Burns Hoping To Make The Most Of Opportunity

Auburn quarterback Kodi Burns talks about being the starter heading to West Virginia.

Auburn, Ala.--For Auburn sophomore quarterback Kodi Burns his first season and a half as a Tiger have been essentially as the second quarterback, first behind Brandon Cox and then Chris Todd. While he's started games before it has never been as the main quarterback.

This time things are different. With Todd's arm bothering him and the offense sputtering, the Tigers have turned to Burns to run the show. Getting the nod from coach Tommy Tuberville, Burns says it gives him a feeling that he finally is getting a chance to show what he can do and it has started in practices this week.

"It means a lot," Burns says. "It shows they have confidence in me. Now that I see that I can go out and actually play my game and not have to worry too much about what is going to happen if I make a mistake. It kind of gives you the mindset that you can go out there and play and not worry.

"Since they told me I'm the guy you kind of look at it in a different mindset now," he adds. "You have to take over that role and no matter what happens you have to be the head of the team and try to do a lot better than I've been doing. The guys have noticed that I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing."

Several offensive players have mentioned a change in Burns' demeanor this week now that he's the starter. From confidence on the field to a leadership role, Burns says it's just different when you know it's your job.

"Always in your head if you're not the guy you don't know what is going to happen if you make a mistake, you feel like something is going to happen," Burns says. "Now that they've given me this opportunity you feel more comfortable and just able to go out there and play your game."

While Burns has played on and off for almost two full seasons, he is still in the learning stages of being an SEC quarterback. He says that for him just being on the field is making him a better player each time out.

"It's definitely a learning process," Burns says. "All year I've kind of sat back and got second-hand reps to Chris. Now that they've put me in there I've got a lot of catching up to do being out there on the field and actually being in the game. I've got a lot of catching up to do. I think I can do it."

Another difference in Burns is in coaching as Steve Ensminger has taken over the role of offensive coordinator and quarterback coach since the firing of Tony Franklin. Burns says so far the relationship with his new coach is going well and working out for the team.

"Coach Ensminger is kind of a different coach," Burns says. "Each person has their own style. We've been going about our business practicing and watching film just like we always do.

"He's just different in his own way," he adds. "He coaches different. He's pretty much fired up like coach Franklin was. Coach Ensminger stresses to get the ball to the right people in every situation. We've got to make sure we make the right reads every time."

Both Tuberville and Burns insist the offense isn't going to change much in the way of what the Tigers are doing. The quarterback says the Tigers will still be in the shotgun and running the spread but he adds he feels like they've got a better idea of what to do on offense heading into West Virginia.

"I think the coaches have a good plan going into this game," Burns says. "I think we're going to have an identity on offense. The biggest thing is we weren't completing the money downs. You can't play offense like that. When you've got third and short and third and medium you've got to complete on those downs….that's one of the big things we've got to improve on."

Improvement is definitely the key word for the Auburn offense. Struggling to move the ball and score points, the entire offense is to blame but as usual the focus falls on the quarterback. That means extra pressure on Burns but he says right now he's just happy to be getting a shot to get the Tigers back on track.

"It's just a relief to know that I'm the guy and hopefully I can go out there and lead my team to a victory."

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