Auburn has time to clear up its quarterback situation.
The team gets to spread out 15 practices over four weeks to prepare for an unannounced bowl appearance.
Auburn needs the practice time to get starting quarterback Sean White healthy enough to play.
The sophomore sat out the Iron Bowl with an injured throwing shoulder. The coaching staff hoped resting White against Alabama A&M last week would give him enough time to get ready for the Tigers’ regular season finale.
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“Sean practiced and wasn’t 100 percent,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “We just had to make the decision how healthy he was. We just didn’t think he was healthy enough to play.”
White injured his shoulder late in the game against Ole Miss on Oct. 29. He reaggravated the injury when Auburn travelled to Athens two weeks ago.
According to Malzahn, the Florida native didn’t take a practice rep for three full weeks.
The quarterback returned to the practice field Monday, but wasn’t able to convince coaches he was ready to play.
White was in uniform Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium, but only for what Malzahn described as an “emergency, emergency type deal.” It was the second straight year the quarterback missed the Iron Bowl.
Malzahn didn’t shed much light on White’s status after the game.
“I don’t know, we’ll see,” Malzahn said about White playing in the postseason. “He was trying to play, he was trying to get himself ready for this week. He just wasn’t healthy enough to play. Bowl game? We’ll see. We have some time.”
Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee previously said White’s injury wouldn’t require surgery.
“No, right now no,” Lashlee said on Nov. 13. “He’s in good shape.”
White completed a SEC-best 65 percent of his passes this season throwing for 1,644 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions.
Auburn rotated Jeremy Johnson and John Franklin III in White’s absence, but the offense struggled. The Tigers’ 182 total yards against Alabama are the third lowest total in Malzahn’s coaching career.
Malzahn acknowledged White’s importance to the offense after the loss.
“Sean White is our leader,” Malzahn said. “I mean Sean White is our quarterback, we are pretty efficient when he’s healthy.”