Photography: Johnny Lawrence

Auburn's Football Team Has to "Figure Out" How to Improve In Red Zone, Lineman Says

Auburn got past LSU with six field goals from Daniel Carlson, but the Tigers couldn't come up with touchdowns despite good opportunities.

Sean White (above) looks to pass as Austin Golson (73) and Alex Kozan (63) protect the quarterback.

Auburn, Ala.--After the Auburn Tigers earned an 18-13 SEC football over LSU with a gutsy, albeit inconsistent performance by the offense, the question remains on why this unit struggles so much to score touchdowns once it gets inside the red zone (opposition’s 20-yard line).

Head Coach Gus Malzahn turned over game day play calling duties to offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee on Saturday and at times the offense seemed to reap the benefits of having a better flow. Nevertheless, once Auburn was inside LSU’s 20-yard line the Tigers couldn’t power their way into the end zone.

For the season the Tigers have scored on 77.3 percent of their 22 red zone trips, but are only 7-22 on converting those opportunities into touchdowns.

“We’ve got to figure that out,” said offensive tackle Austin Golson when asked about why the offense is struggling in the red zone. “I thought we played well on offense, very well actually, against a really good defense.”

Golson also addressed the “negative talk” surrounding the offensive line’s performance through the first four games for the Tigers, who improved their record to 2-2 with the win over LSU.

“I feel like we’ve played pretty well,” Golson said. “If somebody has to be blamed, we will (the offensive line) will take the blame. We just have to keep moving forward. I think we’ve played well in every game except maybe against Clemson.

“Overall, we haven’t played bad,” the junior added. “We’ve just got to put it all together and everybody be on the same page at all times. We’ll just keep moving forward.”

His quarterback, Sean White, was complimentary of the offensive line and predicted the group will improve and become one of the best in the SEC by season’s end.

“I think they’ve done well,” White said. “I had good protection for the most part. I think one time (LSU) got us on a blitz, but it wasn’t really the offensive line’s fault.

“Another sack was on the goal line because I stretched it out,” White pointed out. “I probably should have thrown it away. Overall, I think the offensive line did great. They are starting to gel together. They are all juniors and seniors and as the season goes on they will get better. I guarantee it.”

White, Golson and the rest of the offense will have one more week of working on “gelling together” before they play for the first time this season outside of the confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium. If the Tigers want to win many road games this year they will probably need to score touchdowns in the red zone instead of settling for field goals like they did in the win over LSU.

The next chance to improve on that is this Saturday as the 1-2 ULM Warhawks come to Auburn for a 2:30 p.m. CDT kickoff.

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