War Eagle Extra

Tony Stevens expected Rhett Lashlee back with Auburn in 2017

Michael Niziolek: 334-332-8572, @wareagleextra

Auburn wide receiver Tony Stevens runs drills at Jordan-Hare Stadium before the team plays Arkansas St. during the 2016 season.
Auburn wide receiver Tony Stevens runs drills at Jordan-Hare Stadium before the team plays Arkansas St. during the 2016 season. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

AUBURN, Ala. When former Auburn wide receiver Tony Stevens walked out the door with the rest of his fellow seniors he didn’t expect offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee to join them. Stevens found out about Lashlee’s departure when the news leaked out on social media.

“I was really surprised, I was,” Stevens said. “I was just on Twitter and just seen it. Oh, he’s leaving? It was unexpected to me.”

Lashlee didn’t offer any hints he was looking to leave leading up to the Sugar Bowl. Stevens left the visiting locker room in the Superdome expecting the offensive coordinator to return.

“Honestly, his demeanor wasn’t like he was leaving or anything like that,” Stevens said. “It was all like he was going to be here next year.”

Stevens is busy preparing for Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game, but talked briefly about Auburn’s problems in the passing game this season and how the program’s receivers have struggled in recent years.

According to Stevens, NFL scouts attribute the problems to Auburn’s quarterback, but the wide receiver said there was blame to go around.

“I wouldn’t put it all on the quarterback,” Stevens said. “We have to go out there and do what we do — make plays. If the ball comes to us, we have to do what we can.”

Stevens said the quarterbacks and wide receivers struggled to get into a “groove” at times with the focus on the run game.

Auburn quarterbacks combined for less than 20 pass attempts in five games this season with a season-low 12 attempts in a win against Arkansas. The Tigers attempted the fewest passes in the SEC while only eight teams in all of college football attempted fewer passes.

Michael Niziolek: 334-332-8572, @wareagleextra

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