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Questions at quarterback

AUBURN, Ala. -- Will an injured Nick Marshall play against Western Carolina? Will talented true freshman Jeremy Johnson burn his redshirt and play for the first time this Saturday?

Marshall has completed 59.2 percent of his passes for 902 yards with 4 TD's and 4 INT's/Todd Van Emst photo

Those are the questions on the minds of many Auburn followers this week and Gus Malzahn addressed the situation with both quarterbacks, to an extent, during his press conference on Tuesday.

Marshall, a junior college transfer, beat out Johnson for the starting position during preseason practice and has started the Tigers first five games. He injured his knee in a 30-22 win over Ole Miss last Saturday.

“We expect him to be ready to go,” Malzahn said. “I don't think it's anything that's too big a deal.”

Marshall sat out of Sunday’s practice but Malzahn expects the junior to practice the remainder of the week.

Sophomore Jonathan Wallace, who is listed as the second-team quarterback, has played in two games and attempted two passes. He's also rushed twice for seven yards in the Wildcat formation.

While Johnson hasn’t played, he’s continued to get snaps with the first and second-team offense during practice.

“We haven’t played him yet. I mean obviously I know it’s getting to a point now where you got to do what’s best for him and what’s best for your team but he’s still getting a lot of reps in practice and he’s improving, there’s no doubt,” Malzahn said.

“We got Jonathan getting a lot of reps in practice too.”

Gus Malzahn press conference 10-8-13

Malzahn said this week’s practices and game against the Catamounts is another opportunity to get better including in the passing game.

Marshall currently ranks ninth in the SEC averaging 180.4 passing yards per game and 12th in passing efficiency with a 126.6 rating. He’s also second on the team with 288 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

“We're going to worry about us. That's what we need to do,” Malzahn said. “We haven't arrived yet. We've got a lot of work to do. We've got a lot of areas we can improve on. That's going to be our message.

“I expect our guys to come out today and practice just like they have or even better, intensity-wise and focus to detail-wise.”



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