Auburn, Ala.--After completing 20-28 passes for 188 yards and adding 29 rushing yards in his first career start and playing time for the Auburn Tigers, redshirt freshman Sean White will once again get the starting nod Coach Gus Malzahn announced on Tuesday.
"Sean White gave the offense and spark and he will start again this week," Malzahn said. "I really feel like he's earned that.
"There's a lot of things we feel like we can build on with him," he added. "We feel like he can get better and better...we feel like he's got a chance to be a very good quarterback in our system."
Playing with poise and confidence despite no career experience, White did some good things against Mississippi State last Saturday and Malzahn said he’s earned the right to go back out there and lead this team.
“The moment wasn’t too big for him,” Malzahn said of White. “He showed some toughness, he showed some grit. I think he made a really strong impression on his teammates.”
One of the guys that loved what he saw from White was wide receiver Marcus Davis. Playing against White several times in high school Davis said he knew the young quarterback could throw the football, but watching him run and sacrifice his body is the thing that resonated with him and his teammates.
“I think that guy played with a lot of courage,” Davis said. “He did his best to make plays for us.
“It meant a lot because as a group we told him we would be behind him,” he added. “Just to see that, I think it was something in return for us and motivated us to keep playing hard.”
Not only did he impress his wide receivers, but White’s physical play even stood out to left tackle Shon Coleman. A player that knows a little bit about toughness after coming back from cancer to earn a starting job with the Tigers, Coleman said he sees some good things from White so far.
“It means a lot,” Coleman said of White’s willingness to put his body on the line. “He’s a tough guy and great character. We expected him to do that. We already knew he would do things like that. He’s a tough kid.”
It’s not just his offensive teammates noticing White’s all-out effort to help the Tigers win. One of Auburn’s top defensive players, Montravius Adams said seeing the 200-pounder diving for first downs and laying it on the line inspires the team to do the same.
“To me it means he’s a guy that really wants to win,” Adams said. “That’s what I want to play with, a winner.”
While White has shown the ability to get the job done the next order of business for him and the offense is the ability to strike quickly, something this Auburn team hasn’t done so far in 2015. Whether it’s on the ground or through the air Malzahn said the Tigers have to find a way to get chunk yardage and take some of the pressure off White beginning this Saturday against San Jose State.
“We have to have more explosive plays,” Malzahn said. “When we’re at our best we’re having explosive plays. We’ve yet to get into that rhythm and we’ve got to figure that out. That’s what our offensive staff is focused on and really getting the ball to the playmakers that can make those plays down the field.
“We’re a work in progress right now, but I feel good about the plan moving forward and we just need to get it done on the field.”