"I was proud of Jeremy," Lashlee said. "You've got to think it's been well over a year since he's played a real football game going back to high school. He's played in scrimmages. We had him go live, which I think was a good thing. I thought he did well. He didn't seem to anxious or nervous before the game. I'm sure he had the normal butterflies anybody had for their first start. He was calm and I thought the guys rallied around him and really helped him, showed a lot of confidence in him. I think after he completed that first ball I felt like he played well. I felt like he played very calm.
"We felt like he was ready, he added of Johnson. "He's been getting those reps behind Nick all season. We felt like the way the situation unfolded, it was a good game to let him play. Nick is our starter and we've got full confidence in him. He's gotten better each week. Our team has full confidence in him and believes in him. But they also know if Jeremy comes in there, we're in good shape."
Dressed and available in an emergency on Saturday, Marshall was on the sidelines and seemed to enjoy watching the offense roll against outmanned Western Carolina. Back on the practice field Sunday night in shorts and helmets, Lashlee said Marshall looked good and should be ready to go.
"The good thing was tonight, he got to go out there and take every rep, take every drop, make every throw," Lashlee said. "If we ran a read zone or anything like that, he was able to do all those things. I would expect him to be able to get all the reps he needs this week with the specific gameplan so, hopefully, that will help keep any rust away. I feel pretty good about that."
Now that he has played Johnson can no longer redshirt and that could mean more playing time moving forward for the big freshman. With a strong arm and good mobility, Lashlee said he could see some situations where they use him in the offense moving forward and now that he's played the Montgomery native will be ready when and if he's called upon.
"I wouldn't rule out the possibility of him having some roles moving forward," Lashlee said. "It wasn't just for one game. He's got to be ready as the backup and he's also got to be ready, maybe, in other unique roles and situations.
"We just felt like it was best for our team this year, it was best for our team in the long run, and, really, it was best for Jeremy, at this point, to get some game experience to be able to help us," he added. "Not only the rest of the year this year, but in the future and his first meaningful reps not be at College Station or somewhere like that."
Auburn tight end C.J. Uzomah was held out of Saturday's homecoming win against Western Carolina, but Lashlee said it was a situation similar to that of Marshall in that he would have been available if needed. Dealing with a lower leg strain the last two weeks, Uzomah is expected back this week against Texas A&M. The same is true of defensive tackle Montravius Adams. Held out after getting banged up against Ole Miss, the big freshman is expected to be ready to go according to Ellis Johnson.
That may not be the case with injured cornerback Jonathan Jones. Out the first four games of the season following surgery for a broken bone in his foot, Jones was injured again last week in practice and sat out of Saturday's game. Johnson said they would evaluate the sophomore this week to figure out his status for this week's game.