Malzahn expects QB Sean White to be ready for Texas A&M
White played most of the game against No. 19 Mississippi despite being questionable a few hours before kickoff because of a left knee injury. The Tigers took some of the load off the redshirt freshman by shuffling in backup Jeremy Johnson and Wildcat quarterback Kerryon Johnson at times.
''He's still a little banged up, but we expect him to play,'' Malzahn said Tuesday. ''He showed a lot of guts and a lot of toughness because we really were prepared for him not to play, and we got there in pre-game and he was very determined: `I'm ready to go. I can do it.' It's still a little sore but we expect him to play this week.''
White barely practiced leading up to the last game and played wearing a knee brace after an injury sustained in the fourth quarter against Arkansas.
Johnson, who started the first three games, got his most significant action since losing the job to White.
He had one of Auburn's bigger plays, completing a 44-yard pass to Tony Stevens after lining up at receiver to set up a fourth-quarter field goal. But that throw and his other attempt other than a last-play Hail Mary try were thrown into double coverage.
Those are the kind of risky throws that caused Johnson to get intercepted five times early in the season. Malzahn said on the throw to Stevens, Johnson ''put it about where it could only be.''
He still has faith in the quarterback many thought would be one of the Southeastern Conference's better passers.
''I'll say this: We've got confidence in Jeremy,'' Malzahn said. ''Jeremy has practiced better and well and all that. If he's got to play, he's going to play well. That's our mindset and I know that's his mindset.''
In the meantime, quarterback-turned-receiver Jonathan Wallace is also getting some practice snaps at his old position just in case.
The Tigers' only other quarterback, freshman Tyler Queen, is out for the season after elbow surgery.
White and Auburn face the SEC's sack leader, Aggies defensive end Myles Garrett, on the road Saturday.
White's willingness to tough it out against the Rebels made an impression on his teammates and Malzahn.
''We already knew he was a tough guy,'' Auburn left tackle Shon Coleman said. ''For him to go out there and take a couple of those big hits, and still get up from that, it shows a lot of character. He is a very tough guy.''