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Lashlee expects improved offense

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- The 30-day layoff between the conference championship games and the BCS National Championship is generally considered an advantage for both Auburn and Florida State’s defenses.

Lashlee speaks at Thursday's offensive press conference/Todd Van Emst photo

Just three years ago, Auburn and Oregon came into the BCS title game averaging over 40 points per game, but the Tigers pulled out a 22-19 win.

“It was a 38 day layoff and we probably both didn't play our best game that day,” Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. “...You get in a rhythm and you're playing well, and then all of a sudden you have 30 days off, maybe it takes you a little bit of time to get going again.”

Having been down this road before has helped Lashlee in preparing this time around. He’s confident his offense has improved during bowl practices whether that’s doing what they do better, or adding a few new wrinkles.

“We’ve tried to do everything we could to get our guys peaking at the right time,” Lashlee said. “We've tried to keep the routine of things the same as far as the times we practice, the days we practice, how those practice formats are. We tried not to over think and do anything different than we normally would.

“Obviously, that gives you more time as an offense to go back and study yourself, tendencies and things like that, that normally you don't have when you have six days to get ready for somebody.”

One area of the offense that could use improvement is the passing game, and that’s something quarterback Nick Marshall and his receivers have spent extra time working on.

Marshall said the three areas he’s worked on the most is his footwork, not rushing throws and not dropping his shoulder.

“I’ve just been working on my mechanics through bowl practice and I’ll be ready for the national championship,” he said.

Auburn OC Rhett Lashlee, C Reese Dismukes ...

Of course, it’s not that Auburn hasn’t had success throwing the ball, it’s that most teams haven’t been able to stop the Tigers rushing attack, negating the need to throw.

And if Florida State can’t stop Auburn’s high-powered rushing attack Monday night?

“We’re going to keep doing what got us here,” Marshall said.

Another big point of emphasis for the offense, and team overall, during bowl practice has been conditioning.

“We’ve tried to do our best to keep our guys in-shape,” Lashlee said. “You go 30 days without playing, there’s in-shape and there’s playing shape. We’ve tried to do as many things as we can, at least when we were further out from the game, to get our guys in gameday-type situations, especially conditioning. We’ve tried to keep them sharp in that regard, and we’ve tried to keep them sharp with execution as best as we can. The closer you get to the game, you want them to be fresh for the game.”

No. 2 Auburn and No. 1 Florida State will play for the BCS National Championship in Rose Bowl Stadium Monday at 7:30 p.m. CT on ESPN.

“At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to who can execute and win those one-on-one battles,” Lashlee said.



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