Oct. 9, 2013
Freshman quarterback Jeremy Johnson could play for th first time Saturday (Todd Van Emst Hall photo)
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. - Gus Malzahn, nearing the halfway point of his first season as Auburn head coach, acknowledged Wednesday that quarterback Nick Marshall could be held out of Saturday's homecoming game against Western Carolina, but he said he expects him to play.
"We will make that decision tomorrow or Friday," Malzahn said. "He is getting better - as a matter of fact, quite a bit better."
Asked if there is a chance Marshall won't play, Malzahn said "There's a chance, probably not a very good chance (that he doesn't play)."
Marshall suffered a knee injury at the end of a 14-yard run in last Saturday's 30-22 victory over Ole Miss at Jordan-Hare Stadium. He has been on the practice field the past two days.
Should Marshall not be able to play, either sophomore Jonathan Wallace, who started four games last season, or true freshman Jeremy Johnson would be next in line. Wallace was 2-2 as a starter, leading wins over New Mexico State and Alabama A&M and struggling in a 38-0 loss to Georgia and a 49-0 loss to Alabama.
"Jonathan and Jeremy have gotten a lot of reps in practice since fall camp and even in the season," Malzahn said. "We'd be confident in both of those guys being able to execute our offense."
Malzahn said he was not ready to say who would start should be sidelined.
"I don't know yet," Malzahn said. "We are still working through that."
Sophomore linebacker Cassanova McKinzy, carried off the field on a cart last Saturday, should be ready to play against the Catamounts, Malzahn said. He said McKinzy has practiced the last two days.
More from Malzahn:
On Wednesday's practice in shorts and shoulder pads
"I felt like we had a solid practice. We focused on third downs, focused on the red zone. I thought guys had pretty good energy."
On receiver/tight end Brandon Fulse
"We felt like he graded out pretty well last week. He did a good job with his blocking assignments and the routes he ran we thought were pretty solid."
On approach to playing an FCS foe for homecoming
"We are going into this game like every other game. We are going to do everything in our power to win the game and get better. That's my message."
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: