AUBURN, Ala. — Rhett Lashlee joked that Nick Marshall’s miracle touchdown pass to Ricardo Louis last Saturday transpired “exactly the way we drew it up.”
He just wished he had been able to see it all the way to the end.
“I think somebody tackled me,” Auburn’s offensive coordinator said following Wednesday’s practice.
As for the play itself, Lashlee said there wasn’t really anything special about it. He went into detail over the options on the play: There was a deep post (Louis) with a dig route over the middle (Sammie Coates) and other receivers underneath to hold the linebackers. It was a play Lashlee was quite familiar with, since he ran it himself when he was playing quarterback for Gus Malzahn at Shiloh Christian School in Springdale, Ark. He recalled that he hit both the post and the dig routes “a lot.”
Of course, he admitted, it never happened quite spectacularly as it did on the 73-yard scoring strike last Saturday.
“Our thought was, ‘Get Ricardo in there, a fast guy that can take the top off the defense, and if you catch a cheap one, great,’” Lashlee said. “You’re thinking really that you’re clearing everything out and trying to bring Sammie around the sticks and get the first down. We had pretty good protection, but it takes a while to develop. That’s why people don’t run those plays on a regular basis much because it’s hard to protect that long. They only rushed three and our line did a good job.”
From there, Lashlee said the rest of the credit for the play was due to Marshall. At first, he believed that the junior signal-caller looked at Coates.
Seeing that the sophomore receiver hadn’t cleared Georgia’s deepest linebacker, Marshall just decided to throw the ball up for grabs.
“The last thing you want to do is get sacked and at not at least give somebody a chance,” Lashlee said. “He gave Ricardo a shot and it was just like we drew it up.”
But was it the right decision? As Malzahn mentioned after Saturday’s victory, Coates was always supposed to be the first option on the play.
When asked about it, Lashlee said it wasn’t his place to judge.
“His read is post then dig and the rest is history,” he said. “Who am I to question the touchdown?”