It just might not be Nick Marshall, who has an injured knee. When asked about the junior's status heading into the team’s homecoming game against Western Carolina, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn refrained from divulging too much.
Malzahn said the starting quarterback this weekend likely won’t be named until Thursday or Friday.
“(It depends) on how he's doing and what our plan is,” Malzahn said of Marshall. “He is getting better, matter of fact quite a bit better.”
Marshall, who injured his knee on a run in the fourth quarter of last week’s game versus Ole Miss, downplayed its severity immediately following the victory. Though he sat out Sunday’s no-contact practice, Marshall was back Wednesday.
So if he doesn’t play, who will take his place?
“I don't know yet,” he said. “We're still working through that.”
If Marshall misses the game, that leaves sophomore Jonathan Wallace and true freshman Jeremy Johnson.
Malzahn had no qualms about either player being at the controls of the Tigers’ offense if that comes to pass.
“Jonathan (and) Jeremy have got a lot of reps in practice since fall camp and even during the season,” he said. “We'd be confident in both of those guys executing our offense.”
McNEAL TRIAL DATE SET: Former Auburn safety Demetruce McNeal pled not guilty to second-degree marijuana possession Wednesday.
McNeal’s plea was first reported by the Opelika-Auburn News.
His trial will take place in Auburn Municipal Court on Dec. 12. McNeal was arrested at 1:02 a.m. Aug. 17 and charged with second-degree possession of marijuana. Former Auburn players Jawara White and Jonathan Evans were taken into custody along with McNeal on the same charges.
Evans also pled not guilty Wednesday and will have his trial the same day as McNeal. White was the only one who decided not to enter a plea, instead electing to enroll in a pre-trial diversion program for first-time offenders. Should he complete the program — which requires him to attend classes for the next six months — White will avoid being prosecuted for the Class A misdemeanor.
After being released on $500 bond the day of his arrest, McNeal met with Malzahn. The meeting ended with the Tigers’ second-leading tackler in 2012 being dismissed from the team.
He then transferred to West Alabama, a Division II school where the senior was eligible to play immediately. Despite missing one game this season, McNeal has still collected 22 tackles, which ranks fifth on the team.
FIELD ACCESS: Fans will be allowed after the field is cleared at the conclusion of Saturday’s game.
They will be permitted to remain on the field for 45 minutes to walk around and take photos.
“We felt that this was a great time to do this,” Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said in a release. “We’re very appreciative of the Southeastern Conference and Commissioner (Mike) Slive for granting us a waiver and allowing this to happen for our fans.”