Auburn concentrating on ball security for Nick Marshall before championship game

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Nick Marshall is an elite athlete, but even elite athletes are careless with the football sometimes.

Marshall has fumbled 14 times in 12 games, including three in the SEC Championship against Missouri. Of those 14 fumbles, Marshall has lost six of them, and Gus Malzahn and Rhett Lashlee are focusing on ball security with their star quarterback, via AL.com.

“You’re exactly right. That’s what we’re focusing on,” Malzahn said last week. “We’ve got to protect the football. Of course that’s where it starts — with the quarterback. Coach Lashlee’s on top of that. I really believe we’ll get that correct.”

Specifically, Lashlee can knock the ball out at any point in practice, and Marshall will have ‘like 10 to 20 up-downs’. Marshall is an athlete first, and he’s a quarterback second. But he’s learning to be a quarterback first, and that’s part of the ball security aspect he’s working on leading up to the game against Florida State, one of the most ball-hawking, elite defenses he’ll play the entire season.

Marshall’s evolution of running Malzahn’s offense has been fun to watch. He’s making the right reads, and he’s been explosive doing it. He’s rushed for 1,023 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2013.

Photo Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

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