It looks like Jameis Winston isn’t the only high profile QB who will be scrutinized for off season transgressions this year. His counterpart in last year’s National Championship, Auburn’s Nick Marshall will sit out the Tigers’ opener against rival Arkansas. While Marshall won’t be the starter, coach Gus Malzahn did say at the SEC media day that Marshall will in fact play in the game.
Marshall has already paid the fine for the marijuana possession citation he received in the off season and given the fact that Auburn opens the season against a Conference rival, it should come as no shock that he is going to play. Let’s face it, if Auburn were playing a cupcake opponent in week one then Malzahn would more than likely hold Marshall out for the entire game, but Gus isn’t dumb enough to risk his season because a player got caught with something as harmless as marijuana.
We should applaud Malzahn for having a good level of awareness here and not overreacting as some coaches would and putting his year in jeopardy because of something that is completely legal in multiple states. While the NFL freaks out and suspends Josh Gordon for an entire year of his prime, Gus has shown great perspective in punishing his star quarterback.
Malzahn refuses to give a concrete answer on when exactly he will put Marshall in the game and with him being so non-committal it will likely boil down to how the game goes for the Tigers while Marshall sits. Even though Arkansas didn’t win an SEC game last year, Gus is well aware this isn’t a season opener against Troy and that every SEC game counts on this schedule and no opponent should be taken likely. I would expect Marshall to enter the game by halftime, if not even sooner. I wouldn’t be shocked if he only sat out the first quarter for such a minor offense.
Along with Nick Marshall, Gus Malzahn also announced that cornerback Jonothan Mincy will be given the same punishment for a marijuana charge that he was hit with during the month of June. Just as with Marshall, Malzahn gave no exact answer to how long Mincy will be forced to sit out, and will likely again come down to how Auburn fares against Arkansas this fall.
The Tigers will face the Razorbacks in the season opener on Saturday August 30th, with kickoff scheduled for 3pm.