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Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Auburn has plan for Nick Marshall

By Greg Ostendorf

AUBURN, Ala. -- Jeremy Johnson will be the starting quarterback when No. 6 Auburn opens the season against Arkansas on Saturday, but Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said Tuesday that Nick Marshall will definitely play.

How much? He won't say just yet.

Jeremy Johnson
Quarterback Jeremy Johnson will start ahead of Nick Marshall in Auburn's opener against Arkansas.

"We have a plan, and they know the plan," Malzahn said.

Malzahn had made it clear on the first day of fall camp that Marshall, who started 12 games last year, wouldn't start the opener because of a marijuana citation he received this offseason. The second-year coach, however, waited until game week to officially name Johnson the starter against the Razorbacks.

"We have a lot of confidence in [Jeremy] to run our entire offense, and like I said before, he's very talented," Malzahn said. "The two games he played last year, he was the freshman SEC offensive player of the week."

As a true freshman, Johnson started against Western Carolina and played extensively against Florida Atlantic. He finished the year with 422 yards and six touchdowns. This will be his first SEC start.

"I see Jeremy coming out there and practicing good every day," Marshall said. "He's leading the team just like he's going to be the starter, and I'm behind him 100 percent."

Marshall was still listed as the No. 1 quarterback on Auburn's depth chart, which was released Tuesday, and he has handled himself well since the incident, according to his head coach.

"He's had a very good fall camp, not only on the field but as a leader," Malzahn said. "He's ready to go when called upon."

In Marshall's first year at Auburn, the junior college transfer threw for 1,976 yards, rushed for 1,068 yards and scored a combined 26 touchdowns. He has already been mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate heading into this season.

The coaches might have a plan for Saturday, but they are not telling anybody, not even the players.

"I have no idea what the plan is," running back Cameron Artis-Payne said Tuesday. The [coaches] know it. I don't know it."