Freshman QB Burns Upbeat About New Offense

Quarterback Kodi Burns discusses his team's offensive transition as the Tigers prepare for a bowl date vs. Clemson.

Atlanta, Ga.--Freshman quarterback Kodi Burns says he likes what he has seen of the new offensive system that coordinator Tony Franklin is bringing to the Auburn football team.

Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville hired Franklin earlier this month to install a spread offensive system to replace the West Coast Offense the Tigers have run the past four seasons. Franklin directed the attack at Troy University the past two seasons with quarterback Omar Haugabook putting up impressive numbers and has joined the AU team for its practices in preparation for the New Year Eve Chick-fil-A Bowl game.

"I have got to see Troy play a couple of times," Burns says. "My brother, who played at Arkansas State, played Troy a lot and I have been watching film of that and of Coach Franklin. Omar Haugabook is a real good quarterback. I see that he runs and passes well, which fits my talents."

Burns, a 6-1, 200-pounder from Northside High in Fort Smith, Ark., played in eight games for the Tigers this year and started against New Mexico State. He completed 9-22 passes for 123 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The true freshman ran the football 41 times for 134 yards and two scores.

"I am definitely excited about the offense," Burns says. "It is a modern spread offense. I think what it does is use everybody on the offense. It is not just three or four guys getting the ball. The quarterback spreads it around and he also runs the ball, too. I think that it is going to help us in the long run."

Burns notes the quarterback will be trying to find favorable one-on-one matchups vs. defenders. "It is about making plays, getting the ball to your playmakers in open space and let them go make a play," he says. "It also allows you to make a play with your feet if anything breaks down."

Brandon Cox, Auburn's fifth-year senior, three-year starter at QB, is scheduled to start Monday's Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Clemson. However, Burns could see some playing time vs. the ACC team.

"Me and (Cox) switch off a lot," Burns says. "Coach Franklin wants to do a few things with me and a lot of things with Brandon so I think him playing two quarterbacks gives him a better look in the game and practice."

Kodi Burns is shown in action vs. New Mexico State.

Burns points out that Auburn's new offense is similar to what he ran at Northside High School. "It is pretty much a lot of the same terminology we ran in high school--a little bit more complex, but a lot of the same stuff despite the no huddle that we do here, which is a lot of fast-paced stuff. I think that I am used to this offense because I ran it in high school. I think I will be able to adapt to it pretty good."

With one junior college signee who Franklin wanted to sign (Chris Todd), two verbal commitments from high school seniors (DeRon Furr and Barrett Trotter) and two other quarterbacks (Neil Caudle and Blake Field) on the roster not counting Cox, who is wrapping up his college career in the bowl game, there are plenty of candidates to be the starter in 2008.

"It is a big business," Burns says. "You have got to put the best guy on the field that gives them a chance to win. I am pretty sure Coach Franklin has kids and has to feed his wife and things like that. It is a business. I mean, they are not playing favorites--not doing anything like that. They are going to be putting the best player on the field. Regardless of how many quarterbacks that are coming, I have just got to give it my best shot."

Burns says he isn't sure how much of the new offense and how much of the old offense the Tigers will run vs. Clemson. "I guess it is Coach Tubs' and Coach Franklin's call," he says. "We are kind of mixing both of them in there so you could see a lot of the new offense and you could possibly see the old offense. It is really up to the coaches."

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