Dec. 4, 2013
Nick Marshall led Auburn past Washington State inthe opener and to a 11-1 regular season record(Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee remembers Nick Marshall's first play as an Auburn Tiger.
That was a long time ago, or at least the first game of a remarkable season. Marshall and Auburn have bounced back with an 11-1 record and a spot in Saturday's Southeastern Conference Championship Game against Missouri in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
"We probably have come a long way..." Lashlee said.
He said Marshall has "character and he's coachable, there was no ego...he wants to work hard, he wants to be coachable, he wants to do everything you ask him to do the best he can and win."
Auburn and Chris Davis are on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, the fruits of their dramatic 34-28 win over Alabama last Saturday. The cover photo shows Davis sprinting to the end zone on his 109-yard return of a missed field goal on the game's final play.
It's Auburn's first appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated since the Tigers won the 2010 BCS championship. The Tigers' Cam Newton was on the cover three times that season.
Rhett Lashlee says all the assistants should be recognized
Rhett Lashlee said he's going to Little Rock next Tuesday, where the top assistant coach in college football will be honored. He's one of five finalists for the award.
"It's a great honor. It's humbling," he said. "I feel like we've got eight other assistants on this staff who deserve it just as much. I look at things like this -- the same as for our players getting individual recognition -- it's just a reflection of this team and how it's been this year. We've won as a team every week."
Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson wanted more D
Alabama converted a modest 4-of-13 third-down conversions against Auburn, but, in the great scheme of things, defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson didn't like the overall numbers.
"I don't mean to diminish the importance of that and the red zone, but we also gave up almost 500 yards, 153 in two plays," Johnson said. "It was a gutty performance, a gritty performance, but, frankly, there are things we have to do better if we are going to be a good defense.
"I think we affected the quarterback. There's no question in my mind. But when you give up 153 yards on two plays, it doesn't look like you did."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine