Auburn, Ala.--After a quarterback rotation of Jeremy Johnson and an injured Sean White didn’t work out too well for the Auburn Tigers last Saturday in a loss to Georgia, Coach Gus Malzahn said that this week the Tigers will likely go back to Johnson to carry the load this week against Idaho with White still banged up.
“It’s the fact that Sean (White) is not 100 percent -- at the same time we feel good about Jeremy running our offense and executing our offense,” Malzahn said. “We will see how the week goes. That could change, but if you ask me right now we are probably going with Jeremy.”
Based on last week that’s probably good news for the Tigers with White obviously hobbled and unable to get the job done with a sore knee and foot. Completing 14-22 passes for 61 yards and one interception, Johnson led the Tigers to their most productive possessions of the game against Georgia while White’s series wound up being a disaster for the Auburn offense. Malzahn said looking back on it they probably would do some things differently against the Bulldogs.
“Obviously, we didn’t do a very good job offensively in the second half,” Malzahn said. “Our plan was to play them both. When he (White) got in there he wasn’t 100 percent, but we felt there were some opportunities for some things that we could do. It didn’t work out.
“When we look back, if we could change some things, we probably would. But that was our plan going in. We thought he was a little healthier than he was. We have to get him healthy before we get him back on the field.”
That means it’s Johnson’s time to shine once again as the Tigers look for win No. 6 on Saturday. While his completion percentage was high and Auburn moved the football with him in the game last week Johnson was far from a polished product as the Tigers continuously threw short passes without challenging the Bulldogs down the field.
Big plays in the passing game are what this Auburn offense needs in a big way in the coming weeks as they prepare to face a physical Alabama defense in the Iron Bowl. First up is Idaho in a game the Tigers should win handily. With the chance to work on the offense and get better Malzahn said he’s looking for Johnson to get the job done.
“Early in the year, obviously, he went through a storm, but the last two weeks he’s really started to settle in,” Malzahn said. “You can see him getting his confidence back and managing the offense. (Saturday) he could’ve played better, but he also did some good things. We could’ve played better around him, too.”
With the plan to take the pressure off Johnson with the running game working well at Texas A&M and in the first half against Georgia the Auburn offense is one that is good enough to get the job done, but last weekend the Tigers got away from what worked when the quarterback swap occurred and it killed the momentum. Malzahn said the goal is to get it going on offense again and it’s up to him to make that happen.
“We did the same thing that we did at Texas A&M, but the bottom line is when we don’t do well offensively, that is on me,” Malzhan said. “That is the way it goes. We did the same thing at A&M, got into a rhythm and did a good job, and we didn’t do a good job on Saturday, and that is on me. I have to find a way to fix that. That is what we are working to do, to finish this thing offensively.”