Auburn isn’t keeping the curtains drawn on its quarterback situation this week.
For the first time in nearly a month, the Tigers’ coaching staff was comfortable revealing its starter prior to game day.
"I think it's safe to say he'll (Sean White) probably start the game Saturday,” Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said.
On Sunday night, Lashlee spoke to the media about the progress White made in his third start, a 30-27 win over Kentucky. White went 17 of 27 for 255 yards, and ran the ball six times for seven yards.
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“We wanted to be aggressive and give guys a chance to make plays and he did that,” Lashlee said. “He made some really good decisions and really good throws and even when it was kind of covered, he put the ball in position where Ricardo or somebody could go up and make a play on the ball.”
White made important strides with four explosive plays, completions of 20-plus yards, and his effectiveness on third downs. Outside of the third quarter, Auburn was 11 of 14 on third down conversions.
On film, Lashlee only saw one clear mistake from White, an attempt in a first quarter red zone situation where he threw into coverage.
“That's really probably the only poor decision with the football I thought he made,” Lashlee said. “I thought his ball security was much better. I think he'll just get more and more confident and it's something we can build on.”
The redshirt freshman’s improved execution isn’t the only way the quarterback is having a positive impact on the Tigers.
White’s teammates agree that Florida native’s high-degree of confidence for a first year player is helping establish a better attitude on the sidelines.
Linebacker Tre’ Williams said the “vibe” the defense is getting from the offense is much different than it was early in the season.
“When you see the offense pushing as hard as they can we have to do our job because we’re all one,” Williams said. “Toward the beginning of the season we didn’t really have that vibe. I’m not blaming anybody, it was on both sides of the ball. The defense wasn’t playing well, the offense wasn’t playing well. But now you see ever since the offense started picking up and the defense started picking up, You can see Auburn picking it up.”
Wide receiver Marcus Davis knew White was talented coming into the season, but didn’t expect him to quickly develop into a team leader.
“(Sean is) More vocal,” Davis said. “Communicating with guys and giving us the ability to know that we can make plays.”
The way White pays is helping motivate his teammates isn’t lost on the coaching staff.
“He competes so hard, he plays so hard, he's tough,” Lashlee said. “He'll stand in there and take a hit. I think the guys see that. There's still a little bit of him worrying about making sure what he's supposed to be doing, but I have seen some things even on the sidelines, going down to the linemen and receivers, to try to encourage guys or whatever the situation calls for. That's a role you hope a guy continues to grow into the more and more he plays.”