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Auburn’s Jeremy Johnson ‘probably’ starting at quarterback against Idaho Saturday

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson (6) throws a pass during during the first quarter of an NCAA football game against Georgia, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Auburn, Ala.
Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson (6) throws a pass during during the first quarter of an NCAA football game against Georgia, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Auburn, Ala. AP Photo

Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson’s name is at the top of the depth chart going into Idaho game, but it’s written in pencil, not ink.

Coach Gus Malzahn used a number of qualifiers to name Johnson the Tigers’ tentative starter.

“More than likely right now, we’ll see how the week goes that could change, but if you ask me right now we probably go with Jeremy and get him ready,” Malzahn said.

As of Tuesday, Malzahn doesn’t think quarterback Sean White is healthy enough to play. The redshirt freshman’s left knee bothered him during his brief second half appearance in a 20-13 loss to Georgia.

He finished 1 of 5 for 1 yard, and fumbled when he was sacked early in the fourth quarter.

In reviewing film of White’s four possessions, Malzahn admitted the coaching staff may have misjudged the Florida native’s injury status.

“When you look back, I mean obviously, if we could change some things, probably would,” Malzahn said. “It was our plan going in (to play both). We thought he was a little healthier than he was. We have to get him healthy before he gets back on the field.”

Malzahn “could tell” the knee was bothering him as White struggled to step into his throws. The focus for White this week will be getting healthy.

“Obviously, I think everybody could see he is not 100 percent,” Malzahn said. “Hopefully he’ll be healthier this week. We’ll do a good job at practice trying to manage that.”

Johnson also struggled in the loss going 14 of 22 for 61 yards with an interception, his eighth of the season.

While Auburn’s offense stalled in the second half, Malzahn expressed confidence in Johnson’s ability to run, and execute the offense. The coach refused to blame the junior for the group taking a step back following a strong effort against Texas A&M.

“He could have played better but he also did some good things,” Malzahn said. “We could have played better around him too.”

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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