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Malzahn Names Jeremy Johnson Starter for Homecoming Game

By on October 11th, 2013 in Football 23 Comments »

13265813-mmmain - Jeremy Johnson“I’ve said from Day 1, whoever gives us the best chance of winning and being successful will be our quarterback. Obviously, it’s tough for a true freshman in this league but if … we believe he gives us the best chance of winning, he’ll be our quarterback.” Words spoken about true freshman Jeremy Johnson by Gus Malzahn during the pre season.

Well that time has arrived. Malzahn announced tonight on twitter that No.1 QB Nick Marshall is still aggravated by a knee injury he sustained during the win over Ole Miss last Saturday and will not be ready to play.

Now it’s Johnson’s turn to take the reigns. A highly touted quarterback coming out of Montgomery-Carver High School, he was named Mr Football for the state of Alabama last year. He becomes the fourth true freshman to start at quarterback for Auburn since Gabe Gross did it in 1998. The other two were Kodi Burns in 2007 and Jonathan Wallace in  2012.

If Johnson does exceedingly well (despite the level of  competition) could this become a long term move or will we see Marshall back next week against Texas A&M? 

Editor’s update:
After Jeremy Johnson led the Tigers over WCU 62 – 3, Coach Malzahn said in his postgame remarks, “I want to make this clear, Nick Marshall is our starting quarterback. When Nick is 100 percent, he will be back.”


  1. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    “… could this become a long term move or will we see Marshall back next week against Texas A&M?”

    Well, if Johnson can complete passes and run as well as Marshall, the question in everybody’s mind will be answered on the field. Either we have a new QB or we will be scrambling against SEC teams.

    It was evident as soon as Marshall was hurt that we were not nearly as competitive against Ole Miss in the final minutes. Our offense needs a mobile quarterback with an arm who can also throw on the move. That is a steep requirement. But that’s what Marshall gave us. The only problem was his completion percentage. Agreed, it was not all his fault. The receivers bear half the blame

    As a result of Marshall’s injury, he was not able to run. So, the hobbled Marshall was a quarterback with a low passing percentage who couldn’t run. Where did that leave us?

    Gus has said the offense needs to be more balanced.

  2. tigertracker says:

    I doubt JJ takes over heading into tamu game unless Marshall is hurt worse than they’re letting on. Even if he has a phenomenal day passing and showing extreme touch and correct reads just remember the level of competition. We’re playing one of the worst teams in div 2…
    That said if he does play well he should have a few packages to spark the offense in the event the offense sputters at tamu. If I never see 25 in the backfield again that’s ok. Great kid, but not an sec qb. The shirt is burnt. May as we’ll play the future some extra reps.

  3. wpleagle wpleagle says:


  4. spanky says:

    I don’t know why you burn a red shirt for a guy to play one game. I thinks jj is new #1 QB going forward. Doesn’t make sense to waste a full year of eligibility for one non conference game.

    • Todd92 Todd92 says:

      I don’t think there is any doubt that Marshall is questionable at best for A&M. You don’t take the redshirt off if there is no doubt about Marshall going into next week…. Malzahn is getting JJ ready for next week. Worst case scenario is A&M has to game plan for both and can’t do a complete job gameplanning for either.

      • KoolBell KoolBell says:

        I have to agree with Todd92.

        Johnathan Wallace would be the starter if it were for just one game IMO. Even Frazier looked decent vs lower tier schools last season, and we all remember how bad we looked last season. Something else is brewing here, and it has to do with Marshall’s injury.

        How bad is the injury? Consider this: when Cam Newton was starting, Malzahn played him vs a lesser team, and did not allow Newton to run the ball. His sole purpose was to pass, and work on his passing game. The result was an 84 yard completion to Blake in stride for a TD. This game is the perfect scenario for Marshall to work on his passing game. Yet he isn’t going to play at all. The injury must be worse than we are being told. I know that is speculation on my part, although I believe it to be true.

        Jeremy Johnson is a fantastic talent, and I know he will do good vs Western Carolina, and FAU. How will he do vs the best of the West and UGA? That is the real question isn’t it? One thing for sure, this is a great way to get him ready for the rest of his season. I hope it is a great one.

        WAR EAGLE!

        • KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

          Kool, if/when Marshall recovers, I could see something of a dual-quarterback system. Marshall came through in that final two minutes against Mississippi State. So the guy has proven he can throw. He just isn’t “consistent” enough through the air. But his running ability is pretty off the charts. From the scuttlebutt, Johnson is a better passer but not quite as shifty on the ground. If/when Marshall heals up enough to get his wheels back, I could see Gus using the talents of each QB to exact some advantage.
          This will come in handy against SEC teams.

