By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Gus Malzahn says Auburn has a good week of practice leading up to the Iron Bowl, and "I know our guys will be ready."
But who's going to be ready at quarterback when Auburn plays at Alabama on Saturday? The Auburn coach isn't saying. Malzahn said he wants to monitor the health of injured Sean White for at least one more practice.
"We have not made that call yet," Malzahn said on the SEC teleconference Wednesday. "Sean did practice yesterday. Matter of fact, everybody practiced yesterday. But we have not made the call on our starting quarterback."
Jeremy Johnson filled in for White in last Saturday's win over Alabama A&M. Both are in the running to start in the 2:30 p.m. game in Tuscaloosa.
Malzahn said, officially, "Sean White is our quarterback." But, he added, "he has to be healthy enough to run the whole offense and needs to be healthy enough to protect himself." That's a consideration against the No. 1-ranked defense in the SEC that has a league-best 40 sacks.
Alabama coach Nick Saban, for his part, bragged on Auburn's defense in an earlier portion of the teleconference, and was especially complimentary of the Tigers' defensive line.
"First of all, they have outstanding players," Saban said. "They have five or six guys who play up front that are really, really good players.
"They play hard, they're very physical and aggressive. They're probably the most effective front we've played against all year."
Saban called Auburn a "good all-around" team.
"It certainly will be a challenge for our team," he said.
He also called Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway "a fantastic player."
"He has great vision and instincts as a runner. He's got great power because of his size."
Pettway, who missed the last two games with a leg injury, is expected to play, Malzahn said Tuesday.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine