Walt's recap of Auburn's fourth practice started out pretty normal. "I know this is late..." "...needed to eat..." (Just kidding, Walt). But something quickly caught my attention.
Something so out of the ordinary, I didn't believe it.
After just four practices, Auburn coaches are already limiting access to the program. They're diverting eyes and avoiding questions, perhaps trying to cover up some hideous secret that would expose corruption from the bottom to the top and back again. Yes, cancelling interviews is evidence enough that they are frantically cutting wires in a desperate attempt to diffuse a bomb of scandal that could level the athletic department, the university, even the Plains themselves.
So what is the secret?
New Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele gave an interview after the third practice last Saturday, March 5th. The cancelled press conference was scheduled for Tuesday, March 8th. Did something happen on Sunday or Monday?
Yes, something did happen.
On Monday, March 7th, Auburn held its Pro Day, an event for former Auburn football players to make their case and show off their abilities in front of NFL scouts and coaches. Normally, this event is nothing but a bunch of 20-something-year-olds running and jumping and lifting while beat writers take
totally not that obvious smartphone pics secret surveillance footage of the NFL head coaches in attendance.
Bill Belichick checking out Auburn's pro day. pic.twitter.com/hLb65Z6Qqw— John Zenor (@jzenor) March 7, 2016
But this one was different. See, I said the Pro Day was for "former Auburn football players." Seniors like Kris Frost or players who declared for the draft early like Shon Coleman were there. They are recent players, but still technically former players.
But I really meant "former." In this case, a player so former, that he had no legitimate reason to be in the building.
Exactly what was Chris Todd doing there?
Starting/Backup/Starting Quarterback from 2008-2009, Chris Todd is best remembered as the man behind center for Gene Chizik's first season as Auburn's head coach. He broke records in then offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's offense, throwing the ball to the likes of Darvin Adams, Terrell Zachery, Mario Fannin, and Tommy Trott.
But his origins are much darker. He originally came to Auburn to run Tony Franklin's Tony Franklin System™ in 2008. Franklin wouldn't last five games into that season, and head coach Tommy Tuberville would be gone after the season after swapping Todd out for another quarterback, Kodi Burns.
Gene Chizik was named as Tuberville's replacement and the quarterback competition between Todd and Burns continued. Through the spring. Through the summer. Until fall camp. On August 13th, 2009, Gus Malzahn named Chris Todd Auburn's starting quarterback. The story of how this came to be has never been told and it probably never will be, but if there's one thing we can take from the few details we have, it's that Chris Todd has a history teaming up with Gus Malzhan to subvert Kodi Burns.
So, back to 2016, at Auburn's Pro Day. Who's to say Chris Todd wasn't there again with similar motives? Who's to say that Auburn's coaching staff isn't susceptible to attack, or worse, that the attack won't come from the head coach himself? Who's to say that Kodi Burns won't soon stand up before his peers, announce that Chris Todd is replacing him as receivers coach, ask that the team get behind Todd, promise the players that they're better off with Todd, and then disappear to coach another position all together at another school (where he will somehow catch a touchdown pass in the 2017 National Championship game).
If that happens, and it's not an impossibility, we'll probably never know the whole story. Just like when Todd won the starting job in 2009, we'll never know how it happened or why it happened. We'll never find out who was pulling the strings of the puppet show we call Auburn football.
All because interviews were cancelled on Tuesday.
Editor's Note: For the love of all that's Holy, I hope everyone reading this understands that it's satire.