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Auburn's on the clock: Who's the starting QB?

Aug 17, 2013

Gus Malzahn conducts another practice at Auburn (Todd Van Emst photo)

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By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. — Gus Malzahn is letting the starting quarterback talk simmer just a bit longer. 

The Auburn head coach passed on naming his starter during and after a practice for donors and lettermen Saturday, saying he and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee would formally decide the winner soon. 

Malzahn narrowed the field last Monday when he moved Kiehl Frazier from quarterback to safety while saying junior college transfer Nick Marshall and freshman Jeremy Johnson would get most of the first-team snaps this week. Jonathan Wallace, who started the final four games last year, is also in the running. 

The decision is apparently close, considering Auburn didn't scrimmage Saturday, with Malzahn saying he had gathered plenty of information already. The Tigers had originally planned to practice in Jordan-Hare Stadium, but inclement weather forced them to the indoor facility. The first of the practice was open to the donors and lettermen, but was closed for the final stages of work. 

"We've just about compiled all the information we need to as far as scrimmage-type situations," he said. "We did do some situational things." 

But as far as the quarterback, Malzahn said it was the "same plan for the quarterbacks as we've had all week. Me and Coach Lashlee will get together today or tomorrow and kind of see where we're at. We do understand we do need to name a guy fairly quick."

 Just to be sure, Auburn put its quarterbacks through some "blitz pick-up situations" Saturday. 

"We did 7 on 7. We ran our offense from the sideline and started to try to be as game-like as possible," Malzahn said. "We wanted to see how they reacted, just with the way they handled their teammates, the way they handled calling out different things and all that. We learned a lot today.

"After we look at the film, I think we'll have some better answers. We'll come up with a plan leading up. We understand we'd like to name the starter sooner rather than later."

Marshall is considered a dual-threat quarterback passed for 3,142 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 1,095 yards and 19 touchdowns last season at Garden City Community College in Kansas. 

Marshall played the 2011 season at Georgia as a defensive back before leaving for Garden City. 

Johnson, the state's Mr. Football last year, passed for 3,193 yards and  rushed for 705 yards and seven TDs at Carver High last season. He passed for more than 8,200 yards in his prep career. 

 Wallace didn't play until the fourth game last year as a rookie and didn't throw a pass until Game 7. He set an Auburn freshman record for passing efficiency, hitting 46-of-80 passes for 720 yards and four touchdowns. He also threw four interceptions. He's from Central High in Phenix City.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter: 



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