Franklin: Some Good And Some Bad On Offense

Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin discusses the performance against Miss. State, the QB situation, red zone offense and more.

Auburn, Ala.--Looking back on an offensive game like the one Auburn played Saturday night is not much fun for anybody, but when you're offensive coordinator Tony Franklin it has to be especially hard. Totaling 315 yards of offense, the Tigers moved the ball at times but three fumbles and 12 penalties were too much to overcome Franklin said.

"Like always it's never as bad as it seems and it's never as good as it seems," Franklin said. "This time it wasn't nearly as bad as it seemed. The biggest thing is there were something like 14 penalties. It's hard to overcome that and three fumbles. Every time we seemed to get something going we would shoot ourselves in the foot. We've got to figure that out."

The first thing anyone looks at when an offense is struggling is at the quarterback position. That is particularly the case at Auburn where the Tigers had a battle between Chris Todd and Kodi Burns before the coaches went with Todd. Saturday night the junior college transfer played a solid game, completing 14-26 passes for 154 yards and no turnovers. Franklin said like the entire offense, Todd had his ups and downs

"It was some good and some bad," Franklin said. "The biggest thing is he made some plays to where when things broke down he made a play on his own. He made a couple of really good throws that were challenging throws that he was able to put in there. The biggest disappointment was just fundamentals. He reverted back to some fundamental things that caused him some problems early. He's got to fix those things this week."

Making plays is something that is Burns' specialty, especially in the running game. Saturday night Todd was a non-factor in the running game as the Bulldogs loaded up and made the Tigers throw deep to beat them. Franklin said Todd's decision-making in the running game has to improve because he's got to become at least a minimal threat to defenses in that department.

"It's important," Franklin said. "In this offense it helps for the quarterback to be able to run the football some. Chris has to do a little bit better job on his reads on some of the zone read stuff.

"He can be (effective)," he added. "He's not going to be like Kodi. It's not there so it's not going to happen that way, but he can be effective to where he makes people pay a price if they don't honor him and he's got to do that."

With Todd taking all the snaps the question remains about Burns. Will he become part of the offense or is he relegated to a true backup role for now. Franklin said it will depend on the situation or it may be a gut feeling in the coming weeks, but he wants Burns to play.

"I think it's almost always going to be a feel thing," Franklin said. "Kodi needs to play. We've got to find a way to do that. Whether it's this week or next week or every week or whatever, we just have to wait and see."

One area Burns could be helpful is in the red zone. This season Auburn has struggled with just five touchdowns in 13 trips inside the 20-yard line and have been relegated to mostly running the football in those situations. Franklin said right now the struggles have to do more with his play calling than what they Tigers are doing and he hopes to change that beginning this week.

"It's new for me," Franklin said. "I've never been bad in the red zone before. I think more than likely it's two things, one is mistakes and two is me. I have not done a good job in the red zone. I've got to do a better job of probably going back to my feel and my instinct towards probably more game planning. I've done more game planning here than I have instinct.

"Sometimes I forget that they still outnumber you even though you've got really good offensive linemen," he added. "Sometimes they outnumber you. When they outnumber you it doesn't matter."


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