Comparing incoming JUCO quarterback Nick Marshall to Cam Newton is something of a stretch – probably a big GIANT stretch. Still, the comparisons to him keep coming despite the fact that Marshall has yet to take a hit in an Auburn uniform.
Ask the majority of Auburn fans who the starting quarterback will be on August 31st and most will tell you without blinking that Nick’s the man.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray did nothing to lower expectations last week when he said of his former teammate, “(He) can throw a football farther than anyone I’ve ever seen in my life,” Murray said. “He’s an unbelievable football player. I’d like to see how much better he’s gotten over the past couple of years.”
During player-only workouts this summer, Marshall’s new teammates have been quick to give similar praise.
“Nick, I’m really surprised with the rhythm he has, his flow,” said fullback Jay Prosch. “He’s got a confidence about him, and he’s very quick running. I haven’t seen him, obviously, under any real pressure, but he’s very fast.”
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn is not buying into the talk yet, sounding more cautious. “All I’ve heard is that he’s got a good attitude,” said Malzahn, ”He’s worked hard since he’s been here.”
Under NCAA rules, coaches are not allowed to participate in the player workouts.
While fans may have settled on the man, it will be Malzahn who makes the decision. Don’t be surprised to see a strong push by Jonathan Wallace, who has a reputation as a hard worker and student of the game.
In competition with Kiehl Frazier at A-Day, it was Wallace who got the upper hand, throwing for 191 yards and two touchdowns. It still wasn’t enough to get him the starting nod heading into fall practice.
Don’t count out true freshman Jeremy Johnson who has no plans of sitting long in college. The last time he came through town, he carved up Auburn High School on the ground and through the air on the way to a blowout win for Carver-Montgomery.
One thing is certain. The wait is almost over. Malzahn has made it clear he wants a starter in place quickly. He credits Auburn’s fast turnaround in 2009 to the naming of Chris Todd within the first nine days of camp.
“That gave us a chance to work on our timing and establish there’s our leader,” Malzahn said. “See how they respond to him and put him in all the different situations that we needed to before the first game.”
If Malzahn has indeed settled on Marshall, he’s not tipping his hat yet. There’s seems to be time left for the others to win out.
“You go into this thing as a coach, you try to be as honest as you can with your quarterbacks,” Malzahn said. “You like to give them updates. … We’ll be very upfront with our guys. Hopefully somebody will establish themselves as the leader very early.”
For those at home keeping score, kickoff is just 33 days away.
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