Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson started in place of injured freshman Sean White in Saturday’s upset win over Texas A&M. Even if White is healthy enough to play this weekend against UGA, he may not be the starter.
“There’s a lot more to it than that,” Malzahn told reporters Tuesday when asked if White’s health would be the deciding factor in choosing a starter.
Johnson was 13-of-17 passing for 132 yards and a touchdown against Texas A&M. He completed his first nine passes of the game and looked comfortable running the offense. The performance marked a tremendous difference from the first three weeks of the season, when Johnson threw six interceptions and was subsequently benched in favor of White.
“He (Johnson) does have his edge back,” Malzahn said.
It seems that Johnson’s time as the backup has helped him gain confidence. Johnson stayed engaged after his benching and he capitalized on his second chance.
“I knew I was going to come along as the season went on and obviously my number got pulled,” Johnson said after Auburn defeated the Aggies on Saturday, according to AL.com’s Wesley Sinor. “All I could do was just prepare and be a team player.”
Johnson has given the coaches a tough decision to make going into the last three games of the season. White led the offense out of its early-season slump. The freshman was playing well before injuring his knee against Arkansas on Oct. 24. White played through the injury the following week, but he had his lowest completion percentage of the season (42.9) in a 27-19 loss to Ole Miss.
Johnson will be ready for whatever decision the coaching staff makes.
“I’m just going to leave that in the coaches’ hands and whatever happens, happens,” Johnson said Saturday.
Auburn hosts Georgia at noon ET on Saturday.