Tuberville: Auburn QB job is Burns’ to lose

Published 11:28 pm Tuesday, October 14, 2008

AUBURN – Auburn’s starting quarterback situation is finally settled — for now.

The job is Kodi Burns’ to lose for the rest of the season, and freshman Barrett Trotter is jumping from the scout team into the mix for the No. 2 spot, coach Tommy Tuberville said Tuesday.

Trotter remains in line for a redshirt season but could be an emergency option with Burns and Chris Todd both having failed to securely lock down the job for the Tigers (4-3, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) through seven games.

“We’re going to see what he can do,” Tuberville said of Trotter. “We’ll make a decision Sunday of who’s going to be our No. 2 guy. In terms of wanting to be part of it, he’s decided to do that. But again, the decision will be ours. We’re not going to play him as a third-team quarterback. He’d have to be the second-team guy.”

Trotter and sophomore Neil Caudle are jockeying for that spot during the Tigers’ open date, while former starter Todd rests his throwing shoulder.

Burns started in Saturday’s 25-22 loss to Arkansas and Todd was ineffective coming off the bench.

“Kodi, of course, is our quarterback right now,” Tuberville said. “He’s the quarterback for us through the year. Obviously, if somebody steps up and does better — you’ve got competition at every position — that could change.”

If Trotter is to give up his redshirt year, Tuberville said he will have to get more snaps than a normal backup to make it worthwhile. Auburn has extra time to find a solution and see Trotter in action during practices before visiting West Virginia next Thursday.

Burns is completing 41 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and three interceptions. He has started twice but alternated with Todd both times.

“He’s trying to take over being the starting quarterback and trying to be more of a leader and trying to get this offense back on track,” tailback Brad Lester said.

Todd has been booed at times by frustrated fans, but Lester said his teammates still support him.

“Chris has had a hard time,” he said. “People have been booing him. We all stick by him, because Chris is like our family. He works hard with us every day. To be honest, all the people, if they were our true fans, they wouldn’t boo him like that. He works hard like everybody else does and it’s hard for him to perform when everybody’s booing him like that.”

Tuberville said Trotter knows the spread offense from his days at Briarwood Christian High School, though he hasn’t had much chance to practice it while running Auburn’s scout team this season.

Auburn’s defensive players are more familiar with him than the offensive guys since they’ve seen him in practice daily running the scout team.

“He can throw the ball. He’s good at putting that ball in there,” linebacker Craig Stevens said. “He’s got a lot of speed on the ball. I don’t know how good he is at his reading (defenses) and all that, because I don’t really know too much about that.

“But when he throws it, it gets there. He’s very accurate.”

Tuberville said Trotter has good touch on his throws and can hit the deep ball. He’s also looking for someone to get rid of the ball quicker.

“Last week, we didn’t throw the quick game very well,” Tuberville said. “We’ve got to be able to complete some passes to even have an opportunity to run the football. You’re going to complete a few deeps one, but when you take the high-percentage passes you’ve got to make the high-percentage completions.”

“We want to see if he can do that. Kodi struggled with it but he’ll get better. But again, we’re just looking for the right guy to be No. 2 for the future.”