Burns: Play or Redshirt?

Kodi Burns, a five-star prospect and the fifth-rated QB in the country by Scout.com, is the most highly-rated incoming quarterback at Auburn since Jason Campbell in 2001. Burns' role on the Auburn football team will likely be determined between now and the Sept. 1 opener against Kansas State.

Auburn, Ala.--To play or not to play, that is the question for incoming freshman Kodi Burns.

Brandon Cox, but the Tigers struggled offensively in 2006 when there were problems on the offensive line and Cox's mobility was limited due to injuries.

Coordinator Al Borges and the Auburn offense could have a change of pace with the fleet-footed Burns, but unless he can have a significant enough impact as the backup to affect wins and losses in 2007 then he would be headed for a redshirt season.

"It's out in the air right now," Burns says. "I'm going to try my hardest to compete during two-a-days. They're going to select the backup quarterback sometime during two-a-days so all I can really do is going out there and compete. It's not going to be handed to me.

\ "I'm competing just like all of the other quarterbacks, but at the same time I think I have a different element that if everything breaks down I'll be able to take off and run," Burns notes.

"I definitely want to play," he continues, "but if I redshirt that could be equally good. Redshirting is not always a bad thing. It gives you an extra year to get bigger, faster, stronger and also to learn the offense and be ready coming out of the redshirt year. I wouldn't be disappointed, but everybody wants to play. It could go either way."

The freshman takes a pointer from the senior, Brandon Cox.

Not only will Burns have to beat out junior Blake Field and redshirt freshmen Steven Ensminger and Neil Caudle, he'll also have to prove that he's good enough in certain situations to be better for the game plan than Cox. Because of his athleticism in addition to his strong, accurate arm, Burns could be used in a Tim Tebow-type role and be effective in short-yardage situations.

The 6-1, 205 QB from Northside High School in Fort Smith, Ark., has been on campus for the better part of the summer learning the offensive and going through voluntary workouts with the upperclassmen.

"I feel like I've learned a lot," Burns explains, "but at the same time it's a different speed of game. As far as knowing the plays it's going to take a little bit of time. That's probably the main thing that's holding me back.

"I've been learning the playbook and going over the offense," he says. "It's pretty difficult, but as long I get repetitions and I keep doing it, study the play book, I think it will come to me."

Freshmen, along with some of the returning members of the team, begin practice on Thursday at 10 a.m. on the intramural fields.

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