Auburn football: Tigers overcome uneven energy level and execution to improve 'in a lot of areas'

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comApril 10, 2014 

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall's marijuana citation case is now closed after his mother paid the fines, according to Reynolds (Ga.) police chief Lonnie Holder.

LAUREN BARNARD — Auburn University

AUBURN, Ala. — Slowly but surely, Auburn’s offense is starting to pick up the pace.

But there are still times when the Tigers need a reminder, Rhett Lashlee said. Yes, there have been lulls since spring practice began. All in all, though, Lashlee had few complaints.

“Playing fast is a mind-set and our guys have bought in,” Auburn’s offensive coordinator said. “It's always easier (in) Year 2 than it was (compared to) this time last spring. Last spring we were coaching the tempo. Now we haven't had to do that as much. I think the other thing that helps our guys see the value of it.”

Lashlee also credited strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell for his contributions.

“They hardly ever get hurt and hardly have any injuries — pulled muscles and all that,” he said. “It's a great tribute to Coach Russell and I think it's a tribute to the way we practice and prepare that their bodies are well-equipped for those things.”

While Lashlee has been pleased with the sped-up tempo, the Tigers’ intensity and execution has been uneven at best.

He noted the first five practices had “great energy” and that “guys were flying around.”

Then it started to taper off.

“We hit a little bit of a lull probably somewhere two or three practices towards the middle, which is probably normal,” Lashlee said. “Guys get used to, ‘Hey we're in practice 7-8-9-10, middle of the spring. (We’re) not fresh anymore.’ That's when to be a great team, you have to push through it and get better. There were some days I don't know if we got a lot better.”

However, Lashlee said the team has turned a corner in its two sessions this week.

“We're improving. The last two practices, I think our guys are starting to pick the tempo back up,” he said. “Our coach (Gus Malzahn) has done a good job. We're getting better in a lot of areas I think.”

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