After three less-than-inspiring weeks and a 2-1 record that feels more like a 1-2 record, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has made a quarterback change. Jeremy Johnson has been stripped of his starting job, which now belongs to Sean White starting this week against Mississippi State. Can the new Tigers quarterback pull some tricks to rejuvenate Auburn and live up to the preseason hype? Well, he certainly can’t hurt.
Johnson has completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 473 yards and five touchdowns through Auburn’s first three games. He has been picked off six times though, and he lost two fumbles in Auburn’s loss at LSU over the weekend. Malzahn has publicly defended Johnson and refused to suggest Johnson would be in danger of losing the starting job, but after digging a hole in sEC play there is little time to waste in making the necessary moves in order to try to turn things around. His play has simply not lived up to some of the preseason expectations given by some around college football. Some thought Johnson would be a Heisman hopeful, but now he will be holding a clipboard on game day.
White is a redshirt freshman, and this will mark his first time on the field throwing a pass for the Tigers. The quarterback play at Auburn has only been one part of the problem so far this season. The defense has been gashed despite the addition of defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. The defense will hope to start playing better this weekend, but will do so without defensive end Carl Lawson. Malzahn said Tuesday Lawson will be out for an extended period of time, although he hopes that means he will be back before the end of the regular season. Lawson injured his hip in the season-opener against Louisville, did not play against Jacksonville State and did not make the trip to LSU this past weekend.