AUBURN, Ala. — Rhett Lashlee wasn't on the field for Nick Marshall's mishandled exchange with Cameron Artis-Payne in the fourth quarter Saturday.
He also wasn't on the field for the miscommunication on the botched snap between Marshall and Reese Dismukes that proved to be the Tigers' final offensive play.
What both of those plays have in common, Lashlee said after Sunday's practice, was that he was at fault.
"The last play was kind of one of those unfortunate deals. We saw something we liked, and obviously I think a lot of the responsibility falls on me, not on the kids," said Lashlee, Auburn's offensive coordinator. "They played their butts off, and they got us back down there with a chance to win. We saw something we liked, but it obviously didn't work out, and we lost the game."
Lashlee stayed on that tack, once more taking the fall for any miscues his unit made in the 41-38 defeat.
"Here's the bottom line, guys: The game's over. We lost, and it's kind of like what I tell Nick when he throws an interception in the middle of the second quarter: 'There's nothing you can do about that play any more. Only thing that matters is what you can do moving forward,'" Lashlee said. "It's the same thing when you do something good. It's all in the past. So we didn't get it done. No blame falls on Reese or Nick."
When told Dismukes took responsibility for the final fumble, Lashlee wasn't surprised.
"Yeah, it's the type of kid he is," the coach said. "Got a lot of character. He's a standup kid."
It was even harder to watch for Lashlee since he considers Dismukes, a four-year starter at center, the best player in the country at his position. And Lashlee made sure to note he was not in the mood to point any fingers.
He would leave that to others.
"I'm not here to assess blame like some people," he said. "I think it was just an unfortunate thing that happened. It doesn't always have to be somebody's fault."
Lashlee was equally steadfast the first fourth quarter fumble was the right play call. It was the same play the Tigers had used to score on two different occasions earlier in the game, Lashlee said. In turn, they felt confident about calling it again.
It just didn't work out on the third go-round.
"It's a huge part of who we are, that's our offense. That's what we had been really good at," Lashlee said. "So I wouldn't second-guess that one bit."