By Jay Coulter
When Auburn begins spring practice in a few days all eyes will be on the quarterback position. For the first time in three years, Brandon Cox will not be under center. Yeah, we won’t have ole Dick Nixon to kick around anymore.
This spring is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated in recent memory. New offensive coordinator Tony Franklin said that all signal callers come in with a clean slate.
"They all stand exactly the same," said Franklin. "As far as I'm concerned, there's four guys competing and we'll give each one of them a good look and see where they are."
This contradicts what Tommy Tuberville said following the Chick-Fil-A Bowl win over Clemson when he proclaimed Kodi Burns as the starter heading into camp.
Burns will be competing against returning sophomore Neil Caudle and newcomers Chris Todd and Deron Furr.
It’s widely believed that it will come down to Burns and Todd in the race for the starting position. Then again, Rudy Giuliani thought he would be the Republican nominee for President.
After a terrible performance against Tennessee Tech, Burns rebounded to have a solid game against Clemson. Franklin has been critical of Burns’ passing during his first year on the Plains.
"He was a good thrower in high school," said Franklin. "I watched his film and everything seemed natural for him. When I first got here, he was very awkward.
"It got better between the time that we got here and the bowl game but he's still got a ways to go to get to where I'm confident in him being able to lead us down the field throwing it as well as running it."
Rarely does a true two quarterback system work in major college football. Despite this, Franklin has not ruled out going with a two quarterback system similar to what he used in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
Count me among those that are skeptical of such a system.
What do we know about Chris Todd? He’s obviously highly thought of by Franklin. One of his first moves as coordinator was to bring Todd in for a recruiting visit.
There’s also a comfort level between the two. Franklin worked with Todd in high school in Elizabethtown, Kentucky where the quarterback threw for more than 10,000 yards and 120 touchdowns running Franklin’s offense.
Todd signed with Texas Tech in 2005 and barely lost the starting position in 2006. Last year he decided to transfer to junior college in Kansas in hopes of landing a school for this year. He’d originally committed to Troy prior to Franklin’s move to Auburn.
Who’ll win the job is anyone’s guess and might not be determined until sometime in August. Count me among those that believe Burns will be the starter. It’s easy to forget that he only arrived in Auburn last summer.
Given an entire year in the system should benefit him. Plus having the opportunity to play in some big games is invaluable. Time will tell.