AUBURN, Ala. — The faith Auburn’s coaching staff has in Jeremy Johnson has never wavered.
But in the Tigers’ last three games, the true freshman quarterback has seen limited action. Rhett Lashlee said it’s had nothing to do with Johnson and everything to do with starting quarterback Nick Marshall.
“The way Nick had been playing and the way just the team’s been playing, you hate to really disturb things,” Auburn’s offensive coordinator said. “If there’s something that we feel like Jeremy gives us to win the game, he’s going to do it.”
And Johnson has proven his lack of live reps mean little when he actually enters the game. The last two times he’s attempted passes — against Arkansas and Georgia, respectively — he came off the bench and tossed completions on his first play in each of those contests. Lashlee could only note it was “incredibly impressive” how difficult it was to pull off that kind of feat with consistency.
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“To come in off the bench cold and complete, not easy throws, to be honest with you, I think that says a lot about his talent and his future potential,” he said.
As for the present, Lashlee said it likely won’t change much. Unless Marshall gets hurt, Johnson will continue to see only spot duty.
Whenever the time comes for the Montgomery, Ala., native to take on a larger role, though, Lashlee had no qualms expressing his confidence in Johnson’s ability to run the entirety of the Tigers’ offensive playbook.
“Jeremy is fully prepared and gets plenty of reps each week to be ready to go in and play the entire game,” he said. “It’s not a deal where we don’t feel confident with him knowing the system or being able to play all the time, it’s just the way it’s gone.”