Auburn notebook: Malzahn says Marshall back to normal
by Ryan Black
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Oct 16, 2013 | 1747 views |  0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall will start Saturday. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall will start Saturday. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
AUBURN — Nick Marshall has returned to full strength.

Following Wednesday’s practice, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said his starting quarterback ran through the session without any noticeable signs of distress.

“Looks like he’s back to normal,” Malzahn said when asked about the junior’s mobility.

Marshall didn’t get all of the reps as the first-team quarterback this week, however. After making his first career start against Western Carolina on Saturday, Jeremy Johnson received his share of snaps with the starting offense during the Tigers’ three practices since Sunday.

“He’s got some reps,” Malzahn said. “We kind of mixed and matched on certain things.”

Despite missing last week’s game, the coaching staff’s expectations for Marshall are high. His lack of live game action last week shouldn’t be an issue, according to Malzahn, given the reps Marshall accumulated during the season’s first five games.

Cue Malzahn’s simple goal for Marshall as the Georgia native makes his second career start away from Jordan-Hare Stadium.

“Just continue to get better,” he said. “He had (last) week off, but at the same time, he had a very good game the week before. It’s just a matter of building. You can tell he’s more comfortable each week with everything within our system.”

Johnson and Marshall were a topic of discussion for Kevin Sumlin during his appearance on the SEC coaches’ teleconference Wednesday.

Texas A&M’s coach praised Malzahn’s ability to put up big offensive numbers regardless of who plays quarterback.

"Gus has a proven track record of being able to move the football with many different guys at different institutions at different levels,” Sumlin said. “I know that he's confident in his system and the way he does things, as are we. With that confidence in the system and the coaching staff, I think the players gain that confidence, too, and you can see that with whoever is under center and how they play.”

Johnson’s inclusion into the Tigers’ offense will do little to change what Sumlin’s team planned to do defensively. It was meant as no disrespect toward Auburn’s quarterbacks, though.

That’s just the way Texas A&M assesses every opponent.

“Our preparation is you pay particular attention more so to schematics than to the individual player, although just like any game, (some) individual players do some things better than others,” he said. “So the main thing is paying particular attention to the overall scheme, which (Auburn does) a great job of.”

INJURY UPDATES: Malzahn was definitive on Justin Garrett’s availability for Saturday’s game.

Malzahn said the junior linebacker has already been ruled out and won’t travel with the team to Texas.

Whether fellow defender Jonathan Jones will travel is still uncertain. According to Malazhn, the sophomore cornerback has “been out there practicing” this week, but will likely be a game-time decision.

Jones missed the season’s first four games after breaking a bone in his foot during fall camp. He returned for the Ole Miss game, but was out of commission last week with a left leg injury.

The news was a bit better for tight end C.J. Uzomah and defensive tackle Montravius Adams. Neither played in last Saturday’s 62-3 blowout win against Western Carolina, but Malzahn said the pair have taken part in practice all week.

And as he has done since first announcing their absence in his postgame press conference last Saturday, the status of tight end Brandon Fulse and right tackle Patrick Miller is unknown.

“Yet to be determined,” was Malzahn’s only comment when asked about the duo.

Fulse and Miller were not on the sidelines during last week’s victory for what Malzahn would only say were “off the field” issues.
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Auburn notebook: Malzahn says Marshall back to normal by Ryan Black
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