Auburn, Ala.--Even after scoring 35 points in Saturday’s win over San Jose State, Auburn’s offense enters the bye week averaging just 24.6 points per game this season. With a total offensive output of just 343.8 yards per contest the Tigers have a whole lot of work to do between now and next Thursday against Kentucky.
To put those numbers into perspective Auburn only scored less than 24 points three times a year ago and just once did the Tigers have less than 350 yards of total offense in a game.
That work begins at the quarterback position where Sean White is two starts in, but far from solidly Auburn’s guy moving forward. With a week to work on themselves as an offense, coordinator Rhett Lashlee said the Tigers still have plenty of competition at quarterback.
While White has been solid the lack of production in the passing game has to be a concern moving forward the rest of this season. Because of that the lingering question is does Jeremy Johnson get another shot at the job? Lashlee wouldn’t rule that out.
“You know, we're just going to take it game by game right now,” Lashlee said. “Sean has done, in the two games he's played, a very nice job. I think he's protecting the ball well through the air for the most part, he's making good decisions, he's making accurate throws and I think our guys are responding to him.
“Jeremy has handled it very well, he's practicing hard. So, yeah, those guys have to compete every day, just like everyone else does, but they both have to be ready to play. You never know what's going to happen in a game.”
Based on the first five games of the season that’s going to mean running the football for this Auburn offense. So far this year the Tigers have run the ball 214 times and thrown just 110 passes with just 10 of those coming on Saturday. Lashlee said while the offense hasn’t opened things up with the pass just yet he believes that can be done when and if it’s needed.
“We’re going to do what the game dictates,” Lashlee said. “If we need to throw for 300 yards, we’re prepared to give it all we’ve got to do that. We had a good game plan going in and the way the game dictated, we didn’t throw for a lot of yards. We’re not a big stats machine right now.
“I don’t think that’s a big secret to anybody else but what we did yesterday was finish drives better in the red zone, which the exception of that third-and-1, we got to pick that up, that’s inexcusable. We didn’t turn it over, we didn’t have an offensive penalty, we were over 50 percent on third down and I think we only punted it two times in the game.
“We just have to maximize our possessions right now the way things are unfolding.”
That’s the key right for this Auburn offense said Lashlee, making the drives count. Unable to get the tempo going consistently and not wanting to throw the ball around the field, the Tigers are depending on the running game to win at the moment and Lashlee said the key is just to come out with the victory.
“We didn’t have a lot of plays, but I do think we maximized our drives better than we have been,” Lashlee said of Saturday. “At the end of the day we’re going to do whatever it takes to win. If it’s ugly, if it’s pretty, if it’s 88 plays, if it’s 55 plays, that’s all that matters.”