Tuberville Focuses On Quarterback Decision

Auburn's Tommy Tuberville talks about the decision to name Chris Todd the starter and how Kodi Burns is handling it.

Auburn, Ala.--The battle for the starting quarterback position at Auburn is over for this week as Saturday's performance by Chris Todd vaulted him into the number one spot ahead of Kodi Burns. Running the show, Todd led Auburn on five scoring drives and had two more end in fumbles inside the red zone. Coach Tommy Tuberville said even though Todd is the starter, he's not down on Burns and he thinks the sophomore will be ready when called upon.

"He's done good," Tuberville said. "Kodi is a competitor. He's concerned and I'm glad. Like I told him, I want him to go out there and fight like heck because one play could change everything just like that. He knows that. I want the quarterbacks here to be very competitive and also be team players. He's always been that.

"He's been supportive of Chris and Chris of him. You've got to move on. We're going into the conference. He's been a big part of what we've been doing and he'll continue that. That's not to say in a couple of week's he's not the starter. That's how the business goes."

Burns and Tuberville talk during preseason practice.

Burns came to Tuberville to talk about the decision to name Todd the starter. Tuberville said while some might view that as a problem, he said that it's nothing out of the ordinary and it's happened more than once in the past while at Auburn. P> "It's not just quarterbacks it's running backs," Tuberville said. "I've had Ronnie Brown and Carnell (Carnell Williams) in my office. I've had them all. When you're competitive you want to play. It's not complaining. It's ‘what do I need to do to get better? Where am I at in your eyes? What do I need to do?'

"For me I always talk about leadership roles. Him and Chris have been good in that. They've both taken that and run with it. Quarterbacks are so visual. Everybody sees what they do every snap. Kodi is a competitor. He's going to be there. Whether he's playing or not playing he's always into it."

While Todd has been pretty productive in the passing game at 30-49 (61.2 percent) for 318 yards with one touchdown and one interception on the season, Burns hasn't fared as well at 4-14 for 14 yards with an interception. Tuberville said those numbers done always tell the story on how a quarterback plays and what he brings to the table. Burns has added 68 rushing yards and a touchdown on just eight attempts, but Tuberville said those figures alone don't make Burns just a running quarterback.

"We're not going to stereotype him as a guy that is just going to go out there and run the ball," Tuberville said. "Kodi's passing has gotten much better. His numbers were as good in scrimmages as Chris'. Unfortunately when you play two games and a lot of times the ball bounces your way like winning the game.

"It bounced Chris' way. He made some plays. Kodi went out there in a situation when a couple of blocks were missed. It looks like Kodi is not doing his job, but it's the bounce of the ball. The players really like both of them. They'll rally behind whoever is out there."

During the spring and summer Tuberville took the time to talk to coaches around the country running the spread offense. One of those was Oregon's Mike Bellotti. Last season Bellotti saw his chances for a national championship go down the drain when he lost his starting quarterback and didn't have a capable replacement. Tuberville said they'll continue to prepare Burns and give him playing time because you never know when he'll be needed this season.

"Chris and Kodi help each other out and they work together," Tuberville said. "You can only have one quarterback on the field at one time. This is a volatile offense for a quarterback. They are going to get hit and run the ball. Like I told Kodi, you've got to wait for your opportunity."

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