Auburn, Ala.--After playing extensively early in the year with senior Brandon Cox and the Auburn offense struggling, true freshman Kodi Burns has been relegated to just a few plays a game in recent weeks as the Auburn offense has begun to play better.
Saturday was going to be his chance to shine though. Facing outmanned Tennessee Tech on homecoming, Burns would finally get a chance to play and not only running his special package of plays, but handling the Auburn offense. Things didn't work out so well for the Arkansas native though as he struggled throwing the football and failed to complete a pass. While he was noticeably not happy with his performance, Burns says it's just a process and he'll just keep working to get better.
"All week I did great in practice," Burns says. "I feel like I threw the ball well. When I got out there in the game it just felt weird. I have never been nervous, but for some reason I felt like I had to go out and prove myself. I didn't play the way I'm capable of. I know that and the people that know me know that. I'm down a little bit, but at the same time I know that's not the way I play so I'm not going to worry about it."
The huge majority of his snaps this season have come out of the spread sets that Coach Al Borges has employed to take advantage of his running ability. Saturday Burns got a chance to run Auburn's offense. Although the team didn't move the football with him in the game, Burns says he felt like his decision making was fine in the game.
"I knew who to go to and the guys were open," Burns says. "I made the right reads, but I just didn't get the ball to them. I came out and read like I was supposed to. I checked what I was supposed to. The throws just weren't there."
While Burns didn't play well, fellow back up Blake Field had a solid day running the offense, finishing with 92 yards passing and a touchdown on 6-11 passing. Redshirt freshman Neil Caudle also got some action in the game, giving four quarterbacks playing time in the same game.
Most have assumed that the job would just go to Burns next season because of his rapid rise up the depth chart this year. That's not a given at this point and Burns says it's not something he's even concerning himself with at the moment. All he cares about is improving as a player and winning football games.
"The competition is always there," Burns says. "Blake did outstanding. I'm proud of him. He did well. It's a team game and he's my teammate. It's a competition, but at the same time if he does good I'm happy for him. I'm really not worried about next year right now. I'm just worried about improving. I know that's not the way I play. I can play tons better."
Burns says that now the focus for the remainder of the season is to work on his mechanics and improve as a quarterback. While his last pop quiz didn't go well, the true freshman says he believes he put too much pressure on himself to perform and he just has to be ready the next time he's called upon.
"I just have to keep doing what I have been doing in practice," Burns says. "I know the nervousness will go away, but for some reason I knew since we were playing Tennessee Tech that I would be in there playing and running the offense. All week I have been thinking about that. In the hotel room I was thinking about that. It just dawned on me out there on the field, the chance to get to run the regular offense. I felt like I did terrible. I just have to improve."