Auburn QB Marshall Won’t Start Against Arkansas Due To Marijuana Possession, But How Long Will He Sit?

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall was cited by police for possession of marijuana last month. Tigers Head coach Gus Malzahn rendered his verdict Friday for Marshall and cornerback Jonathon Mincy for the same offense, and they appeared to have gotten off light in the opener against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Malzahn announced after the first training camp practice that neither Marshall nor Mincy will start for the Auburn Tigers in the season opener against Arkansas on August 30, per an report. How long they will remain out of the game is still up in the air.

“I’m not ready to say that yet,” the head coach said, according to ESPN.

“That’s part of their punishment. The rest is between us,” Malzahn added, hinting that additional punishment is being meted out away from the spotlight of the press and football fans.

“I will say this: Nick Marshall is still our quarterback and Jonathon Mincy is still our cornerback,” Malzahn said.

Police cited Marshall for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana during a traffic stop on Friday, July 11. This was just days before he was scheduled to appear at SEC Media Days.

Auburn’s drug policy requires no loss of playing time for the first positive test for marijuana but does require weekly testing and counseling sessions. A second positive test is supposed to result in suspension for half of a team’s competitive season, while a third positive test means dismissal from the team.

Marshall led the Tigers to a 12-2 season last season and an appearance in the final BCS Championship against the Florida State Seminoles, which was lost 34-31. The quarterback will be replaced in the opener by 6-foot-5 sophomore Jeremy Johnson, who threw for just 422 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions, mostly during mop up duty last season.

Marshall and Mincy not starting against the Razorbacks was the big news, but the greatest impact to the Auburn Tigers comes from losing pre-season All-SEC selection Alex Kozan for the entire season. The starting left guard injured his back while lifting weights during the summer.

Malzahn and the Auburn staff are now shuffling around the offensive line to find a lineup that works. According to ESPN’s Chris Low, the current plan is to slide starting right guard Chris Slade into Kozan’s spot and promote Avery Young into the starting right guard position after spending much of last season at the right tackle spot.

[Image via Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images]