Auburn’s defense has been nicked-up since fall camp started. A total of 11 different players have missed some practice time with injuries.
Thursday defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson mentioned that Robenson Therezie, the projected starter at the star hybrid position, might not be able to start in the season-opening against Arkansas. Johnson didn’t specify why.
Now we know why…and it is not because Therezie is also injured.
According to an AL.com report, Therezie might not be eligible to play against the Razorbacks.
“We’re working through some eligibility issues right now with him,” coach Gus Malzahn said Saturday. “We should know more in the near future, and when we find out, I’ll definitely let you know. But that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
If Therezie doesn’t start against Arkansas, he’d join would-be starters quarterback Nick Marshall and cornerback Jonathon Mincy on the sidelines as well. Mincy is being discipled for an arrest for possession of marijuana while Marshall will sit at the start of the game also because of marijuana possession. In addition, the Tigers will also be missing starters defensive end Carl Lawson and right guard Alex Kozan on Aug. 30.
Therezie, a Miami native, finished 2013 with four interceptions and was sixth on the team in tackles. He was recognized as a member of the AP All-SEC honorable mention team. Therezie is on this year’s Bednarik watch list.
Justin Garrett, in all likelihood, would be Therezie’s replacement against the Razorbacks. The depth behind Garrett is thin though, a point of emphasis Johnson made during his Thursday press conference. T.J. Davis and Mackenro Alexander, the two players behind Garrett, have little experience at the star hybrid position.
Ironically, Garrett and Therezie were in opposite roles last season. Therezie was thrown in as a star hybrid starter in the 2013 opener when Garrett, the projected starter, suffered a foot sprain in fall camp. Therezie couldn’t have performed better, hauling in two interceptions against the Washington State Cougars. When Garrett healed in week three, Therezie continued to start. To add insult to injury, the week of the Ole Miss game, Garrett broke his foot in practice and was out for the rest of the season.