By JOEL COLEMAN
The quarterback situation at Auburn might have changed earlier this week, but Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen says the Bulldogs aren’t scrambling to adjust.
Wednesday, in Mullen’s weekly appearance on the Southeastern Conference coaches’ teleconference, MSU’s seventh-year leader spoke of Auburn coach Gus Malzahn’s decision to switch signal callers from Jeremy Johnson to redshirt freshman Sean White ahead of Saturday’s game between the two schools.
“It doesn’t change our game plan at all really,” Mullen said. “I haven’t seen (White) play. I think this will be his first action ever. So I don’t know how it affects them, but for us, we just have to go out there and play hard and it’s not going to change anything we do.”
When White takes the field for the Tigers on Saturday, it will serve as his collegiate debut. White came to Auburn after an outstanding prep career at University School at Nova South in Boca Raton, Florida. In his senior year of high school, White passed for 2, 679 yards and 30 touchdowns before going on to earn most valuable player honors in the Under Armour All-American Game.
White gets his opportunity at Auburn after Johnson’s struggles through the early portion of this season. In the Tigers’ first three games, Johnson completed 43 of his 72 pass attempts for 473 yards and five touchdowns, but also threw six interceptions.
Malzahn said on Wednesday that it wasn’t an easy decision to bench Johnson.
“Anytime you make a quarterback change, it’s extremely tough,” Malzahn said. “We’re just encouraging Jeremy to keep working and we really expect him to. He’s got a lot of champion in him and we’re going to be there to support him.”
Johnson was voted a preseason All-SEC second-team selection by league media at SEC Media Days in July. Malzahn says there is no one singular thing that has resulted in Johnson not living up to the hype.
“I think it was a little bit of a lot of things,” Malzahn said. “I would say (there was a loss of) confidence, no doubt. But it was just a little of everything. We felt like it was time to make a change and go to Sean White and give him an opportunity. We really feel like Sean has earned that right also. Jeremy will keep working and Jeremy will be just fine.”