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Auburn players ‘relieved’ starting quarterback wasn’t a game time decision

Auburn quarterback Sean White throws during practice for the Birmingham Bowl last December.
Auburn quarterback Sean White throws during practice for the Birmingham Bowl last December. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Reporters weren’t the only people asking Auburn players who the team’s starting quarterback was going to be on Sept. 3.

Running back Kerryon Johnson dealt with versions of the question everywhere he went on the Plains for months.

“Literally like 20 or 30 times (a day) at the very least,” Johnson said.

He’s happy he finally has an answer for them.

Coach Gus Malzahn announced Sean White as the team’s week one starter Thursday night over Jeremy Johnson and John Franklin III.

Kerryon Johnson praised all three competitors for having a “fantastic competition,” but the consensus coming out of Auburn’s locker room Thursday night was one of relief.

“I think it’s the best thing for the team that we have that one guy we can rally behind,” Auburn wide receiver Marcus Davis said.

White won’t have to put much work into winning his teammates over. The sophomore has laid the groundwork this offseason for a strong relationship with the offense.

“You got a guy that you are real confident in,” Davis said. “He really intelligent, he know the offense, so we are excited about what we having going on and we are ready to move on.”

Coach Gus Malzahn identified White’s leadership qualities as one of the decisive factors in naming him the starter.

White openly admits he struggled knowing when to lead as a redshirt freshman last year given his inexperience. He didn’t have the same problem when the team’s offseason workouts started in January.

“I’m more comfortable and I’m older,” White said. “I don’t really have to think about today I really have to go out and lead this team. I just go out there and take control because you feel like you are out there you are the older guy, the quarterback. You got your receivers and offensive line looking to you.”

According to Kerryon Johnson, White has the perfect temperament for a quarterback in the SEC.

"He's obviously a really nice guy and a really great friend, but I think Sean has a little mean streak to him,” Johnson said. “He's not going to back down from anybody. He's a spicy player and he loves competition. That's the thing that people get out of playing with him. They really get that attitude that you can really feed off of as a team."