By Rich Winter
Breaking news from the college football world as Auburn coach Gus Malzahn announced today that sophomore Jeremy Johnson will be the starting QB when No. 6 Auburn opens the season against Arkansas on Saturday.
Hey wait, I thought Jeremy Johnson was already the starter for that opener.
What Malzahn did here was pretty clever. He made the official announcement that Jeremy Johnson will be the starter and he quietly, barely, mentioned the fact that Nick Marshall, the starting QB, the Heisman hopeful, the guy who received a marijuana citation this fall is going to play.
I though at SEC Media Days that Malzahn incurred the wrath of God against his star player and told us that Marshall wouldn't play in the opener and that he was suspended for the game with Arkansas.
Welcome to the SEC, where a crime isn't really a crime if you can just brush it aside long enough for people to forget it about it for a second.
Frankly, I'm appalled by this decision and I think it clearly sends the wrong message to a host of young men that frankly could have learned a dose of truth, no, a dose of reality.
If you're caught with pot and given a citation in college, you don't get to play in the opener...PERIOD!
The problem here is this is SEC Country, which basically runs a lawless affair unless something really bad happens, like a double homicide - oh wait, Aaron Hernandez continued to play.
Let's translate all of this into what is really going on here.
Marshall is a talented young man. Last season he threw for 2000 yards and rushed for 1068. Auburn is ranked No. 6 in the pre-season. If Marshall doesn't play in the first game, against a lowly Arkansas team, his chances of being a Heisman contender and Auburn spring-boarding up the national polls, with the extra attention surrounding him will suffer a blow.
Oh yes, it's a playoff year, so Auburn needs those extra, early look good points to make it into college football's final four.
I thought Malzahn's statement at SEC Media Daze was pretty clear.
Marshall won't play in the opener.
I guess he's softened that a bit to, "I guess he won't start." which ultimately means he won't play the first series.
What a joke.
Kid gets a marijuana citation and he is forced to sit out all of one drive and not get the start on the opener of his senior year.
Sending a real strong message to the program and the SEC and the rest of college football, AUBURN!
It's ok to smoke pot and it's ok to get a citation for possessing pot...here's a little slap on the wrist..thank you for playing.
The quotes today from Auburn are almost a joke as they simply talk about Johnson as the starter and how everyone is in full support of him in his first game.