Nick Marshall's offense comes with consequences
The question prior to SEC Media Days for Auburn was whether quarterback Nick Marshall was going to be in attendance. Saying that it was a “privilege and a reward” to attend the annual media gathering, Auburn head coach Gus Malzhan chose to leave his signal-caller home.
One question answered though leads to another question. This question will quite possibly will be dangling out there for a while: what will the “consequences” be that Marshall will face for being issued a citation for possession of marijuana on Friday?
Sits out a quarter against Arkansas in the season-opener?
Sits out a half against Arkansas?
Suspended for the entire Arkansas game?
No disciplinary action?
“I’m not ready to say what those consequences are at this time, but he will deal with it,” said Malzahn.
When pushed and asked if it was possible that Marshall could be suspended for the season-opener, Malzahn stood his ground saying “I’m not at that point yet.”
Malzahn chose to nip the situation in the bud and address it in his opening statement as oppose to opening up his Q&A session where he would have been drilled about Marshall. Of the over 20 questions that he faced after his opening Q&A, he was asked only two questions about Marshall. Malzahn wasn’t very forthcoming providing quick, concise and short answers.
What is clear is that Malzahn has a lot of confidence in backup quarterback sophomore Jeremy Johnson. When asked later in the day what it was like to be working with a returning quarterback for the first time in his career, Malzhan made a point on the back end of his answer to endorse Johnson.
“Jeremy Johnson is a guy that could start for a majority of college football teams in the country; he can really throw it.”
If Johnson shows in fall camp that he is capable of leading the Tigers offense, Malzahn and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee could easily hand the keys to Johnson for the Arkansas game.
What Malzahn does to discipline Marshall, if he does at all, is the biggest off-the-field decision he’ll make since taking the job on The Plains.
The big news that came out of SEC Media Days for Auburn was Malzahn announcing that sophomore defensive end Carl Lawson had ACL surgery in early May. Lawson, a freshman All-American, injured his left knee in the spring and was on the sideline with crutches during the A-Day game. Malzahn said that Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery after the swelling in Lawson’s knee went down. The speculation was that Lawson had a knee injury but might not be as serious as a torn ligament.
There doesn’t seem to be a shred of worry in Malzahn’s mind about how much the defensive line might miss Lawson.
“This time last year our defensive line was considered one of our weaknesses,” said Malzahn. “In one year’s time Coach Garner turned that around. We have some depth. We have a lot of different options. The last couple of weeks (in the spring) we were without Carl Lawson. Montravius Adams, Gabe Wright played some defensive end. Coach Garner is the best in the business and we feel like our defensive line will be fine.”