AUBURN, Ala. — Nick Marshall took to the podium on Sunday with three main talking points. First and foremost, he plans to regain the trust of his coaches and teammates. And the second and third points related back to the first: He's sorry for making a "mistake" and he's apologetic for the distraction it caused the team.
Going forward, Marshall vowed that he's learned his lesson.
"I put myself in a bad situation that I shouldn't have put myself in," Auburn's starting quarterback said in his first media apperance since receiving a marijuana citation last month. "I'm just going to learn from my mistake."
The "bad situation" Marshall found himself in occurred outside Reynolds, Ga., on July 11. At approximately 12:45 p.m., Marshall was traveling eastbound on Georgia Highway 96 when a stop was initiated due to a window tint violation on a purple Dodge Charger he was driving.
"Upon approaching the vehicle, the officer detected an odor of marijuana," Reynolds police chief Lonnie Holder said last month, noting Marshall was the only person in the vehicle. "At that time, a consent to search the vehicle was requested and granted."
It was then that "eight or nine grams" of marijuana was located. Marshall was given two citations — one for marijuana possession less than an ounce and another for excessive window tint — and sent on his way. The case was closed July 24, when Marshall's mother, Shalana Cliett, paid the fines stemming from the two citations. The fines totaled $1,100 — $1,000 for marijuana possession less than an ounce and $100 for illegal window tint.
Following the incident, Marshall was held out of Auburn's appearance at SEC media days, with coach Gus Malzahn citing the "privilege" that comes along with representing the university at the annual event. And when fall camp began, Malzahn announced further punishment: Marshall would be held out of the starting lineup for the season opener versus Arkansas on Aug. 30.
Malzahn declined to reveal how much time Marshall will miss against the Razorbacks, however, and the senior signal-caller said he doesn't know, either.
"I have no idea," he said. "They haven't decided that. But like I said, I trust my coach, and I know I'm just trying to gain my trust back with him."
He's trying to do the same with everyone else affiliated with the program — the coaching staff, his teammates, the Tigers' fan base.
Marshall said apologizing for the incident in a team-wide meeting last month was one of the most emotional moments of his life.
"It was tough because when that happened, it was like the whole team was in that car with me and also the coaching staff. I felt bad about it," he said. "But ... I came up here and I apologized and I told them it won't happen again. And they accepted me back."
Having their support, he said, has made it easier to get through the adversity he's dealt with in the past month.
"Without (my) teammates, I probably wouldn't be here," he said. "And they're just behind me 100 percent."
He also has the backing of his family, though Marshall admitted facing them was equally difficult.
"I let them down. They're family. .... (They've been) there since Day 1 and I was sad that I let them down like how I did," Marshall said. "I'm gaining their trust back and they're still going to be with me."
One thing that never crossed Marshall's mind?
The off-field incident that brought his career at Georgia to a close in February 2012.
The details of that never became public, with the Bulldogs only citing it as a "violation of team rules." Reportedly, it involved Marshall and two others (defensive back Chris Sanders and receiver Sanford Seay) stealing money from a teammate's dorm room. Following his dismissal, he spent one season at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas before transferring to Auburn last year.
Marshall said he never thought the Georgia incident would factor into Malzahn's decision on his punishment.
"What happened at Georgia, that's in the past," he said. " ... I'm not worried about that right now."
His focus, as he reiterated time and again Sunday, is to make amends for what happened last month and look forward a brighter future.
"The incident that happened, it's just going to change me as a better man on and off the field," Marshall said.