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    Marshall Law: No sure things at quarterback

    June 23, 2013

    Maybe Nick Marshall, like Auburn's last junior college transfer quarterback, will be an instant star and lead the Tigers to a big season.

    And maybe not.

    Maybe Marshall will be Auburn's starting quarterback against Washington State on Aug. 31 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

    And maybe not.

    Maybe, even if he doesn't start the opener, Marshall will be Auburn's starter before season's end.

    And maybe not.

    Lots of high expectations are being heaped on the shoulders of a player who has never taken a snap from center at a level higher than junior college. And it really isn't fair to him. Looking for the next Cam Newton will almost certainly end up in disappointment. There isn't but one of those.

    We know that Marshall is an elite athlete. We know he has a strong arm and can run like a wide receiver. We know he was talented enough to play in 13 games as a freshman Georgia defensive back in 2011. We know he was a Georgia high school legend at Wilcox County.

    Those things certainly matter, but none of those things mean he is going to beat out Kiehl Frazier or Jonathan Wallace or even freshman Jeremy Johnson. And even if he does, none of those things mean he will be ready to win big from the jump in the Southeastern Conference.

    It won't be easy to beat out Frazier and/or Wallace, who have been through the SEC grinder. Who knows about Johnson, an elite athlete in his own right? Marshall has less than 10 weeks to learn the offense and earn the respect of teammates going into preseason practice. And then he'll have probably two weeks to show he can execute at the high speed required in Gus Malzahn's offense at a high level.

    No one, not Marshall or Malzahn or offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, knows how long it will take for that to happen.

    "I hope people will kind of calm down those expectations," Lashlee said. "... He's one of four guys, and all four guys are going to get a fair and equal shot at the job. Nick and Jeremy are new coming into it, so they are behind."

    It won't be good for anyone for expectations to get so high that being good won't be good enough for Marshall, that only being great from Game 1 will do.

    Marshall is a good player and a great athlete with a chance to be a great player. Is he ready to play quarterback and win in the shark-infested waters of the SEC?

    Time will tell.


    Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for Follow Marshall on Twitter:


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