Auburn, Ala.--It was hard to find much to be happy about on the offensive side of the ball coming out of Auburn's first scrimmage of the preseason but one thing that everyone seemed to talk about was the play of true freshman quarterback Kodi Burns. Locked in a battle for the backup job along with Blake Field, Neil Caudle and Steven Ensminger, Burns helped himself tremendously with several big plays Saturday morning and says he feels good about what he did on the field.
"I think it went okay," Burns says. "I don't want to say it did good because I didn't stay in the pocket as much as I wanted to. That's my first time being out there so it was a little bit different. It was a different speed but overall I got used to it. As the scrimmage went on I got a little more comfortable.
"I feel better about the scrimmage because in practice I really couldn't do what I wanted to do," he adds. "Now after the scrimmage I feel like I've got a little bit more respect from my teammates about what I can do."
In a change from normal procedure, all of the quarterbacks with the exception of Brandon Cox were made live targets for the defense in Saturday's scrimmage. That led to a shoulder injury for redshirt freshman Neil Caudle and was a little different for most but for Burns it was something he's been waiting on.
"It was a lot better," Burns says. "I went to my assistant QB Coach (Offensive Grad Assistant Joe Hollis) and asked him if I could get a different jersey because I was sick of not being able to get hit. I was sick of everybody saying ‘we had you down, we had you down' in practice when they really didn't. I was just ready to get a jersey and go out there and be able to get hit and find out what it's really like.
"It's nothing like a game but it's the closest thing to a game," he adds. "I think I showed what I can do. Also with a lot more reps I know I can be a lot better. That's what it's all about. In this scrimmage I got a lot more reps than I do in practice. I feel like the more reps I get the better I get."
While his legs were the most impressive part of his day for his teammates with the Arkansas native ripping off a pair of 30+ yard runs, Burns says his big pass play of around 35 yards to teammate and roommate Quindarius Carr was something he was proud of because of how it happened.
"There were some big plays but I was looking to pass first," Burns says. "A guy got loose so I had to get around him and stay in the pocket. I stepped up and I saw him coming over on the post. I just kind of pointed my hand. That's my roommate so we already knew what to do. I just let it go up there and let him make a play."
With his first scrimmage under his belt, Burns says that he's not concerning himself with the quarterback race or trying to win the backup job. He says if he keeps learning and improving then everything will take care of itself in the end.
"I'm just trying to go out there and compete," Burns says. "Everybody wants to play and I definitely want to play. I feel like if I go out there and compete in practice every day and try to lead my team in the huddle then Coach (Al) Borges will look at that and Coach Tubs (Tommy Tuberville) and they'll make their evaluation."