Shades of Jeff Burger? Probably Not.
So much for the big announcement. Gus Malzahn’s declaration that Nick Marshall would not start the opener against Arkansas really didn’t give fans the definitive answer they were expecting. All we know for sure is that he won’t take the first snap.
This is nothing new for Auburn and its quarterbacks. Back in 1987, Tiger quarterback Jeff Burger found himself in a similar situation minus the weed. He accepted a ride on a plane from a friend of a teammate, which was a violation of NCAA rules and for a time was ruled ineligible.
Just prior to Auburn’s game with Florida, the NCAA relented and reinstated Burger’s eligibility. However, it wasn’t over yet. Some at the University insisted on Burger being punished by the school.
Finally, Auburn coach Pat Dye relented and benched him as the starter against the Gators – for one play. It was the ultimate middle finger to University officials pushing for the punishment. Burger and his Tigers defeated Florida 29-6 and went on to capture the SEC Title.
Something tells me Marshall will sit more than one play, but will likely be on the field before the halftime show cranks up…
Tired of worrying about Marshall? Take a closer look at the offensive line. Replacing All-American Greg Robinson and fullback Jay Prosch was a bad enough hit for Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant. Now, perhaps Auburn’s top returner on the line, Alex Kozan is gone for the year with a back injury.
Tre Mason was special. Auburn’s offensive line turned him into Superman. With Kozan gone, there has to be some concern among coaches. The 6-foot-4 300 pound Kozan had bonded with fellow lineman Reese Dismukes this summer at Navy SEALS Training in San Diego. Now Dismukes will be expected to do even more.
Coaches are expected to shuffle players around in the coming days, with Chad Slade, Patrick Miller and Avery Young all getting looks at different positions. Malzahn tried to downplay the loss.
“Obviously that’s a big blow for our guys up front with the type of year he had and the type of player he is,” said Malzahn.
“With that being said, we do have quality depth up front. I’ll take you back to the spring: Avery Young played some guard. That was good. We will kind of mix and match probably the first week or so, and we’ll see what happens with that.”
While very concerning, if there’s any place Auburn can absorb it, it’s on the line – I think…
Been worried about Tony Barbee since was fired by Auburn this spring? Yeah, I bet. Especially considering how fan friendly he was during his tenure on the Plains. Well, you can sleep easy now. Barbee has been hired as a “special assistant” to Kentucky coach John Calipari. Barbee played for Calipari at UMass and coached under him at Memphis.
Isn’t it amazing that Bruce Pearl has done more for Auburn recruiting in four months without being allowed to leave campus than Barbee did his entire tenure? Can you say, W-O-R-S-T Auburn basketball coach ever? And hey, we all know, that’s saying a lot.
Until next time…