Taken off the field on a stretcher just a night before, McKinzy returned to the Auburn sidelines late in the game wearing a collar around his neck for support. While defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said that he's not sure if the big linebacker will be ready to play on homecoming against Western Carolina, he was able to do something and that was good news.
"It was a stinger but to him it was more severe," Johnson said. "He said he'd have them before and it just felt different. I think once they got out there to him they took a very precautionary track on it, but as we know right now and I don't want to get too specific because I don't know all the technicalities, but it's pretty serious neck sprain or stinger but nothing you would say is critical or anything that he can't play. It's just a matter of time when everything sort of relaxes and the tension and the swelling and all the things that comes with those things.
"We don't practice tomorrow so they thought a 48-hour period they could really tell us a lot better," he added. "I'm always going to be optimistic. If you can't have any contact this week I always lean toward not letting them play, but they haven't told me that yet."
Already in the plans to play more in Auburn's defense against Ole Miss, Anthony Swain stepped up in McKinzy's absence and played well for the Tigers. Making several big plays as the defense did a good job of slowing down the Rebels' running game, Johnson said Swain was another guy that stepped up in a time of need.
"Anthony hasn't played a lot of plays and not because he hasn't been ready to play, it's because we just haven't rotated," Johnson said. "I just really thought he played outstanding for the number of reps he's had a game and playing two different positions over the previous two to three weeks. I'm real proud of the way he handled it. He even practiced a little bit at Mike this past week. Kris' shoulder is a little bit sore, so I told him to get some of Kris' reps one day. He had a good game. He was very productive, he only had a couple of missed assignments and neither one of them was critical. I thought he had a really outstanding game."
Offensively, Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall was banged up during the game on a run on the Ole Miss sideline early in the fourth quarter. While he was held out of Sunday's practice to rest, Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said it's not anything they are concerned about.
"He's good," Lashlee said. "He'll be fine. There's no major issues. We rested him a little bit today and I think he'll be fine."
Also banged up in the game, suffering a bruised knee, freshman defensive tackle Montravius Adams did not practice on Sunday and he's listed as "day-to-day" by Johnson.
That's not the case with "star" Justin Garrett. Projected to be one of Auburn's top defensive players this season, Garrett was injured in the preseason and was getting closer to full speed until going down with with an injury to his right foot last week in practice. Wearing a boot and on crutches for Saturday's game, Garrett now has a big decision to make said Johnson.
"It's got a crack in it and I think coach (Malzahn), they're going to sit down and talk to parents and whatever and coach will make a decision maybe about Tuesday," Johnson said concerning possible surgery.
Whatever happens with that decision, Garrett could possibly redshirt this season after playing his first two years on the Plains. Johnson said that's a decision that is also a possibility for defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker as well.
"Jeff's kind of trying to decide like Justin, does he want to come to try to come back pretty soon or does he want to maybe take this year," Johnson said. "