AUBURN, Ala. — One day after saying he was “hopeful” for Marlon Davidson’s return to action against Missouri, Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn has upgraded the defensive end’s injury status.
Malzahn said Auburn expects Davidson to return from an undisclosed injury for the SEC opener against Missouri on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU). Davidson sat out the Tigers’ 24-10 win over Mercer last week.
“We expect Marlon to play,” Malzahn said Thursday night on his weekly Tiger Talk radio show. “He’s one of our best players. He’s an impact player. When he’s out there, it really helps.”
Davidson recorded 7 tackles, 3 tackles for loss and 2 sacks in Auburn’s first two games of the season — a Week 1 rout of Georgia Southern and a low-scoring loss in Week 2 to defending national champion Clemson.
The sophomore from Greenville, Ala., suffered a non-contact knee injury during fall camp that held him out of full practice for several weeks. Davidson also sprained his elbow during spring practices, forcing him to use a brace that he’ll wear all season.
Last year, as a true freshman starter on a veteran defensive line, Davidson had 6 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, along with 6 quarterback hurries and 4 pass breakups. Davidson is one of two returning starters on the defensive line, with the other being defensive tackle Dontavius Russell.
More Auburn football news from Tiger Talk
- In other injury news, Malzahn said again Thursday night right tackle Darius James has practiced “all week” after suffering a scary neck injury against Mercer.
- Malzahn also said running back Kerryon Johnson would play against Missouri after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury.
- Malzahn also expects the rest of the Tigers’ running backs to get involved in the game after Kamryn Pettway took all of Auburn’s carries against Clemson and Mercer.
- The head coach said offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey calls the wildcat formation Auburn ran with the 240-pound Pettway against Mercer “the Moose package.” Johnson was the Tigers’ top wildcat player in 2015 and 2016.
- Walk-on quarterback Devin Adams will be the Tigers’ No. 3 quarterback behind sophomore Jarrett Stidham and freshman Malik Willis against Missouri. Wide receiver Ryan Davis practiced some in a No. 4, “worst-case scenario” role this week.
- Senior kicker Daniel Carlson will not punt against Missouri. Malzahn said earlier this week Carlson was a possibility there, as sophomore punter Ian Shannon has been inconsistent so far this season.