2 Auburn quarterbacks still battling for job

Published 6:07 pm Monday, August 11, 2008

AUBURN – Kodi Burns and Chris Todd aren’t just trying to prove who’s the best passer and runner.

Auburn’s two quarterback hopefuls are also under the gun to display leadership, harness any frustrations they might feel and handle the fatigue that comes with two practices a day in the August heat.

Equally challenging, they also have to avoid obsessing over who will start against Louisiana-Monroe on Aug. 30.

“It’s not too far away at all,” Burns said Monday. “They haven’t told me anything. I used to kind of worry about it, but I just can’t worry about that any more. I’ve just got to come out and get better every day and compete. I can’t worry about when the timetable’s going to be.”

Coach Tommy Tuberville said Monday the coaches intend to wait until sometime after the second scrimmage later this week to choose a starter. Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin has said he wouldn’t be against playing both if neither puts some distance between the other.

In the meantime, they’re facing plenty of scrutiny.

“Kodi and Chris are both a little bit tired. Their arms are tired,” Tuberville said. “They’re hanging in there, as you need your quarterbacks to do. You need them to step up and show the players around them that they can withstand anything just like they can. You need good camaraderie and you need good leadership out of your quarterbacks and both these guys are good friends who are competing well.”

Neither threw an interception in Saturday’s scrimmage, though no statistics were released.

Both have maintained a good attitude, Tuberville said.

“We’ve seen some pretty good indicators in practice that both of them are going to be fine quarterbacks,” he said. “I like both of them’s frame of mind. They’re not out there, ‘Let me have a few more reps, let me do this, let me do that.’ They’re team players and that’s what you’ve got to have at quarterback.”

That means not getting exasperated if a teammate drops a pass or misses a block that might not be easy to swallow for a quarterback fighting for a job. And having “fun” during the grind of a protracted competition.

“If you’re getting upset when they drop a ball, then you’ll get in their head too,” Todd said. “You just kind of have to watch that and try to enjoy yourself, try to have fun every day.”

They each had something to prove going into fall camp. Todd wants to show his throwing shoulder is OK — he said it is — after giving him problems during the spring. Burns aims to prove he really can pass after being used mostly as a runner as a freshman.

He even had to convince himself at one point last season, popping in a highlight tape of his high school days for a little confidence boost.

“I started saying maybe they’re running me for a reason. Maybe I can’t pass as good as these guys,” he said. “Then I’d watch some film and I was like, ‘I can do this. I’ve done it. Nothing’s changed. The speed of the game might change, but my arm’s still here.’ And I knew that I could throw just as good as any quarterback in this league.”

TIGER TALES: Freshman defensive back Marcus Jemison had surgery to repair a broken leg Monday, Tuberville said. It was the latest blow for the secondary after cornerback Aairon Savage was lost for the season with a knee injury and freshman safety DeRon Furr left the team. Tuberville said freshman corner Harry Adams was just bruised in his own injury scare Sunday, when he was taken off the field in an ambulance after having trouble breathing.