Kerryon Johnson (above) scored two touchdowns vs. Ole Miss.
Auburn, Ala.--Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said he saw plenty to like after grading video of Auburn’s 40-29 SEC road win at Ole Miss.
With their fifth straight victory the Tigers improved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the SEC. Auburn also got a boost in this week’s polls, moving up to 11th in the AP 25 and 12th in the ranking by the coaches.
“Overall, when you kind of look at the game, kind of the positives that really stood out were we talk about balance a lot and I thought we achieved pretty good balance,”Lashlee said.
“We had over 300 yards rushing and 247 yards passing. Obviously, it wasn’t balanced in the attempts and carries. At halftime we were close to 190 yards rushing and around 80 or so passing. They were starting to overload the box and we kind of challenged our guys that we were going to have to challenge our guys in the passing game.
“I thought we were able to do that by throwing for over 170 or so yards in the second half,” the coach said. “It still allowed us to finish off running the football later. We were able to throw it when we needed to, run it when we needed to and from that standpoint I was really pleased.
“The other standpoint was what we tell the guys all the time, which was play the game, don’t play the scoreboard,” Lashlee said. “Don’t let the scoreboard dictate how we play in terms of not only effort, but just mentally. The scoreboard takes care of itself at the end so we had 11 possessions and I think in the first eight possessions we got the ball every time behind. That’s part of playing on the road in the SEC and I never thought our guys pressed or panicked.
“Then the last three possessions when we got the ball ahead, our guys didn’t change how they were playing,”?he said. “It’s a credit to our guys that they’re playing really good team offense. We had eight different guys catch a ball. Every guy that caught a ball had either double-digit yards receiving or caught a ball for a first down.
“We had five different guys carry it,” Lashlee pointed out. “It just didn’t matter who was stepping up to make plays because guys were making plays. As a whole for our team if you look at the defense, we had to score here and there to get us where we needed, but our first two drives in the second half we punt two times in a row. We get a huge fourth-down stop and another stop.
“The things we had that we just can’t do is we had two penalties that hurt us when in the second half when we’re trying to get tempo. We put the ball on the ground twice and one of them with a miscommunication by the quarterback not snapping the ball correctly on some motion and another late in the game.
“We had two drops where we could’ve made a play and then we had two deep balls we could’ve hit,” the offensive coordinator said. “The good thing is there is a lot of room for improvement in the execution column, but I thought our guys played extremely hard and more than anything they made plays.”
After arriving home late from a Saturday night road game, the coaching staff gave the players the day off from practice on Sunday.
Next up for the Tigers is an 11 a.m. home game vs. the Vanderbilt Commodores, who did not play last week. The contest will be televised on ESPN.
The Commodores have relied on their defense this season and Lashlee noted he is impressed. “They are really good,” he said. “They won at Georgia and that gets your attention right there.”