Auburn, Ala.--With junior college transfer Chris Todd not available, Saturday's scrimmage was a golden opportunity for one of Auburn's three remaining quarterbacks to make something happen with extended playing time available.
While both Kodi Burns and Neil Caudle did some good things and also some not-so-good things, it may have been true freshman DeRon Furr that benefited the most of his opportunity to show what he can do. Although he completed just 3-5 passes for 26 yards, Furr ran the ball 10 times for another 57 yards and also showed the toughness that made him a state championship quarterback for Carver of Columbus just a few months ago.
Late in the scrimmage Furr ran to his right and got hit late by senior linebacker Merrill Johnson. Deciding he had to take up for himself, Furr jumped up and launched into Johnson on the sidelines before the two were separated. Furr said in his mind he had no choice but to stick up for himself.
"It was like a late hit,' Furr said. "I guess he didn't think I was going to get mad, but I got up and got mad. Usually quarterbacks don't do anything they just sit back and take it. I'm an aggressive quarterback. I'm not going to take anything from anybody."
Furr's 6-3, 220 frame makes for a physical runner when he's out of the pocket.
The play apparently caught the eye of his offensive teammates as the unit finished strong for a good day. Running back Brad Lester ran the ball 12 times for 44 yards and added two catches for 31 yards on the day. He said for him the story of the day was Furr.
"All of the quarterbacks looked good, but especially DeRon Furr," Lester said. "He looked real good. He was the only quarterback with full contact today and he came out and showed us a lot. He ran the ball real good. He's real mature to be a freshman.
"With him being a freshman we weren't going to take anything from the defense for hitting him late," Lester said. "We were going to look out for him. We're a family though so once it was all over we just went back to the scrimmage."
On the day both Burns and Caudle did some good things both throwing and running the ball. Finishing 22-37 for 162 yards with one touchdown, Burns was solid throwing the ball and didn't take too many chances into coverage. The sophomore said for him it was a day of good and bad.
"I feel like I came out and threw the ball pretty consistently," Burns said. "We had a lot of drops, but a lot of pad passes on my part too. For the most part we started off strong and started completing passes and getting into a rhythm. You can see the offense was clicking a little bit, but we've got a long way to go."
Neil Caudle seemed to get more comfortable with each play during Saturday's scrimmage.
The most productive quarterback on the day was Caudle. Completing 22-33 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns, the sophomore had lots of positive plays, but unfortunately several negative ones as well. He threw two interceptions and had at least two more right in the hands of defenders. Caudle said he wasn't happy with the way he performed, but it gives him something to build on.
"The whole offense did really well today," Caudle said. "We were really clicking. We had a few mistakes, but overall for the majority of stuff everything was open. I had a very sub par today. I had two interceptions and missed some open things, but I had some bright spots too. Overall I think we had a good day.
"I had a lot of fun out there," Caudle added. "I think everybody did. It's good getting out there and getting into a groove and working with the same guys. It's a lot better."
Getting into a groove is something all three of the quarterbacks did at different times on Saturday because of the offensive attack of Tony Franklin. Fast paced with a huge number of plays, the offense got untracked and played better the faster things went. Burns said that's something he likes about the offense is that each quarterback got a chance to get a lot of work, which should only help all of them improve their games as spring practice moves forward.
"It definitely helps because you can get in a rhythm," Burns said. "In practice we might go one rep and somebody else would get one rep. Out here I was going with the first team. I was getting rep after rep after rep. That allowed me to get into a rhythm and do real good."