Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Top Teams Keep Lid on QB Plans; COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Top Teams Keep Lid on QB Plans; COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Article excerpt

COLUMBIA, Mo. * They have the highest-ranked teams in the SEC and could be on another collision course for an Iron Bowl with national championship implications.

But Alabama's Nick Saban and Auburn's Gus Malzahn aren't prepared to disclose their quarterback plans for this weekend's season- opening games.

Saban hasn't indicated whether senior Blake Sims or junior Jake Coker will be his choice to start Saturday against West Virginia.

Malzahn will start sophomore Jeremy Johnson Saturday against Arkansas. Nick Marshall, a senior returning starter and the preseason first-team All-SEC quarterback, is being disciplined for his July citation for marijuana possession. Other than the game's opening series, it's unclear how Malzahn will juggle the two players.

Same goes for No. 13 LSU. Will it be sophomore Anthony Jennings or freshman Brandon Harris? Coach Les Miles seems to know, but he's not telling.

"There is a plan," Miles said during Wednesday's SEC conference call. "We're going to do those things that we feel like will benefit both quarterbacks and play them appropriately. It's not something that's without conception. We understand it. It's just not something I'm going to reveal. I don't think there's tremendous magic to it. We like both guys."

For the Tigers, there's been little separation between Jennings and Harris during preseason practices, Miles said. Jennings started one game last season, filling in for injured senior Zach Mettenberger in the Outback Bowl. Harris was the fifth-ranked dual- threat quarterback in the country by when he signed with LSU in February.

A reporter got under Saban's skin Wednesday when he suggested the more experienced quarterback in No. 2 Bama's case, Sims, a fifth- year senior would typically edge a less-seasoned player like Coker, who transferred this year from Florida State.

"That's so hypothetical," Saban snapped. "I don't answer hypothetical questions. Our situation here is our situation here. I've been very up front about how we're managing it, how I'm managing it, which I think is best for our team and our players. And that's all I care about. I don't care about 'typically' anything."

In his typical understated way, Malzahn has offered little of No. 6 Auburn's plan to play both Johnson and Marshall against the Razorbacks but he indicated this won't be Johnson's only action this season. …

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