(Update) Jeremy Johnson to start in place of Nick Marshall

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 9, 2013 

AUBURN, Ala. — Freshman Jeremy Johnson will start Saturday against Western Carolina in place of the injured Nick Marshall, coach Gus Malzahn announced via Twitter on Friday afternoon.

Marshall, who injured his knee on a run in the fourth quarter of last week’s game versus Ole Miss, downplayed its severity immediately following the victory. Though he sat out Sunday’s no-contact practice, Marshall was back on Wednesday.

Johnson was chosen over sophomore Jonathan Wallace (Central).

Malzahn had said earlier in the week that he had no qualms about either player being at the controls of the Tigers’ offense if that comes to pass.

“Jonathan (and) Jeremy have got a lot of reps in practice since fall camp and even during the season,” he said. “We'd be confident in both of those guys executing our offense.”

McNeal trial date set

Former Auburn safety Demetruce McNeal pled not guilty to second-degree marijuana possession Wednesday.

McNeal’s plea was first reported by the Opelika-Auburn News.

The College Park native’s trial will take place in Auburn Municipal Court on Dec. 12. McNeal was arrested at 1:02 a.m. on Aug. 17 and charged with second-degree possession of marijuana. Former Auburn players Jawara White and Jonathan Evans were taken into custody along with McNeal on the same charges.

Evans also pleaded not guilty Wednesday and will have his trial the same day as McNeal. White was the only one who decided not to enter a plea, instead electing to enroll in a pre-trial diversion program for first-time offenders. Should he complete the program — which requires him to attend classes for the next six months — White will avoid being prosecuted for the Class A misdemeanor.

After being released on $500 bond the day of his arrest, McNeal met with Malzahn. The meeting ended with the Tigers’ second-leading tackler in 2012 being dismissed from the team.

He then transferred to West Alabama, a Division II school where the senior was eligible to play immediately. Despite missing one game this season, McNeal has still collected 22 tackles, which ranks fifth-best on the team.

Quick hits

Fans will be allowed after the field is cleared at the conclusion of Saturday’s game. They will be permitted to remain on the field for 45 minutes to walk around and take photos and. “We felt that this was a great time to do this,” Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said in a release. “We’re very appreciative of the Southeastern Conference and Commissioner (Mike) Slive for granting us a waiver and allowing this to happen for our fans.” ... Malzahn said Cassanova McKinzy has practiced the past two days, but did not reveal whether the sophomore linebacker would suit up against the Catamounts. McKinzy suffered a neck injury at the end of the first quarter last week versus Ole Miss that saw him carted off the field.

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