Auburn quarterback Sean White played the worst half of his young collegiate career Saturday night in a 13-7 loss at Sanford Stadium.
White went 2 of 13 for eight yards after halftime with his longest completion going to a player in the wrong jersey.
A week after providing Auburn a spark in the second half against Vanderbilt, White ignited the crowd in Athens with a pick-six to Georgia defensive back Maurice Smith.
White threw incompletion after incompletion in the second half with the offense going three-and-out on seven straight second-half possessions.
The Florida native came into the game battling a shoulder injury, which Auburn coaches refused to discuss after naming him the starter early in the week.
How much did the injury bother White Saturday night? That’s unclear.
“He’s not 100 percent, but he got us here and that was our plan coming in,” Malzahn said carefully chosing his words. “A lot of guys aren’t 100 percent that’s part of it.”
Malzahn was asked specifically what physical problems White is dealing with — pain or lack of strength.
“All of the above,” Malzahn said without elaborating on the severity of the issues.
According to Malzahn, the biggest challenge for White was overcoming a second straight week without practice reps.
“We saved his arm best we could to get him in the game,” Malzahn said.
It is the second time this week Malzahn’s injury update contradicted one of his assistant coaches. Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said White was “not going to be limited in any capacity” after participating in Wednesday’s practice.
Backup quarterback John Franklin III warmed up briefly on the sidelines in the second half, but Malzahn didn’t consider going to the junior college transfer.
It was a decision Auburn players defended.
“I couldn’t tell (White was injured),” Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson said.
Johnson put the blame on the rest of the offense for letting White get “heated up” by Georgia’s defense.
“He gave us a chance,” Johnson said. “We just have to make plays around him, we got to protect him and got to want to win just like he does.”
Malzahn plans on “evaluating everything” this week to determine the offense’s next step. A step that could include a quarterback change if White isn’t healthy enough to play in Auburn’s home finale against Alabama A&M next week.
“We didn’t get it done,” Malzahn said. “We didn’t execute very good. We didn’t do a very good job offensively, that was obvious.”