          The #1 priority is to win games now, not worry about games four years from now. I am glad the red shirt is gone. Now we have access to the best quarterbacks available for circumstances.

  5. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    May have too buy the pay per view for this one. Im surprised Gus made this move. He may be expecting NM to get hurt again this season, like Mike Vick does, so he needs a backup equally as talented. Hopefully we wont regret this move four years from now.

  6. sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

    Evidently, there is a reason Gus Malzahn is the head coach at Auburn and I’m not, as I felt that Wallace was the better choice in terms of Johnson losing his redshirt.

    But I’ll be happy to be absolutely wrong if it turns out well. War Damn Eagle!

  7. tigertracker says:

    I was mad at first, but don’t we have a stud QB committed for 2014 and 2015. White and queen I think? Plus if JJ is as poised as Jamies Winston is doing at FSU he likely leaves after 2 years anyway so we get him for 2.5 years this way. I know, I know those commits could switch, but I’m the optimist that thinks they’ll both sign. Are we in that bad of shape if only one signs? Maybe….who was that stud qb chiz signed from up north that wound up at Louisville playing tight end? Those high stars don’t always mean much when the pressure goes up.

  8. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Well, I haven’t watched either Marshall or Johnson practice. I do know I was disappointed in what we DID have playing on A-Day. And Gus DOES have to do what’s right this year. This is the SEC at Auburn, and he has to win sooner rather than later. He has to play the right guy for now, or 4-5 years down the road won’t matter to him.

  9. WoodrowAU95 says:

    Is Nick Marshall’s injury worse than we are lead to believe? I hope not. Can’t wait to see what JJ can do!!


  10. sparkey sparkey says:

    Well, let’s hope that JJ looks really good and adds an element to the passing game we’ve not had since 2010. I know many of you guys are cringing and very surprised that Gus went ahead and pulled the trigger.

    You have no reason to be surprised. Gus is very aggressive with his coaching style and he’s planing for the future. If he stays healthy and out of trouble, Jeremy Johnson will be the starter and he will be something special as we like to say here at Auburn.

    One last thing, I told you so.

  11. restless6 says:

    I like this decision, and hope that he rises to the challenge and replaces Marshall.

  12. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Call me naive but I believe when a QB loses the way we lost last year it does something to them. My examples are kodi burns and clint mosely. Both good kids but woefully out classed in the SEC. Add to it poor offensive lines and receivers and you have the recipe for a manic depressive. Who gets the blame? I don’t know how you can get around it that they feel they must carry the team.

    I think that is why Wallace isn’t the guy.

    Like others here I think marshall is hurt. It hurt me watching him land the way he did. I grabbed my own knee in empathy. Yet he was kept in the game.

    Johnson is probably the only thing on the bench. There is nothing left. I just hope he can run this offense.

    If we see a very conservative game plan… its because he doesn’t. And that is bad. Add that to suspect play calling… and whew. next week could be another long game.


    • sparkey sparkey says:

      Damn man really? So you really think that if Auburn has conservative play calling for JJ’s first ever start that he is no good? You don’t think Gus will break him in the same way he tried to break in Nick Marshall? Look, be fair to the kid and give him a chance.

      • wde1988 wde1988 says:

        I am not sure I understand the anxst sparky. The person that pays the price is Johnson. Its not like I am Scabinsky… saying what I suspect.


  13. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    I have made no bones about it before, I wanted Johnson over Marshall at the beginning of the season. I guess now I get to see if I was right or wrong.
    I think Todd hit the nail on the head, Marshall is questionable for TAMU, so getting Johnson ready is necessary. This could be one of those injuries that will require surgery but can be put off to see how he progresses. I have heard that many times, play now, get cut on later.
    Everyone has heard how talented Johnson is, now lets see how he executes the offense and how well he does the reads.

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      And if lashley’s play calling is suspect.


      • MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

        Just like any coach would do with a new QB, I expect a lot of Mason early with some high percentage passes called early. In the second half, look for some down the field stuff to take advantage of JJ’s NFL arm.

      • Todd92 Todd92 says:

        Lashley doesn’t call the plays… Malzahn does. Lashley is an “extra set of eyes”(Malzahn’s words not mine).

        • wde1988 wde1988 says:

          Damn. Can I earn $400K by being an extra set of eyes?? Hell, I don’t even have to get out on the field… and I will provide my own AU shirt!