Oct. 31, 2013
Auburn hopes to see more of these Nick Marshall runs, this time against Arkansas (Anthony Hall photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. – If Gus Malzahn knows the availability of quarterback Nick Marshall for Saturday, well, he's not telling you or the Arkansas coaching staff.
The Auburn coach repeated his diagnosis for Marshall on Thursday, saying his status is day to day and said it will probably be a game-time decision before he can determine if Marshall's hurt shoulder is well enough to face the Razorbacks at 5 p.m. Saturday in Fayetteville.
"We'd like him to play, but at the same time, he has to be healthy enough," Malzahn said during Auburn's Tiger Talk radio show Thursday night.
Marshall hurt his shoulder in the first quarter of last week's win over Florida Atlantic. He missed the Western Carolina game two weeks before that with a knee injury. Jeremy Johnson came in both times and did well enough to win SEC freshman of the week honors.
"Jeremy Johnson has looked extremely good in practice, as we figured he would," Malzahn said.
Auburn had prepared Johnson for this, even though he didn't make his first appearance until the sixth game of the season. He routinely worked as the No. 2 quarterback in practice, beginning in August.
Malzahn said "there's nothing like that" experience, and praised offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee for having him prepared.
"Coach Lashlee has done a good job giving him almost equal reps leading up to this point," Malzahn said. "I think that's very important. He's a very confident player. He doesn't seem like a true freshman. A lot of true freshmen have big eyes. He doesn't. He's ready for the moment.
"Some guys just have it. Some guys, the moment is not too big."
Kiehl Frazier reappeared at the quarterback spot in the second half of the Florida Atlantic game, and remains an option for certain plays.
"Any time you lose your starting quarterback you have to start thinking about Plan B," Malzahn said. "The thing is, Kiehl has experienced. He's familiar with offense. He's familiar with the terminology. But Jeremy is getting to the point where he can run our entire offense."
•Malzahn said Auburn had three "solid days" of practice this week. "Great effort."
•A caller wanted to know if Auburn would be distracted over the Arkansas' video flap.
"We're not distracted at all. Our guys have been extremely focused this week. We've really been focused on us. I expect our guys to be ready to play," Malzahn said.
•He said Nosa Eguae, who moved from defensive end to defensive tackle, could play at both positions.
"He gives us a lot of versatility. I think you can see him in both spots."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine