Auburn fans celebrate with Sean White at Kentucky
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Nine explosive plays last time out? Now that's more like it.
"There were times we looked like the Auburn offense we want to be," said offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.
Auburn heads to Saturday's game at Arkansas buoyed by a 30-27 win over Kentucky on Thursday night in which the offense produced 407 yards behind starting quarterback Sean White.
"I think it's safe to say he'll probably start the game Saturday," Lashlee said after Sunday's practice.
White, who spent an off week and game week keeping his starting job in open competition at practice, hit 17 of 27 passes for a career-high 255 yards at Kentucky in his third college start. Lashlee saw even more than the numbers.
"He competes so hard. He plays so hard. He's tough," Lashlee said. "He'll stand in there and take a hit. I think the guys see that. There's still a little bit of him worrying about making sure what he's supposed to be doing, but I have seen some things even on the sidelines, going down to the linemen and receivers, to try to encourage guys or whatever the situation calls for.
"That's a role you hope a guy continues to grow into the more and more he plays."
Receiver Marcus Davis said he's been impressed with White.
"I'm not really surprised.I always knew he could play," Davis said.
"He plays with a lot of confidence and shows courage."
White threw 25 passes in his first start, 10 in his second and then the 27 at Kentucky.
"We wanted to be aggressive and give guys a chance to make plays and he did that," Lashlee said. "He made some really good decisions and really good throws. Even when it was kind of covered, he put the ball in position where Ricardo (Louis) or somebody could go up and make a play on the ball.
"I thought his ball security was much better. I think he'll just get more and more confident and it's something we can build on."
Lashlee said former starting quarterback Jeremy Johnson handled his role "really well, he really did."
"He’s getting better, he’s competing, he’s fighting, I have been really proud of what he’s been doing. He prepared just like Sean did, ready to play the game. We’ve got two guys that we’ve got to be able to win with. This is a tough league and you never know if a guy gets nicked up what the situation calls for. He’s done really well. Like I’ve said before, those guys get along great and pull for each other."
White and the Auburn offense will be looking to take their fast start at Kentucky to Arkansas. The Tigers converted 8-of-11 third-down conversions in the first half, but finished the game converting 11-of-18.
"We weren't on the field in the third quarter and it was our own fault," Lashlee said. "Fortunately for us, our defense was able to hold them to some field goals and we were able to put a really good drive together when we needed one in the fourth quarter."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine