weekend.
"I thought he ran the offense very well and played with a lot of good decisions in tempo," Lashlee said Sunday night. "A lot of times when we run the ball there are pass options, and I thought he made a lot of good decisions."
White and backup quarterback John Franklin III accounted for five touchdowns Saturday with White helping Auburn build a 42-7 lead, and with Franklin closing it out with an 80-yard touchdown run and a 39-tard touchdown pass.
"I thought they both did some good things," Lashlee said.
White will now turn his attention to Mississippi State, now as a player accustomed to the spotlight and not as a first-time starter.
"A year later he's been on the road and won before on the road," Lashlee said. "He's played well on the road at Kentucky and Arkansas.
"I think he's very calm and relaxed now and confident whereas I felt like he played hard last year and he wasn't scared of anything, but naturally it was all brand new. He was a little bit of deer in the headlights."
Now, "I think you can see he's comfortable. He's playing well and he's giving us a chance to win each week. Obviously, it was his first start and I thought he handled himself well last year, but we obviously didn't get the win. That's something he remembers."
Franklin played most of the final quarter and a half against ULM and put up big numbers in a short time.
"John is an explosive player for us. We'll just kind of take that week to week and see what we can do there," Lashlee said
Auburn scored on eight of 12 possessions against ULM, and that includes the final one when the Tigers ran out the clock. Auburn scored on six of 11 drives against LSU the week before.
"Our goal was to improve and I think we improved," Lashlee said.
Lashlee said he expects to have his regular offensive line back for Mississippi State. Center Xavier Dampeer missed the ULM game with a leg injury, but Lashlee said he'll play against the Bulldogs. Austin Golson moved from left tackle to center, and Darius James played left tackle, Saturday.
Lashlee also said he expects running back Kamryn Pettway to return. He was held out Saturday because of a bruised quad.
"He just wasn't full speed, so we felt like if we could get by and rest him, that would be best for the long term," Lashlee said. "He was out there tonight practicing with us, and we expect him to be ready to go."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine