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Auburn pushes quarterback decision for Iron Bowl to later in the week

Auburn quarterback Sean White is questionable for Saturday's game against Alabama.
Auburn quarterback Sean White is questionable for Saturday's game against Alabama. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn could head to Tuscaloosa Friday for the Iron Bowl without naming a starting quarterback.

Coach Gus Malzahn wasn’t ready to name a starter during his weekly press conference Tuesday.

Malzahn offered a similar overview of the situation as offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee did two days earlier when the assistant wouldn’t rule any of the quarterbacks out.

“We're still not ready to name a starter,” Malzahn said. “I want to make sure and go through practice today and tomorrow before we make a call on who will lead us out from the quarterback position.”

Malzahn is giving quarterback Sean White as much time as possible to show his injured throwing shoulder is healthy after three weeks without taking a single practice rep.

The sophomore participated in Monday’s practice, but Malzahn declined to elaborate on the extent of White’s involvement.

“He did some,” Malzahn said. “We didn't do a whole lot, but he did some.”

Malzahn generally outlined what the coaching staff is looking for from White, but wouldn’t say if the quarterback still needed to be cleared by the team’s training staff.

“I think first of all you've got to make sure somebody's healthy enough to go out there and protect themselves,” Malzahn said. “That's the first thing. Then, if you answer that question as yes, then you go to what guy gives your team the best chance of winning and being successful.”

While evaluating White, the coaching staff will be doing the same with Jeremy Johnson and John Franklin III to see which backup gives the team the best chance to win if needed.

“We'll see how they do today in practice, all of them, and probably see how they do tomorrow, too, and then make the decision,” Malzahn said.

Johnson went 14 of 19 for 147 yards with a touchdown Saturday night in a win over Alabama A&M. The senior also rushed for a pair of touchdowns in his first start of the season.

It was the Montgomery native’s first action since taking snaps against Clemson in week one.

“Jeremy did a solid job running our offense like I said,” Malzahn said. “He’s the most experienced guy we got and he knows the offense and made some good plays with his feet.”

Franklin also played in the 55-0 win, but didn’t attempt a pass. The junior college transfer spent the entire regular season getting the No. 2 reps in practice, but struggled against Vanderbilt in his first career start.

Michael Niziolek: 334-332-8572, @wareagleextra

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