AUBURN, Ala. — Robenson Therezie is "working through some eligibility issues", according to Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, leaving the senior's status for the opener in doubt.
"We're working through some eligibility issues right now with him," Malzahn said Saturday. "We should know more in the near future, and when we find out, I'll definitely let you know. But that's all I'm going to say about that."
Malzahn declined to provide any further details on the nature of the "eligibility issues," nor did he state whether Therezie would play when the Tigers open the season versus Arkansas on Aug. 30.
Last season was a turning point for Therezie, as he started every game at Star — Auburn's hybrid linebacker/safety position, leading the team with four interceptions in addition to collecting 57 tackles. He moved into the lineup after the presumed starter, Justin Garrett, suffered a foot injury prior to the opener. Therezie had already earned a fair share of recognition during the summer, as he was selected to the preseason All-SEC second-team at media days and was named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which is annually given to the nation's top defensive player.
With Therezie possibly gone for the opener and beyond, Garrett has reasserted himself at the top of the depth chart.
"We're getting Justin ready and right now we've got to get some depth out there," defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said Thursday.
Behind Garrett are three young, unproven players: sophomore Mackenro Alexander, true freshman Nick Ruffin and third-year sophomore T.J. Davis, a cornerback who was moved to Star earlier this week.
"We have numerous guys that are in the mix," Malzahn said. "Different packages and all of that."
If Therezie doesn't resolve his eligibility issues prior to kickoff, the Tigers will take the field with five expected starters on the sideline. Quarterback Nick Marshall and corner Jonathon Mincy will be held out of the starting lineup as part of their punishment for offseason incidents involving marijuana. Alex Kozan, who started all 14 games at left guard last year, will miss the coming season after having back surgery. And defensive end Carl Lawson is out indefinitely after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee this spring. Lawson had surgery to repair the tear in May.