Gus Malzahn had to face the media Monday after what had to be a very distressing two weeks, starting with the death of former player Phillip Lutzenkirchen and ending with Friday’s disappointing actions of his starting quarterback. Despite those problems, anyone watching him at SEC Media Days could see he showed the same steely eyed determination that has made his persona famous among the fans.
Malzahn quickly stated yesterday that Nick Marshall will have to pay for his mistake. Although he didn’t volunteer any specifics on what the punishment might entail, it was comforting to hear that a contrite Marshall had stood before the team Sunday night and apologized for letting them down.
His teammates in return have rallied around the senior signal caller. Tight End C.J. Uzomah who replaced Marshall in Hoover fielded a question about the team’s feelings on Marshall:
“As a team we were extremely disappointed, but at the same time we know that he’s going to learn from this mistake … Our trust in him hasn’t faltered at all, and our faith in him is as strong as it’s been. He made a mistake, and Coach Malzahn addressed it, and we’ll get back on track.”
Yet there is still the question of whether Marshall could receive suspension from playing time? That’s a possibility that could easily be read into Malzahn’s remarks to the media, “From our standpoint, we have high expectations. Our quarterbacks are the face of our program.” Gus went on to say, “The good news is we have a guy in Jeremy Johnson that could start for most teams around the country.”
Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean Marshall will be sat down for a game or two. But it may mean that he’ll have to compete all over again with Johnson to get his starting position back. That in itself could be humbling for a guy who has been touted in the off season as a possible Heisman candidate.
Events like what the 2014 Tigers have already had to go through can serve to splinter or bring a cohesiveness to a football team. That intangible quality of team chemistry is a hard enough quality to achieve without having to overcome obstacles like this weekend. The good thing though is there is a lot of senior leadership on this team. Marshall has their support.
Hopefully he will do his penitence and gain back the trust of his coaches as well. And the Tigers will get back on track toward the goal of successfully defending their SEC Championship.
Tags: Auburn blogs, Auburn Football, auburn Tigers, C.J. Uzomah, Gus Malzahn, Jeremy Johnson, Nick Marshall, Phillip Lutzenkirchen, sec blogs, SEC Media Days, Track 'em Tigers