Auburn, Ala.--Coming off a dismal 6-20 passing performance in a loss to Georgia when he re-injured his throwing shoulder on an early hit, Auburn quarterback Sean White hasn’t been ruled out of Saturday’s game against Alabama A&M.
While it would seem unlikely White would see action against the Bulldogs, Coach Gus Malzahn said on Tuesday that s still to be determined. “We'll see,” he said of White’s status for this week's game. “It'll be a kind of day to day, week to week deal. I am not ready to make a call one way or the other with him. We'll play him when he's healthy. We'll see how that goes this week, and I'll give an update later in the week on that."
If White doesn't play that would leave the assignment to either John Franklin or Jeremy Johnson. This season Franklin has completed 9-15 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown while adding 319 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Although more experienced as the former starter, Johnson has just six attempts this season with four completions and one interception.
Malzahn said right now it’s too early to tell which direction the Tigers will go if White isn't ready by Saturday.
“John Franklin's taken all the No. 2 reps. Jeremy's taken reps the last couple of weeks. Not ready to make a call exactly on that. Later in the week, I'll definitely let everybody know.”
Looking back on the Georgia loss, and in particular the play of White, Malzahn said they need to have better communication between coach and player regarding injuries and it’s something that he believes will come with more experience. Even with QB's shoulder problem the Tigers had some opportunities to make plays in the passing game, but drops hampered what could have been drives for the offense.
“I think really, looking back in the third quarter, I think we had two drops and one drop in the fourth quarter,” Malzahn said. “He made a phenomenal throw on the back shoulder down their sideline on the wheel route.
“I don’t think that’s the whole answer right there. Obviously, he said he banged it up and wasn’t 100 percent, but he also made some plays. Even the last play of the game could have been caught. That’s probably the best way to answer that.”
With Alabama looming in the Iron Bowl and the possibility of playing either Franklin or Johnson this weekend, Malzahn so no matter who lines up behind center they need to give them the entire playbook.
“I think it’s important,” Malzahn noted. “I think it’s important for him or whoever that they can run the whole offense.”