Franklin Explains Decision To Go With Todd

Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin talks about his reasons for choosing Chris Todd as the starting quarterback.

Auburn, Ala.--In the end a decision had to be made. It was one that Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin thought he could put off, but in an offense based so much on timing and rhythm two quarterbacks didn't turn out to be the solution. Because of that Franklin decided to go with one and junior Chris Todd got the nod after a solid performance on Saturday.

"Chris will be the starter," Franklin said. "He did a good job. He's done a good job all along. The biggest thing with him was trying to find out whether his arm was going to work or not and then let him get back in and play. He's done a good job all the way through. It's not a one game decision. It's a decision based on a cumulative amount of work. The result of that was a nice performance on Saturday."

Locked in a battle with Kodi Burns since spring practice, Todd has served as part-time coach in addition to playing quarterback since he arrived because of his familiarity with Franklin's offense dating back to high school at Elizabethtown, Ken. Not the greatest runner out of the pocket, Todd is athletic enough to make plays and that's something that Franklin said when added to his strengths made Todd the choice in his mind.

"It has been close," Franklin said. "There are some things he does that are better, some of the intangibles as a quarterback. He's been a really good vocal leader all the way through. Through all of the stuff we've charted he's taken care of the ball a little bit better with the interception ratio. He has a more natural feel in the pocket, which is very important to me to be able to call plays.

"He showed that the other day with his ability to make plays. There are a lot of great quarterbacks in the NFL, not a lot, but a couple of great quarterbacks in the NFL that make plays that can't run. They make plays with their feet inside the confines of the pocket. That's what he does well and he's got a natural feel for it."

In the season opener against ULM, Burns got the start with Todd alternating every series. While it worked well in concept on the practice field and even in scrimmages, in the game it proved to be more than the offense or quarterbacks could handle. Franklin said now they'll focus on Todd in practices with Burns keeping ready and still a part of things for each game.

"He'll get a majority of the reps and Kodi will get enough of the reps so that he can be effective," Franklin said. "It definitely allows you to progress more as far as somebody getting more accustomed to working with the receivers more as far as throwing every different type of route.

"It has been a very difficult thing for me because I thought I could do it and I proved I couldn't. I think history has probably proven it too time and time again. You need to pick somebody and play them and have a backup. Hopefully the backup comes off the bench and is ready to play and can make plays for you. If the other guy ever goes down he's ready to go."

With so much of the offense built around the quarterbacks and receivers developing timing and a feel in the passing game, one of the benefits of playing one quarterback is that bond that forms with each passing rep. Franklin said he expects the throwing and catching to improve as Todd settles in as the starter this week.

"I don't think there's any doubt it will get better," Franklin said. "I think the rhythm will be better. Repetition is the mother of skill and that position requires a lot of repetition. I don't think there's any doubt we should get better because of that."

Two games into the 2008 season Auburn is currently averaging 30.5 points and 393 yards of total offense per game. While things are far from a finished product under Franklin, Auburn managed to score more points and gain more yards than that just three times in the regular season last year. Now heading into SEC play at Mississippi State the Tigers are looking for improvement.

"I think we're okay," Franklin said. "We're not real good and we're not real bad. We're just kind of okay. We're getting better. We were a lot better this week than we were last week. The reason I think was because of the details. I did a lot better job this week of making sure I didn't screw things up and paying attention to details. We got a lot better this week and I think every week now will continue to get better. Hopefully the results will be good. We just have to get to where we're more efficient in scoring."


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