By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Gus Malzahn isn't ready to say if quarterback Sean White and running back Kamryn Pettway will be healthy enough to play at Alabama on Saturday. But "we're hopeful," the Auburn coach said on the school's Tiger Talk radio show Monday night.
White didn't play in Auburn's 55-0 win over Alabama A&M last Saturday because of a bum shoulder and has been dealing with the injury for three weeks. Pettway has missed the last two games with a leg injury.
"We really won't know until after Tuesday's practice, possibly Wednesday's practice," Malzahn said. "Thursday we'll have a very good idea.
"We've got some guys we've held out; we've got some guys that are a little banged up. They've been in the training room 24/7 trying to get back on the field. Later in the week we'll have a better idea."
Auburn held out at least nine players against Alabama A&M and is trying to get to full strength for an Iron Bowl that will feature two teams ranked in the Top 5 in the SEC in total offense and defense, scoring offense and defense, and rushing offense and defense.
"You're talking about two of the best defenses in college football, and two of the best teams in our league. It's the Iron Bowl on top of that. It's a big one," Malzahn said.
Jeremy Johnson was on target while replacing White last Saturday. Auburn also piled up rushing yards without Pettway. Kerryon Johnson rushed for 108 yards in the first half and Kam Martin rushed for 176 yards in the second half.
Malzahn said he has a plan for White playing, and one in which he doesn't. He said he'll need to see how White feels before deciding which one he'll use.
"It's really about him being healthy enough to run the offense and really protect himself. It's really as simple as that," he said.
John Franklin III is also an option at quarterback. He played most of the second half last Saturday.
"I thought it was good to get John Franklin in there quite a bit and get him some good snaps. He brings a different dynamic," Malzahn said.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine