Burns Looking For Improvement In Preseason

Auburn quarterback Kodi Burns talks about the start of fall practice and his take on how his passing is coming along.

Auburn, Ala.--The quarterback battle is already in full swing at Auburn as sophomore Kodi Burns and junior Chris Todd are locked in a tussle to see who will be the opening day starter for the Tigers.

The first three practices of preseason made it clear that both players have made significant strides since the first practice of the spring and Burns says he saw that immediately from himself and the team as a whole.

"We improved as a team," Burns says "I think I did pretty good individually. Overall as a team I think we got a lot better."

Struggling with his passing as a true freshman, Burns had very little confidence or rhythm in his game at the end of last season as the Tigers prepared to play Clemson in a bowl game. That's when Tony Franklin came on board.

Working with Burns on his mechanics, Franklin made an immediate impact on Burns and it carried over to spring practice. Burns says now that the fall has started he feels like's picked up where he left off.

"I felt really good about it," Burns says. "Coming out here I'm still a little rusty, but everybody is a little rusty and a little off. It's the first time we've been out with the linemen and a defense together. We started off rusty, but things picked up."

One of the biggest question marks surrounding the QB competition is the health of Todd's throwing shoulder. Bothered in spring practice, Franklin says the coaches are going to be careful this preseason with both quarterbacks to ensure they are as healthy as possible heading into the new season.

"The good thing is the way we're rotating them they are both probably going to end up with somewhere around 200 (passes) a day," Franklin says. "I think they both can handle it. We're just trying to not get any more than that."

Even with an eye on the number of reps, there is no way to avoid being tired if you're an offensive player at Auburn. Fast-paced doesn't even begin to describe the practice sessions under Franklin's guidance, something Burns says the veterans are making sure the incoming freshmen understand every day on the field.

"They're not used to that tempo," Burns notes. "It's hot out here. We ran in the summer and did some skelly, but now it's full swing. It's a little different for the younger guys but we've got to grab them by the hand and help them out because some of them will play."

As the Tigers gear up towards Wednesday and the first day in full pads, Burns points out that the quarterbacks hope to build on a solid first couple of days of throwing the ball to make sure the offense gets off on the right foot during two-a-days.

"We've worked hard in the summer," Burns says. "The biggest thing now is just timing. We've had a few dropped passes and some messed up routes, but overall we've gotten better. We've just got to work on the timing."

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