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Thursday, August 13, 2009

More quarterback fallout from every angle

It's been a crazy night here at the Auburn athletic complex, one made tougher by a late practice and a tough deadline (read the full story in the post below), but let's try to sort through the facts, shall we?

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  • The coaches met to discuss the quarterback situation and decided to go with senior Chris Todd as the starter. The players were informed of the situation early in the day.
  • Head coach Gene Chizik was pleased with how things played out. "It was a tough day for everybody," he said. "They handled it like true pros, just with a lot of class."
  • Chizik cited Todd's experience as a major factor. "In the limited time he's been in this offense, he's shown the flashes that we needed to see," he said. "You can see that he's studied enough to do a nice job in this offense. He's got experience. He's played in the league. He's an older guy. There's no substitute for experience."
  • Chizik sounded confident in the durability of Todd's shoulder. "His shoulder feels good. He’s throwing the ball well. We had to narrow it down and we had to narrow it down sooner rather than later to get these repetitions built up."
  • Todd had no idea the news was coming so soon, or if he would even be the guy. "I really didn't know what to expect," he said. "I know what coach (Gus) Malzahn's expectations were and I know what he wanted to do, but I knew it'd be hard. I knew it would be a really short window of opportunity to win the job. So I knew I'd have to come out and compete hard early."
  • Everyone involved acknowledged that Todd has had an extremely bizarre career. "A resilient guy," Chizik said. "Has been through a lot. Worked every day, studied the game, studied the offense, even in the spring when he wasn't able to participate and was in the meetings and listening and trying to learn. But the reps are what matter and you can see that he studied enough to do a nice job in this offense."
  • Kodi Burns will move around to different positions to give Auburn a different look on offense, be it at wide receiver or as a Wildcat quarterback. "They just want to get the ball in my hands because the coaching staff really believes that I'm really athletic, I have a lot of things that I can do and help this team out," he said.
  • Burns sounded confident that this move IS NOT just for show. "My whole life I've never sat on the bench and I don't think I'm about to now," he said.
  • From all accounts, Burns took the news like a man. He asked to address the team after the decision was made. "I just told them that I love each and every one of them," he said. "We work together, we sweat together, we bleed together out there working out. I was the guy last year. And things change. Things change for the better most of the time. And things happen for a reason. Just like I said, Chris Todd is the quarterback and whether they wanted me or wanted another quarterback -- it doesn't matter. Chris is the guy. We have to get behind him. He's going to be a leader of this team. I'm also going to be a leader of this team as well."
  • Burns expressed disappointment, but he's not sulking and, from the sounds of it, is being the consummate teammate. "It was a little bit disappointing at first. Not a little bit. A lot," he said. "I'm really hurt by it, but you've got to move on. I'm mature enough to handle this. I spoke to the team about it. We're not going to be a divided team. We're all going to come together. I think this is going to make us a team. I think the Auburn Nation needs to get behind Chris as well."
  • Burns understood the pressure Chizik was under to make a decision. "Yeah, definitely. But that's why he gets paid the big bucks," he said. "They have to put the people on the field to give us the best chance to win, so he told me it was a really difficult decision, but ultimately we have to have a guy. We have to go with one."
  • Burns said he DOES NOT intend to transfer. "Not at all," he said. "I've been here two years. It's been a lot of ups and downs here at Auburn, and it's been a tough road. But I'm not the type of person who is going to run from it. I'm here. I love Auburn. I'm an Auburn guy. So even though things don't work out, I've got a lot to offer this team. Like I said, I'm still one of the leaders of the team and I'm going to do everything I can to help the team out."
  • Burns thought this year's situation was handled much better than last year with offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, who had Todd and Burns split series until the third week, dividing the team in the process. "I felt as if it was that way," Burns said. "It was a bunch of nonsense. Things weren't handled the right way. This year, the coaching staff came in and everything was fair."
  • Burns worked at the "2" spot, which is basically a slot receiver. "Really kind of a built in ready-made position for him if you're going to move him because obviously him knowing the passing game and running game," Chizik said. "Gives him one up. It's not like he hasn't heard it before. He knows where everyone's supposed to be. We have to teach him how to get there."
  • Asked if there was a possibility if Burns could redshirt, Chizik dodged the question. "One day at a time," he said. "Again, this is a really tough day for everybody. This is the day coaches don't like making these decisions because they're tough ones when you got great kids that do everything you ask them to do and they're all fighting their rear end for a job. I don't like those kind of days, but it's the nature of the beast."
  • Chizik DID NOT name a No. 2 quarterback. Freshman Tyrik Rollison will definitely be a factor there. "Tyrik is getting a lot of reps right now," he said. "We’re in the evaluation process and we’ve got to come up with an order of who we’re going to rep. We can’t keep repping five guys. We’re really repping Tyrik right now to see how fast he can come along. Obviously he wasn’t here in spring practice. He’s shown some flashes of being a very good quarterback just like he was in high school, but we need to know more."
  • I think it's pretty clear to everyone who Auburn is grooming as its future quarterback.
  • Neil Caudle was barely mentioned Thursday. I can't imagine that's a good sign for him being much of a factor this year or possibly ever at Auburn.
  • Bo Jackson addressed the team after practice. Here's photographic evidence. Only on a day where Auburn's starting quarterback was named would news that Bo Jackson was at practice appear this low on a blog post.


notabanker said...

My compliments to Kodi for being a true team player. It's a shame more athletes can't practice this sort of mentality.

Richard Lowe said...

Nice job on making the decision so early, and, in all honesty, with Tyrik on the roster, there was no way Kodi was going to outdo him over both the next two years.

Todd for '09, Tyrik '10 onwards.