Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee welcomes Marcus Davis back to the sidelines
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Rhett Lashlee says Auburn's offense probably played a "more complete game from start to finish" in last week's 26-10 win over Texas A&M. How so?
Let's count the ways.
Auburn scored on six of its nine possessions, not counting the last one when it was content to run out the clock; rushed for a season-high 311 yards, and, Lashlee hopes, gained momentum heading into Saturday's 11 a.m. game against Georgia in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
"It's rewarding that our kids got a hard-fought win against a really good team in a hostile environment," Lashlee said Wednesday night. "There were definitely things we could have done better."
That kind of momentum is needed against the Bulldogs, considering Lashlee said Georgia "stuffed us" last season in a 34-7 game in Athens. Lashlee wanted even more momentum against Texas A&M, namely in the form of touchdowns. The Tigers scored TDs on their first two drives, then kicked four field goals.
"We were able to move the ball and get points and keep our defense off the field," Lashlee said. "We would like to have seven more than three, but, again, overall the tempo was better and our kids just played better and they get all the credit for that."
Lashlee said quarterback Jeremy Johnson "made plays when we needed him to" against the Aggies in his first start since the third game of the year, but no one is saying who'll start against Georgia. Coach Gus Malzahn said Wednesday that decision will be made later in the week, saying that in the same SEC teleconference in which Georgia coach Mark Richt praised Johnson's comeback story. Lashlee said quarterback Sean White, who has started five games but has been nursing a sore knee the last few weeks, is practicing again "which is a lot more than he's done the last two weeks."
Lashlee said Johnson and White can each run the offense effectively, at least when they're healthy.
"I think we can play fast with either one of them," he said. "I was really pleased with Jeremy, just his emotion and how hard he played. He was smart with the football and made plays when we needed him to. He managed the game very well. I think the guys responded well to him. It was really good to see him come back because he hadn't really played in that kind of role since the LSU game. It was good to see him have that kind of game."
Johnson, who threw six interceptions in the first three games, hasn't thrown one since. Auburn has only two turnovers over the last six games.
"I think that's why we've been in every game...had a chance to win every game," Lashlee said. "We found a way to win the first two. Obviously, the third game it cost us. Since then, not that we don't always put an emphasis on it, but I think our kids have done a nice job. Obviously, at the quarterback position, both guys have done a better job of protecting the ball and that's going to be a key in these last three games. Turnovers will probably decide a lot of it."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine