Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall is "day-to-day" after suffering a shoulder injury during the Tigers' 45-10 win over Florida Atlantic, and head coach Gus Malzahn still isn't sure if Marshall will play Saturday night at Arkansas. Malzahn discussed the quarterback's status during his weekly press conference Tuesday morning (via al.com's Joel A. Erickson).
"Any time a guy is day to day, you get out on the practice field and see what he can and can't do," Malzahn said on Marshall. "It's hard to say right now."
Marshall left the game against the Owls early in the second quarter after apparently suffering an injury on his sixth carry of the game. However, it was later revealed that he initially hurt the shoulder earlier in the first quarter. Malzahn said Tuesday he wasn't aware of the first injury.
True freshman backup Jeremy Johnson came on in relief, completing 10-of-16 passes for 192 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and rushing four times for another 21 yards. On Monday, Johnson earned his second SEC Freshman of the Week honor, and Malzahn said Tuesday he's confident in the young signal-caller if Marshall isn't able to go against the Razorbacks.
While Johnson has looked good against Western Carolina and FAU, make no mistake: Auburn would not be better offensively -- or even equally as good -- if he's forced into action Saturday night. He has a great arm and appears to be more accurate on downfield throws compared to Marshall, but that success has come against two vastly inferior opponents. Johnson threw the ball twice in a hostile environment against Texas A&M, locking in on Melvin Ray both times, and the results weren't as good. One, when Ray was covered up, nearly resulted in a pick-six, and the other was inaccurate. Right now, Marshall is miles ahead of Johnson mentally, and that confidence and lack of panic has been a major factor in Auburn's 7-1 start.
Marshall has completed 57.6 percent of his passes for 1,148 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions this season, and he's carried 81 times for 461 yards and five scores. In the Tigers' last two SEC wins against Texas A&M and Ole Miss, he's rushed for a combined 240 yards and four touchdowns, and he's completed 22-of-40 passes for 329 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions.
It's worth noting that Malzahn has a history of sending mixed signals regarding injuries during his time at Auburn. He often underplays them, but this could be a case of him making a bigger deal out of a smaller issue. While the uncertainty regarding Marshall is worrisome, he is practicing this week, which is a good sign. And if you ask right guard Chad Slade about the JUCO transfer's status, you'll get a pretty firm answer:
Auburn offensive lineman Chad Slade on Nick Marshall's shoulder injury: "Nick's good. I know he's a tough guy. He's going to be ready."— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) October 29, 2013
More from College and Magnolia:
- Breaking down Jeremy Johnson's passing vs. FAU
- The College and Mag Show: Episode 9
- Bret Bielema takes issue with Tigers' game film
- Auburn basketball: Dreaming and scheming
- Auburn-Tennessee game time set for 11 a.m. on ESPN