After dropping from second to sixth place in the AP Top 25 poll and from first to sixth in the Scout.com rankings, Offensive Coordinator Rhett Lashlee said his group plans to take advantage of the extra preparation time before the Tigers play host to South Carolina a week from Saturday.
The coach pointed out that having six games to evaluate is useful. When the Tigers had their previous bye week it was after playing just two games.
“There is a bigger sample size,” Lashlee said. “We have a better idea. Six games in, we should know our guys--know what they do well, know what they don't do well, know what they need to improve on and what we need to do differently to give our guys a better chance and put them in a better situation. There is no question the timing is better than just two games in.”
Now 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the SEC following a 38-23 loss at Mississippi State, the Tigers no longer control their own destiny in the SEC race. However, they certainly have a chance to get back to Atlanta to defend their league title if they win the rest of their games
Even if that doesn’t happen there is a chance the Tigers can still qualify for the four-team national championship playoff if they win the rest of their games vs. a very demanding schedule.
“All we can do is try to win,” Lashlee said. “Winning takes care of everything. We are in the best league, the best division in the country, we feel.
“We have got to play better than we did,” the coach added. “If we win those things will take care of themselves. In our league that is one of the positives. If you do win enough, against who you are going to be playing, that will at least have you in the conversation.”
Lashlee noted that Mississippi State was a strong opponent, but that doesn’t make the setback in Starkville any less disappointing.
“We lost to a really good team at their place,” he said. “Credit to them. We don’t think we played our best as far as beating ourselves with mistakes. We’ve got to do our best to make sure it doesn't happen again because the road is not going to get any easier.”
Reese Dismukes, a senior center, is the most experienced player on the Auburn offense.