Lashlee On Marshall "He's A Tough Kid"

Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee talks about Nick Marshall and his confidence in Jeremy Johnson if needed.

Auburn, Ala.--Sunday night the #8 Auburn Tigers returned to the practice field and the story was that starting quarterback Nick Marshall took part in the workout. While offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said "he's sore", the first-year coordinator said he believes Marshall will be able to go this weekend when the Tigers take on Arkansas.

"He's a tough kid," Lashlee said. "Everything, from me knowing about him and that we know so far, tells me he should be okay. Other than educating him a little on times trying to get down a little bit, I think he'll be all right."

Injuring his right shoulder on a run earlier in the game, Marshall was held out of the game with the Tigers in control against outmanned Florida Atlantic. Going to the locker room in the second quarter before returning to the field in the second half, Marshall could have been available if needed said Lashlee.

"We didn't get to that point with the docs, but from what I know, I think that would have been a possibility," Lashlee said. "Every time this year when he's had a little issue, he's been tough. Since it's nothing major, we feel good about where he's at and he'll work hard to get back."

Leading an offense averaging 37 points and 511 yards per game, Marshall has been the catalyst for the Tigers in 2013. Completing 57.6 percent of his passes for 1,148 yards and six touchdowns with four interceptions, Marshall has also been a big threat on the ground with 461 yards rushing and five touchdowns.

The good news is that Auburn has prepared backup Jeremy Johnson for this moment and if he's called upon Lashlee said he's confident in the true freshman. Completing 69.2 percent of his throws for 393 yards and six touchdowns and two interceptions, Johnson doesn't have the running game down quite like Marshall, but Lashlee said they feel good that one or both can get the job done.

"When Jeremy was able to step right in, I felt like we didn't miss a beat," Lashlee said of Saturday's win. "I felt like he played well. The first play that he was in was a big third down, and he got one-on-one coverage and made a good throw. I think that settled him down and our whole team was able to feel like it's just business as usual. Our guys have a lot of confidence in both of them."

When legendary coach Pat Dye took over the Auburn program in 1981 he talked about the importance of finishing strong and that meant taking on the Tigers' version of Amen Corner. Back then that was Florida, Georgia and Alabama at the end of the season, three of Auburn's biggest and fiercest rivalries.

While some of the names have changed, Auburn again faces off against an Amen Corner of Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, and will do it with plenty on the line. Coming off a 3-9 season, coach Gus Malzahn's Tigers are in the midst of one of the greatest turnarounds in Auburn history.

Just how far the Tigers can take it may depend on Saturday's game against the struggling Arkansas Razorbacks. A team that has ruined many Auburn dreams since joining the league in 1992, Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said that no matter the records they're expecting an all-out war when they take the field Saturday evening at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"It's a big game for us just because it's the next one," Lashlee said. "They are a good football team that has had a week off. This is two weeks in a row we're playing an opponent that has had two weeks to prepare for us."

The good news for Auburn is the Tigers are coming off taking care of business in the win over Florida Atlantic. Holding steady at #11 in the BCS standings, Lashlee said this current group of Tigers has grown up and matured throughout the season and one of the big reason why is Malzahn's influence. A coach that takes every game like it's the Super Bowl, Lashlee said this week won't be different than last week or any other with Malzahn at the helm.

"Coach is pretty locked in all the time," Lashlee said. "I would think these next several weeks are going to be pretty amped-up no matter what. Let's be honest, it's a place we're from and we've been before. It's a big game, but it's a big game because we have a lot of opportunity out in front of us. I have known Coach and back in high school it didn't matter who we were playing he prepared the same way. That's what I anticipate we'll do."

Kickoff for Saturday's game is scheduled for 5 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN2.


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