Todd And Offense Making Progress

Auburn quarterback Chris Todd talks about the development of the offense.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn's first two games were a clinic in running the football as the Tigers pounded both Louisiana Tech and Mississippi State on the ground. Last weekend West Virginia was determined to not let that happen, instead choosing to stack the box with defenders and make Chris Todd beat them throwing the football.

That's exactly what happened as Todd completed 16-31 passes for 284 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Tigers to a 41-30 win over the Mountaineers. Todd said that while it's always fun to run over teams on the ground, he didn't mind having the game put on his shoulders Saturday night.

"It's always fun to get out there and throw the ball and wing it around a little bit," Todd said. "I think the receivers like catching some balls and doing some things. Tommy (Trott) caught a couple of balls and I was glad to see him get some catches. It's fun, but honestly we're all having so much fun out there. We'll all enjoying ourselves. Whatever way we're successful and can get in the end zone I'm happy with it either way."

Throwing the football 31 times is something that Todd could not have done with much success last season with his shoulder bothering him from the outset in 2008. After having surgery in the off-season and missing spring practice, Todd has come back and shown what he's capable of in the first three games of this season. Currently averaging 241.7 yards per game and with a pass efficiency rating of 152.1 this year, Todd has performed well and he said one of the reasons why is that he can once again trust his arm to make the plays when they're available.

"Being able to react to it and throw what I want to is the biggest difference," Todd said. "It's as much the mental aspect as the physical aspect. It helps me react and things happen so much smoother. Being able to get the ball out and stick it in some spots helps a lot."

While Todd has played well, he admits it has been far from perfect as does position coach and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. Completing just 53.8 percent of his passes this season, Todd has been a little off at times, but at times the receivers haven't helped him out either. Such is the life of a first-year offense, but Todd noted it hasn't lessened the expectations from Malzahn one bit.

"He gets pretty intense," Todd said. "A lot of times you have to listen to what he says and not how he says it during a game. He's kind of fired up just like everybody else is. He wants to win and that's good seeing passion in your coaches and seeing them want something as bad as you do. He's pretty fiery and if you make a mistake he lets you know about it, but he lets you know when you do something good too."

The good news for Todd is that things have been mostly good through three games and with winless Ball State coming in this weekend there is a good chance the Tigers will head to Knoxville to face Tennessee still undefeated. Todd said while wins are always the goal no matter the situation, he feels like this team has already learned a great deal about itself as it prepares to head into the meat of the schedule in the coming weeks.

"I think we've learned a lot about the character of our team," Todd said. "Everybody has faith in each other. I think the last game was really good with us as far as dealing with some adversity. Getting down 14-0, especially to start the game, is going to be really important going through the rest of the season because we know that if something goes bad during a game we can keep doing what we do.

"If the defense needs to help us out they can help us out and if we need to help the defense out we can have their back too. I think it's important to see everybody keep their head and execute the gameplan. It was really good for us and I think that's shown a lot the first few games."


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