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Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee defends week one performance, game plan

Auburn wide receiver Marcus Davis, No. 80, gets tackled behind the line of scrimmage against Clemson Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn wide receiver Marcus Davis, No. 80, gets tackled behind the line of scrimmage against Clemson Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee isn’t ready to bury the now abandoned three quarterback system Auburn used Saturday night against Clemson.

“I think you take about four plays out and there was a lot of good things,” Lashlee said during his weekly press conference Wednesday night.

Lashlee counted the team’s three turnovers and Sean White missing a wide-open Chandler Cox in the end zone as plays he would like back, but didn’t find fault with how the game was called.

“I think the plan was good,” Lashlee said.

Lashlee defended the team’s overall production in the third and fourth quarter saying 48 plays for 250 yards is a “pretty good half against anybody.”

The main issue in the second half was Auburn’s ineffectiveness in the red zone

“The first half was unacceptable for what we do here at Auburn,” Lashlee said. “We had five drives and four were three and out. That's not acceptable. The second half, we had seven drives and six of them went into their territory because we were moving the ball, had a little more tempo going.”

Lashlee was reluctant to make too much of starting quarterback Sean White’s performance noting that the sophomore only played 38 snaps.

White received mostly positive marks — only two of the grades wouldn’t have graded out negatively — with Lashlee noting the throw on the Florida native’s deep completion to Kyle Davis would have been better with stronger protection.

“The reason the ball was underthrown is that he kind of had to adjust in the pocket,” Lashlee said. “He got hit a little bit, so really it was a good job of him getting it there. And same thing on the one to Will Hastings. But when we have time to set our feet, we’ve got to be very efficient with those deep balls.”

Lashlee wasn’t even concerned about White’s accuracy despite the quarterback finishing the game 10 for 21 with an interception.

“You take away his one throw to Chandler, that was one thing I thought with all the guys, that accuracy was better,” Lashlee said. “When we threw the ball there wasn't a lot of inaccurate throws. We missed the one tight end throw but other than that, I thought he played well. His one interception was fourth and goal. You've got to throw it and you've got to try and force it in a tight window. They had pretty good coverage on the play.”

Auburn is preparing for an Arkansas State that has a recent history struggling against the past, but with seven returning starters Lashlee isn’t taking anything for granted.

“It depends on how they play us,” Lashlee said. “But if that’s what they’re giving us, we’ve got to be able to execute. It would be great to go out there and throw and catch the ball well. It would be great to go out and run the ball well… They’re going to make you earn everything. They’re not going to beat themselves on defense. So execution is at a premium.”