Oct. 20, 2013
Nick Marshall has the touchdown with receiver Quan Bray (Todd Van Emst photo)
AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said he doesn't like the idea of using backup quarterback Jeremy Johnson for a play here or there. But that's what happened Saturday. Johnson, who played in his first game the week before, got in for three plays in the Tigers' 45-41 win over Texas A&M on Saturday.
"The plan was not to put Jeremy in for a play and bring him out, the way it kind of unfolded," Lashlee said. "We had packages, we had plays for Jeremy, we had things that were in the plan that.
"I thought Nick was playing really well. There was a plan no matter how Nick was playing to get Jeremy infused in certain ways and it didn't involve putting him in for a play and taking him out. We don't want to get into that scenario. It just, unfortunately, went that way and I thought he did well.
"But the plan will change week to week moving forward. It'll be a plan that is clearly defined, at least from our side of things, because we feel like there are certain things he brings to the table and does well and we went to put him in position to be successful."
Nick Marshall feeling better… and proves it
The stat sheet said quarterback Nick Marshall felt fine against Texas A&M after missing the previous game with a sore knee. Marshall confirmed it Sunday.
"I'm feeling 100 percent better," he said.
Marshall credited Auburn's training staff.
"I was able to keep running how I used to run," he said.
Marshall threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more Saturday.
Tigers play ‘extremely hard’ on defense
Ellis Johnson said Auburn defensive players, even when they struggled, didn’t lack effort in Saturday’s scoring fest. Most of the problems, he said, were caused by Manziel.
"I thought we played extremely hard,” Johnson said. "I thought we tried to play physical. On the other hand, at times we didn’t play real smart. The pace they did, we got out of position a few times. Really, there were about 20-25 plays where you just have to give him credit. He’s a great player. He created issues moving around and buying time. We couldn’t cover all the scramble routes.
"There were really like three plays where I thought it was more Auburn and us not functioning well. The players fought extremely hard in that environment, probably against the best ball operator. I was just real proud of the way we finished."
Too much time?
Rhett Lashlee considered the downfalls of scoring too fast as the clock wound down against Texas A&M, fearing he'd give Johnny Manziel too much time to win it.
But Auburn scoring, Lashlee concluded, trumped everything.
Tre Mason scored the game-winning TD with 1:19 remaining, giving Manziel seven plays to answer.
"We want to leave him as little time as possible because he doesn’t need much," Lashlee said.
But, "at some point, the first thing is you got to score, period."
– Charles Goldberg
Ellis Johnson: It all starts with Johnny Manziel
Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said Sunday he was taking nothing away from wide receiver Mike Evans, but he said quarterback Johnny Manziel makes it all work. Evans caught 11 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns in a losing effort last Saturday as Auburn beat Texas A&M 45-41.
"When a guy is going to be able to throw the ball in seven or eight seconds, that is what causes the problem," Johnson said. "I’m not taking anything away from Evans, but if you take Johnny Manziel off the field, a lot of the routes that are coming open don’t ever come open. Your coverage is only going to hold up for a certain period of time. You have to get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands or no coverage is any good."