According to Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, Thursday night’s Big 12 officiating crew wasn’t quite fast enough for his liking.

The Tigers started 0-for-5 on third downs, an area in which they had excelled prior to the matchup against Kansas State. Why is that?

The officials, Malzahn said during Wednesday’s SEC coaches teleconference.

“Any time you have different officials from different conferences, you get used to a certain thing and it was a little bit slower than what we were used to, so we had to adapt to that as we went.”

Auburn failed to get into a rhythm in the first half. Part of that was due to the Wildcats’ suffocating defense. The other part, at least in Malzahn’s opinion, was due to pace of play.

“It was getting the ball ready for play,” Malzahn said. “In our league our guys do a great job as far as being consistent in putting the ball down and all that. It was a little slower than what we were used to and we just had to adapt as the game went on.”

Auburn used two clock-burning drives to take a 20-7 with just over six minutes left in the game.

SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw is working with crews from the other Power 5 conferences to eliminate noticeable differences between officiating crews.

“There’s always a difference in athleticism, at times, there’s always a crew that has an issue, but we’ve got to eliminate that,” Shaw said. “It’s not good when we say one conference is moving, and I would tell you, in deference to the Big 12, they’ve got a lot of fast teams. Normally, they do a pretty good job of keeping up with the pace.

Shaw said there have been no complaints regarding pace of play in the SEC, but that coordinators nationally are working to become more consistent.

“You know I’m not sure what the issues were in that game, we weren’t there, but I think it’s important that we’re consistent with our nine crews in the SEC,” Shaw said. “But it’s also important that we’re nationally consistent, and I would tell you, the coordinators are working together to get there.”