Oct. 10, 2013
Jeremy Johnson has had plenty of action in Auburn's practices (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn coach Gus Malzahn hasn't decided on his starting quarterback on Saturday, but hasn't ruled out taking the redshirt off Jeremy Johnson, who didn't play in the Tigers' first five games.
Auburn will need a new starter if Nick Marshall, who hurt his knee in last week's win over Ole Miss, is held out for Saturday's homecoming game against Western Carolina. Malzahn said Marshall was at practice Thursday, though Johnson and Jonathan Wallace received the majority of the snaps.
"Both of those are very solid quarterbacks," Malzahn said.
Malzahn said Johnson has had plenty of work "in practice…in fall camp…and has done extremely well."
He said he'd take the redshirt off Johnson if he determines it will help the team.
"From a team standpoint, you do what gives you the best chance of winning," he said on Thursday's Tiger Talk radio show. "We'll make that decision probably in the next 24 hours on what we'll do with the quarterback situation."
Malzahn said he and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee will probably decide on the starter Friday.
Marshall has led Auburn to a 4-1 overall record and a 2-1 start in the SEC. Johnson has not played. Wallace was 2-2 as a starting quarterback last year.
"Jonathan Wallace is one of the best winners we have on our team. He's a great team player. Our whole team respects him," Malzahn said.
Malzahn said he'd like to see the passing game establish more consistency.
"Every week we're committed to get better in our base passing game," he said. "We're going to have to be balanced.
"It's just a matter of him being consistent."
Malzahn knows what he wants no matter who the quarterback is.
"We're better when we play fast. We'll continue to do that."
*Malzahn said he was pleased with the progress of linebacker Cassanova McKinzy, who suffered a scary-looking neck injury last week.
"He's practiced all week and I think he's back to 100 percent. He's practiced well this week."
**On Carl Lawson, who had two sacks:
"He played very well against the run, too."
**On defensive lineman Montravius Adams, who was slowed by an injury.
"Montravius is doing better. He's definitely an impact player."
**On being asked time and again on who'll be the starting quarterback:
"Don't worry," said show host and Auburn play-by-play man Rod Bramblett, "we'll have one in the shotgun formation come Saturday."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: