AUBURN, Ala. — Rhett Lashlee knows how easy it is to suffer a letdown.
This was especially true in Auburn’s case last Saturday; coming off a road victory for the first time in two years — and on top of that, having it come against reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M — it would have been understandable to see the Tigers start slowly against Florida Atlantic.
But as Lashlee gladly noted, that was far from the case with his unit.
“They took care of business early,” Auburn’s offensive coordinator said. “From that standpoint I was proud of them. I was really worried going in because that was a team that has been really good against the pass and had played some teams like Miami and others tough. Our guys came out with that mindset and put the issue away pretty early, which I thought was big. It allowed us to put other guys in the game.”
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Of course, Lashlee made sure not to be too lavish with praise, as he still found areas that needed touching up.
“I didn’t like how we got sloppy towards the end of the game. We got a couple of penalties and did have a turnover,” he said. “We had some issues there, but at the same time we were playing some guys in positions they don’t play that much in practice. Our guys played hard.”
Ellis Johnson couldn’t complain about the defense, either.
In fact, after viewing the film, the Tigers played better than the defensive coordinator initially thought.
“A lot of the things such as our run fits and our adjustments and so forth were a little bit cleaner than it looked during the course of the game,” he said. “The one thing that could have been a little better (was that) our tackling at times was not very good.”
Johnson went on to recount how the Tigers missed four tackles on one play, which he said was a combination of over-pursuing to the ball and taking bad angles while attempting to make a tackle.
Otherwise, Johnson had few complaints with a defense that allowed only 10 points and blanked an opponent in the final period for the fifth time this season.
“We tried to play aggressive,” he said. “We came out, we focused, we tuned in. We didn't let the situation take control — they took control of the situation. We were very pleased with the overall performance.”