Sean White (above) is a redshirt sophomore for the Tigers.
Auburn, Ala.--The much-questioned decision to rotate three quarterbacks for the opening game against Clemson did not sit well with many Auburn football fans. In game two Coach Gus Malzahn’s plan to feature one worked out well in a 51-14 victory over Arkansas State.
Able to get into a rhythm while directing the offense, quarterback Sean White had his best game in an Auburn uniform going for 17-23 passing for 244 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 60 more yards.
White’s total yardage of 306 was the most by a Tiger since Nick Marshall’s outburst of 505 yards in the 2014 Iron Bowl. Malzahn choosing him over the other quarterback options was an “extra confidence boost,” according to White. That trust is carrying over into his teammates, too.
“(My teammates) have done a great job of just playing well and listening to me,” the quarterback said. “If I have something that I see they listen to me and it feels really good.”
The major question concerning White getting most of the reps at quarterback was his perceived lack of running ability. He hopes that issue was put to rest with his performance on Saturday night.
“The defense definitely has to respect me running,” White said. “It’s something that I feel like I haven’t been able to show. I showed it a little bit this game though this game and I think that’s something I have to do all year.”
His position coach and offensive coordinator, Rhett Lashlee, noted that he saw good things from the sophomore quarterback.
“What I thought he did well was he trusted his instincts,” Lashlee said. “We dropped back to pass--I think the first time with four verticals in a tempo situation--and it wasn’t bad protection. He could of slid up and probably delivered the ball, but I think he saw a lane and ran up and got about eight or nine yards.
“Another time we had a play on a second down, he steps up and scrambles for 20,” Lashlee added. “I think when he does that it loosens a lot of things up. He showed some confidence in his ability to make some plays with his feet and that's big. We need that.”
White said that the victory over Arkansas State was important for team chemistry and offensive flow and that “style points weren’t a factor.”
“We just needed to get in a rhythm on offense more than anything,” he remarked. “That was most important because we knew that we were better than (what we showed) last week. We wanted to show people that we do have a good offense.”
White admitted that getting away from the three quarterback system used last week helped allow the Tigers to get in an offensive rhythm “much quicker” than on opening night.
“I think it helps as far as the whole team knows who to look to and knowing who’s going to be the guy to take most of (the snaps) this week,” he said. “It gives me confidence, too, because it lets me know that I’m the guy, I’m going to be in there and I’m going to be able to get into the rhythm of play.”
White also noted that “wow” plays like the Kyle Davis one-handed catch help create momentum, something he said the freshman has the potential to continue to do.
Kyle Davis makes his second collegiate catch in Saturday's 51-14 victory over Arkansas State.
“He is a great, great player,” quarterback said. “He has been out a lot for the spring and the beginning of fall camp and he’s really only been practicing for a couple of weeks, and in those couple weeks he just makes wild plays all the time. He just needs to get reps in practice.”
Next up for White and the Tigers is a Saturday home game vs. 17th-ranked Texas A&M. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CDT and the SEC opener will be televised on ESPN.