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July 14, 2014

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Auburn pulls Marshall from SEC media days lineup

One question surrounded Auburn on the eve of SEC media days Sunday night: Will quarterback Nick Marshall be in attendance come Monday afternoon? The answer came in an official release from the school's athletics department Sunday night: No. Just last week it was announced Marshall would be one of three Tigers to appear at media days. But that was before he received a pair of citations -- one for possession of marijuana less than an ounce and another for excessive window tint -- Friday afternoon in Reynolds, Ga. He was not arrested. He'll be sitting at home Monday, however, with C.J. Uzomah announced as his replacement. Uzomah, a senior tight end recently named to the Mackey Award watch list, will join Auburn's other two representatives, center Reese Dismukes and defensive tackle Gabe Wright. Malzahn did not comment on why he decided against bringing Marshall to media days. However, the release noted that the coach planned to address the situation at some point Monday. Marshall accounted for 3,044 yards (1,976 passing, 1,068 rushing) of total offense last season, helping the Tigers spearhead one of the greatest one-year turnarounds in NCAA history, as they went 12-2, won the SEC title and came within 13 seconds of capturing a national championship. Returning for his second season as Auburn's starting quarterback, Marshall was pulled over at 12:45 p.m. on Friday on Georgia Highway 96 East. According to Reynolds police chief Lonnie Holder, the stop occurred because of a "window tint" violation on a purple Dodge Charger that Marshall was driving. "Upon approaching the vehicle, the officer detected an odor of marijuana," Holder said, noting Marshall was the only person in the vehicle. "At that time, a consent to search the vehicle was requested and granted." Asked where the marijuana was located, Marshall informed the officer it was above his visor. Holder said the amount of marijuana on Marshall came out to "eight or nine grams." A court date was set for Sept. 10 at 10 a.m., though Holder said Marshall will not have to appear if he pays the fines for the citations beforehand. But he isn't the only Auburn player to run into trouble recently. Fellow senior Jonathon Mincy finds himself in a similar bind. Like Marshall, he was recently found in possession of marijuana by law enforcement. Unlike Marshall, Mincy was arrested for having more than an ounce on his person. And while Malzahn at least released a short statement on Marshall's indiscretion, there has been no word from him or anyone else in the athletic department on Mincy's June 27 arrest in Abbeville. These off-field issues overshadow what otherwise should be a joyous occasion for Auburn. As the defending SEC champions, the Tigers have the honor of being the first team to appear at this year's media days. And though Malzahn would never be so brash as to guarantee a repeat -- let alone even mention the possibility -- he was pleased how the team had progressed by the end of spring practice. Even so, he knew there was much fine-tuning to be done if the Tigers are to become the first team to win back-to-back SEC titles since Tennessee in 1997-98. "We have a lot of work to do," Malzahn said following the A-Day Game on April 19. "They understand that, but I think they have a good idea of our offense and our defense. I think they have the tools now to ... work and try to get better and improve by the next time we get together in fall camp."

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