Auburn, Ala.--For junior quarterback Blake Field the 2007 season has been one of frustration. Expecting to be the back up quarterback behind Brandon Cox coming into the year, he instead was forced into the third spot when the Tigers pulled the redshirt off talented true freshman Kodi Burns during the Mississippi State game.
Since that time the Tigers have gone exclusive with Burns in the number two spot with Field watching and waiting for a chance to show his stuff. Saturday against Tennessee Tech Field got his chance and offensive coordinator and QB Coach Al Borges says he made the most of his opportunity.
"Blake played really well," Borges says. "He had an exceptional game. He was very composed and made some great throws. He's earned that right. We'll still play him (Kodi) in spots. Blake is the number two quarterback."
Finishing the game 6-11 with 92 yards and a touchdown pass to Robert Dunn, Field had a solid day throwing the football and also running the team. Borges says it wasn't perfect, but it showed him that Field deserves a shot to be second in line for the time being.
"He did a good job," Borges says. "He made one mistake. He threw one ball he shouldn't have thrown. He turned down an open guy. That aside, he made some beautiful throws and had a really good game."
The reason for Field's promotion has as much to do with his play as it does with Burns' disappointing outing on Saturday. Looking off from the beginning, Burns failed to complete a pass and was wildly inaccurate on several throws. Borges says they just need some time to work with him to shore up some mechanical problems and in the meantime Field is a guy that like as the back up.
"Kodi is going to be fine, he just needs some time to work on his fundamentals," Borges says. "He's got a good arm and he's smart. His decision making in terms of where to go with the ball, he didn't miss a beat. We've just got to work with him a little more on the fundamental aspects of passing. I think if we had a spring ball with him he would be farther along right now. He's going to be a good football player. I'm not worried about Kodi Burns. It's just right now, for our purposes, Blake is playing better so that's why we're going with him."
For Field things aren't quite as cut and dried. Impressive at times in his career at Auburn, he has also been erratic at times at practice. One thing you can't question is his talent level though. Blessed with a strong arm and surprising quickness, Field says he has continued to work and hopes it is finally paying off.
"I have been working for my chance every single season," Field says. "Ever since I came into this place, Coach Borges was my first college quarterback coach, and he still is. He told us to practice like we're the number one. That's what we've always been taught and that's what we're going to keep doing."
Field admits that the hard work was tough to put in at times this season, particularly after Burns was inserted into the game in front of him early in the season. Although he was down and went through four or five weeks without getting many snaps in practice, Field says he just kept doing what he does best and good things happened.
"After that first game (Mississippi State) I was really disappointed and down for a little while," Field says. "Coach Borges told me to keep my head up and keep going. Coach (Steve) Ensminger, my recruiting coach, told me the same thing. That's what I've always been known for is a great work ethic. They just told me to keep driving. My dad always told me the same thing.
"I want to say after the second game it was probably about four or five weeks that I went without practicing," Field adds. "That's when I was down a lot. I have gotten all that behind me. That's the past. Forget about it and move on."