Auburn QB Nick Marshall won't start opener against Arkansas

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Auburn won't open the season with quarterback Nick Marshall under center for the defending SEC champions, but they won't have to wait long before he trots out onto the field for the Tigers.

Head coach Gus Malzahn told reporters on Friday that Marshall would not start the game against Arkansas but that he would play in the game.

"Nick is still our starting quarterback," Malzahn said.

He did not elaborate to reporters as to how long Marshall would sit out. Sophomore Jeremy Johnson is in line to take the first snaps.

Marshall was cited for marijuana possession in Georgia on July 11, but had the case closed after his mother paid his fine. The signal-caller was scheduled to represent Auburn at SEC Media Days last month but the school scratched his appearance and handed out additional punishment to him that had been a mystery up until now.

The senior rushed for over 1,000 yards and passed for nearly double that last season as he led Auburn to a surprising turnaround that saw them make it all the way to the BCS National Championship Game. He was tabbed by the media as the preseason pick at quarterback on the All-SEC First Team and considered a key part of the team's run in 2014 with improvements in the passing game.

The quarterback won't be the only one who will be missing when the team kicks off against the Razorbacks either.

Malzahn added that cornerback Jonathon Mincy would not start the opener either. A three-year starter for the Tigers defense, he was arrested and charged with marijuana possession in June. Mincy was expected to fill the hole left by the departed Chris Davis in the secondary.

Starting offensive guard Alex Kozan will also not make the game against Arkansas but his situation is far more serious as Malzahn announced he would be out for the year after suffering a back injury that required surgery.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.

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