War Eagle Extra

Auburn OC Rhett Lashlee punts on questions about QB signee Jarrett Stidham

Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee wasn’t in the mood to talk about the future Saturday morning.

The assistant coach was willing to answer only one question about early enrollee quarterback Jarrett Stidham during a press conference for the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

It was the first time Lashlee addressed the media since Auburn made the addition of Stidham official. The coordinator hadn’t spoken with reporters since the week leading up to the Iron Bowl.

The lone Lashlee answered was about how Auburn’s current starter has handled the situation.

Stidham, who comes to the Plains as the No. 1 JUCO quarterback in the country, participated in a handful of bowl practices on campus before the team left for New Orleans. This is the second straight year the coaching staff has brought in a high profile junior college transfer to compete for White’s job in the spring.

“Sean has prepared for this game,” Lashlee said. “Sean and all of our players are worried about this game. Every year, you’re bringing in players at every position, and so in every offseason, guys know they’re competing. I think competition brings out the best in everybody, and I don’t think it will be any different next year.”

Stidham’s “style of play” made the former Baylor quarterback a good fit at Auburn, which previously recruited him out of high school.

Lashlee was asked for a more detailed breakdown of Stidham’s skill set, but was unwilling to discuss the situation any further.

“Not any disrespect to him, but we kind of want to focus on the guys playing in this game, because I think they’ve earned that,” Lashlee said. “But Jarrett can obviously throw the ball well and throw it vertically down the field, but he’s going to have to come in, earn the respect of his teammates and earn the right to have a chance to play, just like the guys who are here and will compete as well.”

Lashlee said no quarterbacks – White or John Franklin III were mentioned specifically — had “any issues” this month with the new arrival, and the coach expects it to remain that way when Auburn goes through another quarterback battle this spring.

Michael Niziolek: 334-332-8572, @wareagleextra