Defensive end Dee Ford (left knee injury) and “Star” Justin Garrett (left foot sprain), who both sat out against Washington State, were back at practice Monday. Naturally, it led to questions about their availability for this Saturday’s game.
Gus Malzahn kept his comments curt on the matter.
“We’re hoping,” Auburn’s head coach said.
The status of Jeff Whitaker isn’t as murky.
He’ll be out for an extended period of time after injuring his right knee and undergoing surgery last week. The senior defensive tackle was seen on crutches prior to kickoff last Saturday. At this point, Malzahn said Whitaker is week-to-week.
Contingent upon how much time he misses, Malzahn said pursuing a medical redshirt was a definite possibility.
“Hopefully we can get him back sooner rather than later but if that does happen, we’ll have that conversation,” he said. “We’ve not had that conversation yet. Jeff is a leader on our team, if not the leader, and he’s very important to us as a whole.”
Linebackers’ lack of influence doesn’t faze Malzahn
Auburn’s linebackers had a rough go of it versus Washington State – and that’s putting it lightly. The unit had only five total tackles, with four from Kris Frost and one courtesy of Cassanova McKinzy. Malzahn wasn’t worried, however.
He said it was more a function of the Cougars’ pass-happy offense than anything the linebackers did wrong.
“Sometimes when teams pass the ball as much as they did, it takes the linebackers kind of out of the game,” he said. “I think we’ll learn more as we go, the more we face running teams.”