Sean White didn't play because of an injury, but he was happy to celebrated Auburn's win at Texas A&M
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Gus Malzahn is keeping the Georgia football team as well as Auburn fans guessing about his starting backfield for Saturday's game in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The Auburn coach said he's not prepared to say whether Jeremy Johnson or injured Sean White will start at quarterback. He also said he has confidence in all his running backs, without saying who he considers his "No. 1 guy."
But to make things perfectly clear, he likes all the candidates.
Malzahn started Johnson over White last week. He said he'll check on the condition of White, who has a sore knee, in practice this week before determining his starter for Saturday's 11 a.m. game.
"But I will tell you this," he said, "we've got confidence in both these guys. Both these guys have won SEC games on the road, and I think that says a lot. I know our players and coaches have confidence in both of them also.
"We feel very good going into this game with our quarterback situation."
It was Johnson who made his first start in six games at Texas A&M, hit his first nine passes and helped Auburn to a 26-10 win.
"He does have his edge back and he does have his confidence back," Malzahn said at his weekly press conference Tuesday. "We have confidence in him, too. It's kind of the best of both worlds right now. It's a matter of what we decide to do plan-wise. It's proven we can win with both of them, which is always a good thing."
Johnson was the comeback story last week.
"I think it says a lot about him and his character," Johnson said. "He went through a storm the first part of the season. That's extremely tough on a quarterback. He hung in the battle, he practiced well for two or three weeks, and he was prepared to start against Ole Miss. Then Sean was able to go, and he bounced back the next week and had another good practice. Then he seized the moment on the road. I know that gives him confidence moving forward.
"He does have his edge back and he does have his confidence back. We have confidence in him, too. It's kind of the best of both worlds right now. It's a matter of what we decide to do plan-wise. It's proven we can win with both of them, which is always a good thing."
Malzahn said Peyton Barber and Jovon Robinson have impressed at running back. Barber carried Auburn's running game early in the season and is the only back in the FBS with at least four rushing touchdowns in two consecutive games. Robinson has rushed for 250 yards the last two weeks, the second best total in the SEC, while Barber has played through an injury.
"I'm not ready to say who our No. 1 guy is. I will say this: We've got confidence in all the running backs that we have," Malzahn said. "Peyton has done a super job. Jovon has done a super job. Roc Thomas at times has battled some injury. Then of course Kerryon Johnson has developed into his own little role. But we have confidence in all of them."
Malzahn said Robinson has benefitted from being fresh late in the season. He had only six carries in the first seven games.
"You can really tell that he is very explosive, because he has been fresh the last two weeks" he said. "It's also helped Peyton with his carries. Of course, he was a little banged up and I think he's getting a little healthier, too. Hopefully, that'll help us these last few games."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine