By Jay Coulter
I came across a damn good article written by Jeremy Henderson over at The War Eagle Reader. If you don't have his site bookmarked yet, I recommend doing it now. Jeremy has a reputation for doing something most other bloggers don't - it's called research.
Like all of us, he's heard the stories over the years about Jimmy Buffett's time at Auburn. Yes, Buffett was a student on the Plains in 1964 and he did learn to play the guitar at Auburn. Jeremy reveals all of this in his story, including the nugget about Jimmy graduating from Southern Miss in 1969. I had no idea. Make sure you check it out.
What many of you suspected was somewhat confirmed on Tuesday during Tommy Tuberville's weekly press conference. Kodi Burns is questionable for Saturday's game with Southern Miss. Burns suffered a pretty severe laceration on his leg that required stitches Saturday night and it has limited his mobility.
Chris Todd will get the start and Neil Caudle will back him up. One thing I've learned with Coach Tuberville is that when someone is questionable on Tuesday, they likely don't play on Saturday.
It's been interesting to hear fan response on how the quarterbacks performed against ULM. Granted, it was week one and you can bet both Todd and Burns were more than a little uptight. Personally, I haven't sounded the alarms yet. I thought Burns was much crisper and certainly had better wheels than Todd.
In the second half, Todd seemed to settle down and get more in the groove. That said, I'll be completely shocked if Burns is not the starter for most of the season. I still believe he gives Auburn a better chance to win.
The big question now is what happens if Todd should go down against the Golden Eagles? Can Caudle really step in and perform? He's been in the fight of his life to secure the number three spot ahead of freshman Barrett Trotter.
"Neil has done well," said Tuberville. "He ran this offense in high school his last two years. The only problem was that he got hurt and didn't really have much of an opportunity to play. He's got an excellent arm and he knows the offense. He practiced yesterday, as Kodi did not; he did all of the reps with the back-ups and I feel very comfortable with him playing. He's been around, he's an older guy so he understands the speed of the game. If Kodi doesn't go, he'll be our back-up. He's taken a lot of reps the past month."
So much for fearing that Auburn might not run the ball with the spread offense. On a night when ULM shut down the Tiger's passing attack, the running backs reminded fans that they may be the most talented group from top to bottom in the conference. Together they rushed for more than 300 yards, something that Tuberville was pleased to see.
"I was very satisfied with the way we ran the ball," said Tuberville. "Running the football will set up everything that will make a game successful. There may be one or two games this season where the opposing defense will be able to shut our running game down, and that is when our passing game will come into play. If you're balanced on defense then you better be pretty good and that's what we try to do. We try to take away the running game as well as the passing game.
"We need to have enough speed on the field to overcome and get them off the field. Now that teams have seen how we run the ball, they will line up and be able to stop the run, which will open other doors for our offense. That's the beauty of this offense and that is the reason we went to it; to give us the option to run and pass. After one game, we're not going to panic. We do, however, have to get better at throwing the ball because we didn't do that well. It will get better."
As far as opening weekends for college football go, this past one was pretty much forgettable. The biggest shock was the way Tennessee played out in Los Angeles against UCLA. I wanted the Volunteers to win just so the conference could give the Pac 10 another beat down. But now that it's over, my feelings aren't all that hurt.
If you're a Tennessee fan you have to wonder where the program is headed today. It's been more than 10 seasons since Phil Fulmer gave the school its national championship. Sure he manages to end up in Atlanta often at the end of the season, but he rarely wins there. Now he opens the season with a loss to a team that had no business even being in the game. Fulmer and Tennessee have become the picture of mediocrity. It will be interesting to watch the season play out in Knoxville.
Until tomorrow... War Eagle!