Auburn QB Todd Talks Tempo

Auburn junior quarterback Chris Todd talks about the importance of tempo and trying to find that with the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--The first six weeks have been a trying time for Auburn's offense under coordinator Tony Franklin. In the first season of his spread attack the Tigers have struggled to move the football and score points much of the season.

There are many reasons for that such as turnovers, penalties, missed assignments and poor play. Because of all of the above the Tigers are coming off a loss at Vanderbilt for a definite low point of the season to this point. Because of that Franklin has gotten back to the basics in practice this week and that means focusing on tempo and details of his offense heading into Saturday's game against Arkansas.

"He's definitely been out there trying to get on it and get things going," quarterback Chris Todd says. "I thought we had a good pace at practice and there were a lot of good things. I think we're making some strides and I thought it was really productive."

Tempo has been the key term for Franklin's offense since he arrived and played a big role in Auburn's win over Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but so far this season it has yet to emerge. Against Clemson the Tigers ran 90 offensive plays for a total of 423 yards in the 23-20 victory. This season they've yet to come close to those kinds of numbers due to a lack of continuity on offense and the new clock rules as well possibly taking some of the plays away.

The most plays Auburn has run this season was 75 in the second game against Southern Miss for a total of 380 yards. It's also not surprising that the Tigers threw the ball 34 times against the Golden Eagles for 248 yards, a key to success in Franklin's offense. With 15 plays less on its best day, Todd says the 2008 offense has worked to get that tempo back this week in practice and he notes while it's an offensive problem it's up to the quarterbacks to make sure it happens.

"We've done it at certain times, but we've got to get better at it," Todd says. "That's pretty much on us. As a quarterback you've got to get everybody going and lined up."

Todd, who has started five of Auburn's six games this year, adds, "You've got to be in charge of getting everybody going. The thing that helps that is practicing like that every day and being fast and getting in shape for it. You kind of have to take it on you shoulders as a quarterback to get everybody going."

That tempo is something that helped Auburn in the bowl game and also Troy in the previous two seasons under Franklin control the game in the second half. That's something the Tigers are looking for and Todd says it's important to get that tempo back to give the offense an edge.

"I think that will definitely be a good thing," Todd says. "It's something that will definitely work for us. It was good.

"Everybody has to be full speed going at it all the time," he points out. "You kind of have to know what you're doing because you don't have a lot of time to think about it. You try to simplify it and keep a good pace and tempo to everything."

Simplification is something else both Franklin and Tommy Tuberville have mentioned when talking about the offense in recent weeks. While you still need to do enough to give yourself a chance to win, an offense must also be able to execute what is called for the play to have a chance at success. Todd says because of that cutting things down to a manageable level is huge for the offense.

"It's real important," Todd says. "You can have one guy off on a play and it can mess a lot of things up. To have everybody on the same page, especially when you're at a fast pace, it's real important for everybody to have their minds right and doing the right things."

This week Auburn will have the chance to sharpen things on offense against the worst statistical defense in the SEC. The numbers for Arkansas have been inflated with Alabama, Texas and Florida on the schedule for the last three games though and Todd says Auburn will not doubt the Razorback defense.

"They do a lot of good things," he says. "The D coordinator has good schemes. They're playing a lot of young guys, but they've got some great athletes over there. They've got some good players on that side of the ball."

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