Tuberville Talks Quarterbacks

Auburn's Tommy Tuberville talks about the quarterback situation and updates the injuries.

Auburn, Ala.--The burning question surrounding Auburn football was answered emphatically by coach Tommy Tuberville on Sunday when he named junior Chris Todd as the Tigers' starter heading into this weekend's showdown with Vanderbilt in Nashville. While Todd is still the starter, Tuberville said Kodi Burns showed some good things in his playing time against Tennessee.

"Chris will be our starter," Tuberville said. "I thought Kodi did good. He played 25 snaps. He made some mistakes. He came in and gave us an opportunity to get the fans all excited. He did make some athletic plays. The more he plays the better he's going to get and we need to get him in there. Still, you've got to have a starting quarterback and a backup.

"I'm proud of him," he added. "That third and five play was huge. He looked like he had been out there forever and made that play. It's just a step closer to him growing up…sometimes he just gets too excited and that's typical. That's his first real big game of the year. That first drive he was in there he made plays. He broke three tackles and made a first down. We've just got to get him in more of those situations and we will."

For the game Burns completed 4-6 passes for 36 yards and ran the ball eight times for 16 yards. By contrast Todd completed 14-23 tosses for 93 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also added six yards on two rushes. Tuberville said that Todd continues to be the best option for the Tigers all around.

"He made some plays too," Tuberville said. "He made some good throws. A lot of times you look at the quarterback if a play doesn't work and it looks like the quarterback's fault but it's not. We made a ton of mental mistakes outside yesterday with our receivers. If any other quarterback is in there it's the same situation.

"Chris is growing up and getting better too," he added. "I've always said it's good to have two guys that are competing and making each other better in practice."

Inserted into the lineup on Saturday late in the second quarter, Burns brought some life to Auburn's offense on a drive that ended with a Wes Byrum missed field goal from 35 yards out. Tuberville said the decision to put Burns into the game and give him some snaps was one that was agreed upon by he and Tony Franklin.

"It was kind of a mutual thing the first time," Tuberville said. "The second time I had nothing to do with it. I was talking to the defensive players and coaches. As a head coach you've got to look at the momentum of a game like trying to block a punt or fake a field goal. You've got to try to get the momentum back.

"I thought that was a good opportunity to change the momentum. I thought it did if we could have gotten three points out of it. We didn't quite do that. I think Kodi earns the respect of a defense pretty quick. I think it opens up for Chris when he comes back in. They've got to continue to make adjustments. I think it's going to be a good relationship."

Just how much action Burns sees remains to be seen but Tuberville said the things he brings to the table need to be utilized by the Auburn offense heading into a game against undefeated Vanderbilt.

"He'll get better," Tuberville said. "We would have liked to play him a little bit more and probably would have the second half if we had not been down on the five-yard line the whole time. We just couldn't get anything going."

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Byrum continues to struggle for the Tigers as his miss against the Vols was the third-straight inside 40 yards. For the season he is 5-9, a stat that Tuberville said makes for a different week for the kickers this week.

"I would think we would have a little competition out there," Tuberville said. "We'll have a competition. We just have to put more pressure on him. We may do more live rush, get a scout team and do some things. Get some people in front of him. Also do a little running if he doesn't make it."

On the injury front Tuberville said the Tigers should have the services of linebacker Tray Blackmon (hand), Tristan Davis (concussion) and Brad Lester (knee) this week against Vanderbilt. All three were held out of the Tennessee game. He added that Michael Goggans played 40 snaps on Saturday despite practicing just one day because of a sprained ankle.

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