Auburn football: Nick Marshall 'looks like he's back to normal,' Jeremy Johnson gets reps with first-team offense

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 16, 2013 

AUBURN, Ala.Nick Marshall has returned to full strength.

Following Wednesday’s practice, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said his starting quarterback ran through the session without any noticeable signs of distress.

“Looks like he’s back to normal,” Malzahn said when asked about the junior’s mobility.

Marshall didn’t get all of the reps as the first-team quarterback this week, however. After making his first career start against Western Carolina last Saturday, Jeremy Johnson received his share of snaps with the starting offense during the Tigers’ three practices since Sunday.

“He’s got some reps,” Malzahn said. “We kind of mixed and matched on certain things.”

Despite missing last week’s game, the coaching staff’s expectations for Marshall are high. His lack of live game action last week shouldn’t be an issue, according to Malzahn, given the reps Marshall accumulated during the season’s first five games.

Cue Malzahn’s simple goal for Marshall as the Georgia native makes his second career start away from Jordan-Hare Stadium.

“Just continue to get better,” he said. “He had (last) week off, but at the same time, he had a very good game the week before. It’s just a matter of building. You can tell he’s more comfortable each week with everything within our system.”

Johnson and Marshall were a topic of discussion for Kevin Sumlin during his appearance on the SEC coaches’ teleconference on Wednesday as well.

Texas A&M’s coach praised Malzahn’s ability to put up big offensive numbers regardless of who plays quarterback.

"Gus has a proven track record of being able to move the football with many different guys at different institutions at different levels,” Sumlin said. “I know that he's confident in his system and the way he does things, as are we. With that confidence in the system and the coaching staff, I think the players gain that confidence, too, and you can see that with whoever is under center and how they play.”

Johnson’s inclusion into the Tigers’ offense will do little to change what Sumlin’s team planned to do defensively. It was meant as no disrespect toward Auburn’s quarterbacks, though.

That’s just the way Texas A&M assesses every opponent.

“Our preparation is you pay particular attention more so to schematics than to the individual player, although just like any game, (some) individual players do some things better than others,” he said. “So the main thing is paying particular attention to the overall scheme, which (Auburn does) a great job of.”

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