War Eagle Extra

How can Auburn quarterback Sean White take his game up a notch?

Auburn quarterback Sean White, No. 13, hands off the ball to running back Kamryn Pettway in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016.
Auburn quarterback Sean White, No. 13, hands off the ball to running back Kamryn Pettway in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. AP

Auburn quarterback Sean White’s steady numbers aren’t exactly stealing the spotlight from his contemporaries within the SEC

White isn’t mentioned in the same breathe with Trevor Knight, Chad Kelly or breakout freshman Jalen Hurts.

There’s no denying he’s the most efficient with a conference-best 68.5 completion percentage that ranks ninth in the country, but what does White need to do to be considered one of the conference’s best quarterbacks?

“The one thing we have to improve on is hitting those vertical shots,” Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. “I think that’s very obvious at this point. He’s extremely efficient, but if we want to take that next step, we’re going to have to hit some of those big throws.”

White could have elevated his best performance of the season Saturday night in a 40-29 win over Ole Miss to a career-night if he connected with Kyle Davis on a throw deep down the field in the third quarter. The sophomore sailed the ball past the lengthy receiver’s outstretched hand.

White missed a similar would-be touchdown to Tony Stevens in a win over Mississippi State.

Opposing defenses are going to be focused on stopping a rushing offense averaging more than 300 yards. The emphasis on Auburn’s ground game will open up opportunities for more explosive plays in the passing game.

Lashlee isn’t going to hesitate changing up the game plan to take advantage of the defensive shifts like he did Saturday night.

“We kind of got the feel towards the end of the first half they were starting to overload the box,” Lashlee said. “We kind of challenged our guys at halftime that we were going to have to make some plays in the passing game.”

Lashlee’s suggestion for White wasn’t aimed at taking away anything from what the offensive coordinator described as a stellar performance against the Rebels.

Whether it was scrambling 16-yards for a first down late in the game or hitting Darius Slayton out of Auburn’s own end zone, White thrived in pressure situations to finish the game 15 of 22 passes for 247 yards with a touchdown.

“He stepped up and made some plays when there wasn't much there,” Lashlee said. “I think that's what his teammates love about him. This week he did a good job of knowing where the sticks were.”

Lashlee complimented White in the strongest terms he’s used all season Sunday night.

“He’s been extremely efficient 20 yards and in, and pretty much deadly accurate,” Lashlee said. “Not only is he efficient with the throws, but the decision making. His worst decision last night was when we snapped the ball on that bad play. So he’s making good decisions with the football, whether to tuck it and run or who to throw it to, and he’s very decisive and confident.”

Michael Niziolek: 334-332-8572, @wareagleextra