AUBURN, Ala. — Even with its struggles in the second half of the season, particularly in losses to Mississippi State and Texas A&M, Auburn still moved the ball effectively as one of the SEC’s top offenses.
That changed in last Saturday night’s 34-7 road loss to Georgia, as Auburn was held to less than 300 yards of total offense for the first time under coach Gus Malzahn.
“We still lead the league in rushing and had been running the ball pretty well,” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said Sunday night. “(Saturday) night, they just whipped us. We didn't get it done.”
One of the offense’s main problems against Georgia was in passing situations — especially for starting left tackle Shon Coleman. The redshirt sophomore struggled against Georgia’s pass rush and was called for holding twice, with both penalties wiping out third-down conversions for quarterback Nick Marshall.
“What I can say is that Shon did not play very well last night and he knows that, especially in the pass protection,” Lashlee said. “No one cares more about that than Shon. He feels as badly about that as anybody. ... The last two weeks he’s struggled a little bit in pass protection. That’s obviously going to be something he works hard on.”
Although Lashlee said that Auburn’s positions “are always open,” the coach said he still feels confident in Coleman’s potential and current ability as a first-year starter.
“There is a fine line between people wanting them to be comfortable as starters and (getting) too comfortable,” Lashlee said. “We’re 10 games into the season, and we know who we have. We know what our options are. It’s just going to be a matter of us as players and coaches manning up and performing better this week.”