Oct. 8, 2013
Auburn's Nick Marshall healthy enough to be on the practice field (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said he expects quarterback Nick Marshall to be healthy enough to play Saturday, but another familiar name is destined for a redshirt season.
Malzahn said Tuesday that Marshall, who was slowed after tweaking his knee in the fourth quarter in last week's win over Ole Miss, is penciled in for playing time against Western Carolina this Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
"I don't think it's anything that's too big a deal," Malzahn said.
Malzahn also said linebacker Cassanova McKinzy, who suffered a neck injury in last Saturday's game that was scary-enough to require a cart to be brought on the field, will practice this afternoon.
"Looks like it's going to turn out well," Malzahn said.
But defensive tackle Jeff Whitaker, a fixture in the defensive line before this season, has decided to redshirt. A lingering leg injury made that so.
"That's a blow for our defense," Malzahn said.
Malzahn also said safety/linebacker Justin Garrett, who missed time with an injury to one foot, and now the other, won't play Saturday. His status will be decided on a weekly basis. He has appeared in a game, but would still qualify for a redshirt season.
"We're just going to see how he reacts. He wants to play. We'll just see how everything happens with that," Malzahn said.
Marshall, despite his injury, rushed for a team-high 140 yards against Ole Miss.
"He showed a lot of toughness, that's what really stood out to me," Malzahn said.
"His teammates have a lot of respect for him. He's kind of a quiet guy... He's very coachable and his teammates respect him."
Malzahn hasn't said whether freshman quarterback Jeremy Johnson, who hasn't played in the first five games, would redshirt this season, but "it's getting to the point now where got to do what best for him and what's best for the team.
"He's getting a lot of snaps in practice. He's improving."
The prospect of backups getting considerable playing time is a possibility against 1-5 Western Carolina. Playing quarterback Jonathan Wallace, for example, "would be good," Malzahn said. He added he would like to play other backups as well.
**On Kiehl Frazier's new job as a wide receiver:
"He's a guy that understands the offense. He's a smart guy. He's similar to Kodi."
Kodi Burns, who is now a graduate assistant at Auburn, made the move from quarterback to wide receiver in 2009, and became a crowd favorite for unselfishness.
Frazier fits the Burns' physical profile of a bigger guy who could block.
"There were some factors. That was one of them," Malzahn said of the move.
**Defensive tackle Gabe Wright had two sacks against Ole Miss. "We really felt like Gabe had his best game of the season, it wasn't even close," Malzahn said.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine