Malzahn Talks Marshall and QB Situation

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn talks about the quarterback situation this week for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Injuring his shoulder during Saturday's win over Florida Atlantic, Auburn starting quarterback was able to practice for the Tigers on Sunday in a normal light workout for the team on the game. That's about as far as coach Gus Malzahn is willing to go with the updates on the junior however as the Tigers begin serious prep for the Arkansas Razorbacks on Tuesday.

"It's day to day right now," Malzahn said of Nick Marshall's status. "The fact that he was out there practicing Sunday I thought was a positive. We'll know more each day."

While his head coach won't let on to Marshall's status, junior offensive guard Chad Slade said he doesn't have any questions about his quarterback heading into the Arkansas game.

"Nick is good," Slade said. "I know he's a tough guy. He didn't let the injury phase him. I asked him if he's okay and he's okay. There's not really anything to worry about on his part. He's going to be ready to play Saturday."

Before going out of the game following a second quarter sack, Marshall's injury actually occurred in the first quarter according to offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee on a play when the quarterback chose to run over a defender near the sidelines. That's something Malzahn he didn't know at the time, but it's a good teaching point moving forward.

"After the game, obviously things were brought to my attention that he tried to run a guy over," Malzahn said. "We've got to do a better job of educating him on when to get down and get out of bounds.

"You have a quarterback that didn't go through spring, and you're still learning about him," he added. "Cam (Newton) was the same way. There was times we had to tell him to get down and stuff like that. There's no doubt in my mind that Nick will learn from it and be better for it next time."

While Malzahn is looking for Marshall to be more aware of his surroundings on the field and not take too many unnecessary shots from the defense, he said one thing he doesn't want to do is take away the aggressive nature of the former defensive back. Getting to know him on and off the field since he arrived this summer, Malzahn said he doesn't think that's a problem.

"He's a great competitor," Malzahn said of Marshall. "There's no doubt. You'd rather have to pull him back than ever have to prod him on. He's a great competitor. He's a tough guy, and we've just got to be a little bit smarter the next time we're in that same situation."

Planning to continue to split the reps this week between Marshall and backup Jeremy Johnson, Malzahn said that if they're forced to go with the true freshman this weekend he's confident they can get the job done.

"The good thing is that Jeremy has gotten two games of experience," Malzahn said. "The big challenge will be on the road. But he's got a lot of reps. Even (practicing for road games), going to LSU and Texas A&M, when you throw the sound in, everything like that, he's got a lot of reps during that (practice) time. I gotta believe that will help. He's a pretty calm guy, too. I know our offensive players have a lot of confidence in him, and that's very important."

Auburn will face off against Arkansas at 5 p.m. CDT on Saturday. The game can be seen on ESPN2.


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