Lashlee Sees Positives In Marshall's Play

Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee talks about the performance of Nick Marshall in his first start at quarterback.

Auburn, Ala.--While his numbers weren't eye-popping, Auburn starting quarterback Nick Marshall did some good things in his first career start at the position for the Tigers according to offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. Finishing 10-19 for 99 yards, Marshall didn't wow his coach, but he did some things that the first-year coordinator was very proud of.

"For the most part he didn't have a lot of mental busts," Lashlee said. "I felt like he called the right plays and protections and things we needed him to do. He didn't have a turnover. At the end of the day I tell him, the quarterback's job is simple and it's to win the game. A lot of that has to do with protecting the football. Who cares how many yards you throw and how flashy is is, did you win the game or not? He did. I thought he was very conservative with the football, which is good. As you can see he opened up a little more in the second half and that's where we've got to go as an offense with him and everybody. We have to open it up and make some plays now."

With just over a month to learn the offense and get his feet wet at the position, Marshall was understandably erratic early in Saturday's opener but settled down over the final 30 minutes. Having long lapses without throwing a pass because of both a kickoff return for a touchdown by Tre Mason and Corey Grant's 75-yard scamper, Lashlee said it was a feeling out process for everyone involved and he's excited by the way they finished even though they missed some opportunities.

"I do think the first quarter and the first half even we were feeling some of our guys out just like they were feeling us out," Lashlee said. "You're always kind of monitoring the flow of the game; what's the score and where you're at in the game. We were probably a little more conservative early, but I think early on he was 2-8 and had two third down passes that were dropped. He missed a few, but in the second half I think we finished 8-11 or something better than that.

"You could tell that he and our whole offense settled down," he added. "We completed some balls and he even made some plays with his feet that he hadn't been making earlier. As a whole we had plenty of chances in that third quarter specifically, and even in the fourth quarter, to make some plays. That's what we've got to do. We've got to have guys that are making plays in big moments. That's what we've got to improve on this week."

Auburn will need plenty improvement as the Tigers face an Arkansas State squad familiar to Lashlee, Gus Malzahn and many other staff members. Needing to fix problems in the passing game and shore up short yardage problems in the running game, Lashlee said the one positive is that his guys never wilted under the pressure and that's something to build on for week two.

"Overall, what our guys did do is never once did they panic," Lashlee said. "Never once did they get tight. We would score and they would take the lead. It was tight all through the second half even though we have a small lead. Our guys were pretty even keel. They didn't act like the moment was too big. They found a way to win and at the end of the day you would rather win and have some things to correct than be on the other ends of things."


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