Sean White quickly corrected himself when he made reference to starting next week in his post-game press conference Saturday night.
“I made a bad read, I’ll correct it on film and be better next week,” White said, looking out at a large crowd of reporters. “Or whenever.”
The honest slip of the tongue doesn’t change the fact that White probably earned himself a second start with his performance in a 17-9 loss to Mississippi State.
White couldn’t get Auburn into the end zone, but the offense looked more in sync than it had in Jeremy Johnson’s previous two starts.
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“I thought he did great,” Auburn offensive lineman Shon Coleman said. “He definitely had a lot of confidence, which he has gained throughout the week at practice. Sean is a tough guy and watching him dive and run with the ball, we expected stuff like that.”
Coleman was referencing a pair of long runs White made in the third quarter to try and bring Auburn back from a 14-0 deficit.
The tackle said White can “run, throw and pass the ball” in calling the offensive’s future a bright one.
White’s numbers weren’t gaudy – he finished 20 of 28 for 188 yards with an interception, 11 carries for 29 yards – but the offense maintained a two to one time of possession advantage through much of the game, and had a season-high 25 first downs.
Despite coach Gus Malzahn claiming to be noncommittal about the quarterback situation for his team’s homecoming game next Saturday against San Jose State, it’s hard to picture a scenario where he goes back to Johnson.
Johnson made a cameo appearance Saturday at the goal line, but Mississippi State called a timeout and he didn’t take a snap.
White had similar struggles getting the ball down field as Johnson, but did a much better job utilizing his offensive weapons, and establishing a rhythm. He completed passes to nine different targets with Duke Williams’ season-high four catches for 49 yards leading the group.
“We thought he did a very good job for his very first time,” Malzahn said. “He competed and fourth. When we had to throw it, we didn’t protect him great, but he compete and did some good things.”