AUBURN, Ala. – The season is less than 10 days away, and Auburn has yet to name its starting quarterback for the season opener against Arkansas. In his last media availability before game week, head coach Gus Malzahn wouldn’t divulge details as to who is starting or how much of the first game Nick Marshall will miss because of his suspension.
“We’ll have a plan,” Malzahn said. “Me and Rhett [Lashlee] will get together this weekend, and we’ll go from there.”
For those wondering if Malzahn is leaving the door open for Marshall to start, he extinguished those rumors Tuesday, reiterating that Marshall will not start against the Razorbacks, a decision he announced at the beginning of fall camp following Marshall's citation for marijuana this offseason.
Malzahn also recently named true freshman Sean White the team’s third-string quarterback, which leaves sophomore Jeremy Johnson the front-runner and really only candidate to start the first game, though nothing has been made official.
On Saturday, Johnson said he hadn’t been told who the starter would be, but that he was preparing as he if were the guy.
“I still approach practice every day as the starter,” Johnson said. “I’m getting reps with both orange and blue, first team and second team, but if I’m called upon to start the first game, I’ll be ready.”
The depth chart for the first game comes out Tuesday, so Johnson shouldn’t have long to find out if in fact he is the guy. As far as Johnson’s mental psyche and the not knowing, Malzahn doesn’t believe it will affect the 6-foot-5, 230-pound quarterback.
“If I worried about anything like that, we’d already have done it,” Malzahn said. “But we don’t worry at all. We’ll have a good plan, and our guys will respond well. We know our guys pretty well.”
The uncertainty does not change the offense either.
“We’ll run our offense regardless [of who’s starting],” Malzahn added Thursday.
Johnson started two games as a freshman and finished 29 of 41 for 422 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. He was a four-star recruit coming out of high school, ranked No. 140 in the 2013 ESPN 300 and No. 6 in the state of Alabama.