AUBURN, Ala. Nick Marshalls shoulder felt good enough the coaching staff was comfortable starting him last Saturday.
However, he didnt take near as many shots downfield as normal, his 88-yard scoring strike to Sammie Coates notwithstanding. Rhett Lashlee said the teams decision to go with more of a quick-toss, short-yardage philosophy was due more to the way Arkansas played defensively than any attempt to rein Marshall in.
They were bringing the safeties the safeties down and squeezing their linebackers in, theyre giving you bubble screens, theyre giving you little hitches, theyre giving you those things, the offensive coordinator said. That was kind of what happened.
In sum, the Tigers threw only nine times Saturday. Once more, Lashlee said it had nothing to do with a specific game plan of running the ball a vast majority of the time. Instead, it was just the way the game played out.
We drive eight or nine plays to start the game, having a good little drive and then we mess up our self with a penalty, so we stall, he said. The next thing we know, our defense gets a fumble and we score in two plays. Then, I dont remember what happened there but we get the ball oh, they kick an onside kick. We score in like, three plays. So there really havent been a lot of opportunities to throw the ball, especially since youre running it and youre getting 10 yards a clip.
Given how well the Tigers are running the ball this season they are leading the SEC in rushing at 306.2 yards per game, after all its easy to see why they rarely put the ball in the air. But Lashlee knows there will likely be a game in the near future that calls for them to implement a pass-happy approach in order to emerge victorious.
When that day arrives, Lashlee was certain his unit would be ready.
Weve got plenty of things we can do each week, he said. Each game is different. (Whether) its that they play you different, which they did not, or just the way they unfold. Just trust me. We know its going to happen a game where we have to win the game throwing the football. When it happens, I feel confident that our guys are going to be able to do it.