AUBURN, Ala. -- Rhett Lashlee doesn’t have any doubts. In reality, not one coach or player for No. 6 Auburn should have any doubts in the ability of quarterback Nick Marshall.
Marshall has become one of the SEC's best playmakers/Todd Van Emst photo
Every time the Tigers have needed a big play, Marshall has delivered. None bigger than Saturday’s game-winning 73-yard throw, tip and catch to Ricardo Louis against Georgia.
“At this point I believe in him. I'm never going to count him out and I'm glad he's on my side,” said Lashlee, Auburn offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. “...There's just certain guys have a knack for it. He probably couldn't even tell you what he does other than certain guys are just born with this ability to win and make plays and to elevate the play of others.
“They can play the great the whole game and do it, or they can have a bad game, but when it matters, do it. Some guys just have that.”
The respect Marshall has earned this season even stretches to the opposing sideline. His former Georgia teammates showed it Saturday.
“Every time he carried the ball, and he carried it a lot, they would smoke him and help him up every time. Every single one of their players helped him up because that’s the respect he had from those guys when he was there,” Lashlee said. “He’s not a guy they were trying to injure or treat poorly. They were treating him better than they treated anyone else on our team, I know that.
“That’s just the kind of guy he is. Everybody likes him. He’s a humble guy. He’s a team guy. When it’s crunch time everybody looks to him.”
This season, Marshall has accounted for 2,353 yards passing and rushing and 18 touchdowns. He’s led Auburn on game-winning drives against Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Georgia.
Most importantly, he’s led Auburn to a 10-1 record heading into the Iron Bowl against No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 30.
“He’s a winner. He has proven that,” Lashlee said. “Whether he wins with the drive against Mississippi State or A&M, the other night, it’s a variety of ways and some or normal and some aren’t. The guy is calm, he really is.”
Lashlee was a graduate assistant at Auburn in 2010 when Cam Newton won the Heisman trophy and led Auburn to the BCS National Championship.
“Cam definitely had an incredible 'it' factor, just a will to will his team to victory that was incredible,” Lashlee said. “I've never played with Michael Jordan but I always remembered thinking this is what I would have thought Michael Jordan was like. He walks in there, everybody listens. When he says it's time to do this, they do it and when it's crunch time he's going to make the play every time. He's going to make the throw, make the catch, make the shot. That's kind of the analogy I always thought of with Cam, that he's the closest thing I've been to around that.
“I don't think it's fair to compare Nick in that point yet, but what he has done is win in some clutch moments that a lot of people don't. It'll be exciting the rest of the season and moving forward next year to see everywhere that goes.”