Barring the unforeseen or unexpected, Auburn is expected to head into the 2015 opener against Louisville Sept. 5 with Jeremy Johnson under center. After nearly four weeks of spring practice, however, the junior has yet to gain a stranglehold on the starting quarterback job — or, at least, his coach refuses to acknowledge he has.
During a scrimmage Saturday, Johnson and redshirt freshman Sean White, the Opelika-Auburn News writes, “split the reps at quarterback with the first-team offense — rotating between the blue group and the orange group.” The reps weren’t exactly split evenly, however, as Johnson, the primary backup to starter Nick Marshall in 2014, took a few more snaps than did White.
At this point in time, head coach Gus Malzahn doesn’t appear inclined to name a starter, even as Johnson remains the odds-on favorite.
“I think they did OK,” Malzahn said of the performance of both Johnson and White. “I don’t think there was anything that stood out negatively.”
At least technically, the Tigers’ quarterback competition is a four-person duel, with Jason Smith and Tyler Queen also in the mix. Malzahn, though, seems to make it clear that the list of starting candidates has been pared in half from where it was at the start of spring practice last month.
“I think with those first two guys (Johnson and White), we do have a lot of information,” Malzahn said. “You know, Sean White in the bowl practices, went live. Tyler, today was live. But those first two, we’ve got really good information. We know how they’re going to react. Now they both wanted to go live, but we’re going to be smart. Now that’s a good thing. Most quarterbacks do. That way they can play the game.
“But we were smart with them today.”
Last season, Johnson completed 28-of-37 passes for 436 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. More than half of those pass attempts (21) came in the 2014 opener against Arkansas as Johnson started in place of Marshall, who was suspended following an offseason weed incident.