Competition healthy, says Gus Malzahn of Auburn QB race
Oct. 12, 2015

SeanWhiteJeremyJohnson
Together again: Auburn's Sean White, left, and Jeremy Johnson are preparing for Kentucky

By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala. ― Gus Malzahn is not telling you or Kentucky who'll be his starting quarterback Thursday night in Lexington.

At least he didn't Monday, going as far to say it could be a game-time decision on whether Sean White or Jeremy Johnson would be the starting quarterback.

Johnson took every snap in the first three games. White took every snap in the next two.

"Sean White has done nothing to lose the job," Malzahn said. "He's done a very good job, but we just want the guys to compete. I really feel like Jeremy has done a solid job back in the mix. I think it's been good for both of them. We'll make a call on that later in the week."

Johnson has hit 43 of 72 passes for 473 yards and five touchdowns and six interceptions. White has hit 26 of 38 passes for 296 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. White threw it only 10 times, and just twice in the second half, in Auburn's last game, a win over San Jose State.

Neither played quarterback in the games he didn't start, but Malzahn said it's "possibility" that White and Johnson could both play against Kentucky.

"The message is we're going to play the best guy that gives us the best chance of winning. That's what we've done. Our guys understand that," Malzahn said.

"We wanted to see how the guys will respond in competition, not just that position, but other positions, and I think it's been very healthy for our whole team."

"The off week was very good to us. It was good to have as far from a coaches' standpoint and player's standpoint of getting a plan together for the second part of the season."

Auburn has ridden Peyton Barber and his four 100-yard-plus rushing games. But Malzahn is looking for more.

"We're at our best when we're playing fast and we're getting rhythm and tempo," he said. "Rhythm and tempo were a big factor in our off-week. We have to get more explosive plays. That's been probably the biggest issue we've had as far as getting in rhythm or as putting points on the board.

"We've got that plan during the off-week moving forward, personnel-wise and everything that goes with that, so, hopefully, that will carryover Thursday night."

Also…

• Backup center Xavier Dampeer will be "out for extended period of time" with an injury, Malzahn said.

Malzahn said Devonte Danzey and Deon Mix are being considered as the backup to starting center Austin Golson.

• At 3-2, Malzahn said Thursday is "definitely a big game. I've talked to our team about this, this week, and I think they understand that. It's a game we need to win and our guys understand that. We're playing a very good team, a team that's played two or three SEC games already and has won two of them. We've got to be ready and we've got to play good football."

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

 

 

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