Fans aren’t clamoring for John Franklin III anymore.
Auburn spent the first three weeks of the season looking for any excuse to put Franklin into the game — coach Gus Malzahn handed the offense over to the junior college transfer in the second half against Texas A&M hoping looking a spark — but Sean White isn’t looking over his shoulder anymore.
White led Auburn to a third straight win Saturday thanks to a performance offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee described as “steady” and “efficient.”
Lashlee’s praise might sound modest, but White’s effectiveness has the offense playing its best football in two years.
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“Sean is our guy,” Lashlee said Tuesday night. “He’s playing well and getting better each week. He’s doing what a starting quarterback should do and he’s making it hard for other people to get on the field.”
White completed 14 of his 18 pass attempts in Saturday’s 38-14 win over Mississippi State. It was the third straight week he eclipsed the 70 percent accuracy mark and fourth time this season.
The only game White completed at least 70 percent of his passes last year was in his debut performance (20 of 28) against the Bulldogs.
“He’s just confident in his arm,” Auburn’s leading wide receiver Tony Stevens said. “He knows he’s going to get the ball there.”
White leads the SEC with a 69.7 percent completion percentage this season and is ranked seventh nationally.
The sophomore’s overall production — 1,187 yards, six touchdowns — is more towards the middle of the pack in the conference, but Auburn has run the ball almost 75 percent of the time the last three weeks.
When Auburn has needed to air it out, White’s made the most of his limited opportunities.
“I thought he did some really good things,” Lashlee said of Saturday’s game. “Probably overall he graded out the best (of his career). We didn't have the ball much and he didn't do a whole lot in the second half, but in the first half he played very sharp.”
Auburn would be happy to run the ball 55 times a game all season, but Lashlee knows that’s not realistic.
“Trust me, we’re going to be balanced and we’re going to run the football but there are going to be plenty of games where we’re going to have to throw it a lot more than 16 times or 18 times or whatever it was,” Lashlee said. “That time is coming. Obviously it gives us more confidence to be efficient and stay on the field.”