AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn’s offensive woes were obvious last week against Clemson: 87 rushing yards, 2.1 yards per rush, 3 of 17 on third downs, just a 50 percent completion percentage and 3 turnovers.
An offensive line without a lot of game experience plus as a young backfield and an unusual quarterback rotation didn’t help. The Tigers will try to put more points on the board against Sun Belt team Arkansas State in Week 2.
Here are five questions about the Auburn offense from this week:
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn on changing the QB plan:
“Going into the first game, we planned to throw a lot at them. We felt like all three quarterbacks had some things they could be successful with. We were going to give them a lot to think about. We weren’t able to be as successful as I thought we’d be, but that was the plan. It was a little unknown. We threw a lot at our opponent. Like I said, we’re moving forward with Sean White, and bringing John Franklin III along.”
Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee on the importance of getting into a rhythm with a QB:
“It’s critical because we were very poor on third down. I think the plan was good. We had four to five, you know, you take the play to KJ (Kerryon Johnson) that is a catch in my opinion. I guess I’m not real sure what a catch is anymore. But that’s a third down. We have a third down and 19 and throw a pass and complete it for 18 yards. That’s a knock. So we did some things right. But the biggest problem with our third downs was we were in third and long. We had two third down and 2 or lesses. So 15 times we were in third-and-4 or more pretty much. A lot of third-and-7, 8, 9, 10, 15s. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing and what you’re doing. It’s hard to convert those. And so we’ve got to be better on early downs to help our third down situation. We’ve got to be able to throw and catch the ball and have better balance. The second half you saw parts of it — 48 plays, around 250 yards is a pretty good half against anybody, especially a top 5 team, but we have to finish yards.
Kerryon Johnson on if Will Hastings looks like a prototypical SEC wide receiver:
“You know, honestly I say this to Will all the time. When you see him, no. If you go down to the weight room, he’s got records on our board from this first summer. He has records on our board for pro agility and things like that, so he’s an athlete. Don’t be mistaken. He’s very quick. He’s very shifty. He’s a competitor. He’ll never show it. He’s quiet. He’s a very quiet dude, but he’s a competitor and likes to play the game. So, I mean yeah. If you look at him, you’d never guess it. Shoot, when he gets out there on the field, you’ve got to be ready. He’s a great route runner, and he can catch the ball.”
Hastings on his weight in the future:
“I’m definitely trying to add some weight. I think I’m 178 right now. I’m trying to get up around 190. I think that would be a good goal and keep my speed and quickness for sure.”
Malzahn on Franklin’s performance:
“I thought we moved the ball pretty well when he was in there. That was his first time to be out there. We thought he handled himself pretty well. From an offensive standpoint, there were some new faces out there. From a coach’s standpoint, you learn about your guys. We were curious about some of the guys, and we felt like he responded pretty well.”