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AUBURN — Nick Marshall will make his first start in major college football at quarterback on Saturday when Auburn hosts Washington State. Keeping the expectations within reason for the debut of the junior college transfer and former Georgia cornerback is important for a team and fan base starving to get past the disastrous 2012 season.
“We named him the starter because we feel like when he was comfortable, that he definitely earned that position. We feel like he’ll get more comfortable and better each game,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said Tuesday morning. “From a coaching standpoint, we’ve got to protect him and ask him to do things that we feel like he’s comfortable and don’t ask him to do things he’s not. I’ll be curious to see how he responds.”
Malzahn’s curiosity carries over to outsiders as well. Few have been able to witness Marshall throw a pass since arriving at Auburn, but his arm strength is unquestionable.
“We’re going to play to his strengths. He throws the ball down the field very well. He can throw it deep, he can throw vertical balls very well,” said offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, who stressed staying “within the system” will be the key for Marshall, who’s only been practicing with the team since Aug. 2. “You’re talking about weeks in the system and now you’re asking him to go out and run it in a real game, so he needs every rep, every second he can get just repetition wise to feel very, very comfortable. The more he does it, not only practice by practice, but game by game, I think he’ll get better because I think he’ll get more comfortable with what he’s doing.”
Even with limited time with the team, Marshall has impressed his teammates with his command of the huddle.