No Offensive Line Shakeup, Lashlee Says

Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee talks about the Tigers following a pleasing practice as Auburn returned to the practice field to prepare for South Carolina.

Auburn, Ala.--Following Tuesday evening’s football practice, Coach Rhett Lashlee said the Tigers will start the same offensive line group from the previous two games when Auburn takes on South Carolina on Saturday night.

That means that Patrick Miller, who missed the past two games with an ankle sprain, won’t be back in the lineup at right tackle. That spot will be played by Avery Young, who has also started three games at right guard.

The right guard spot will be played by Chad Slade with Devonte Danzey expected to make his third start at left guard.

Shon Coleman, who has started all six games at left tackle, and Reese Dismukes, who has done the same thing at center, round out the starters on the offensive front.

“We mixed and matched some things in the off week,” Lashlee said of the offensive line where true freshman Braden Smith got plenty of work at left guard after previously playing tackle and tight end.

“We tried to make sure everybody got as close to full speed as they can be this time of year, but we feel pretty good about the guys who played the last couple of games and where they are at,” the offensive coordinator noted.

“We feel good about Pat (Miller) making a lot of strides to be back to 100 percent,” he added. “We feel good about Braden getting a lot of reps and if he is ever called upon he will be ready. We are just trying to make sure our depth is good and if certain situations arise like happened in the first few games we are ready to put guys in where they need to be.”

Braden Smith was signed in February as a five-star recruit from Kansas.

Asked if Smith is ready to start, Lashlee said, “I don’t think he is ready to do that just yet, but we sure got him a lot of reps and boy he’s really coming along. Physically, he is very gifted, but you just need more and more reps and game reps are even different than practice reps. Hopefully, his role will expand. We will see how that goes. We feel good about where everybody is at.”

The Tigers practiced for two hours in full pads on Tuesday evening after taking Monday off following a longer than normal Sunday practice.

“Practice today I thought was really good,” Lashlee said. “Our guys probably flew around as good as they have at any practice all year.

“They came out with some intensity, some urgency. I thought literally, from the beginning of practice until the end, it was as hard as we have practiced at any time.

“It was a really good practice throwing and catching the ball,” Lashlee said. “Bouncing around, the tempo, the urgency--I think it was a really good practice, it was a good start to our prep.”

While Auburn was off last week South Carolina won 41-10 at home vs. Furman following an off week. Commenting on the Gamecocks’ defense, Lashlee said, “They have a Lot of speed. They have got about six guys back who have played a lot of football. I think early in the year they tried some new things and have kind of settled down now and played better the last few weeks.

“Last year they were one of the top defenses in the country and they have some senior leaders and some older guys who have played a lot of ball. It’s a good group. They have had a couple of weeks to get ready and I think they will be ready to play.”

Early in the season the Gamecocks struggled with their new schemes defensively and go into Saturday’s contest ranked 12th in the SEC in total defense, allowing 421.3 yards per game. “They tried some different things early,” said Lashlee, who added the Gamecocks “have settled down” and are playing better.

In other news and notes:

*Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CDT on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will be televised on the SEC Network. The Auburn Network’s radio coverage is available on Sirius Channel 126 and XM Channel 191. The game will also be carried on the Touchdown Radio Network.

*South Carolina comes into the contest with a 4-3 overall mark and a 2-3 record in SEC play. Steve Spurrier’s team is looking to avoid its first three-game conference losing streak since losing to Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida in 2009.

*Saturday’s game will mark just the fourth time the Gamecocks have traveled to Auburn for a game. The Tigers have won each of those matchups and lead the series 9-1-1 with the only loss coming in 1933.

*Although this is game eight for South Carolina and game seven for Auburn, the Gamecocks and Tigers have not played a single common opponent and won’t until November when the Tigers take on Texas A&M.

*South Carolina is 13th in the SEC in rushing defense, giving up 181.7 yards per contest. Auburn is third in rushing offense with an average of 262.0 yards per game, just behind Georgia (265.9) and Mississippi State (264.3).

*Auburn’s 2014 opponents currently have a combined record of 58-24 for a .707 winning percentage with six teams ranked in the Top 25.

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