By Jay Coulter
It took less time to determine the 2000 presidential election than it has taken for Auburn to name a starting quarterback. Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin assures us this is a good thing. Most Auburn fans will tell you they feel more comfortable with Kodi Burns. He’s an easy choice considering we know very little about challenger Chris Todd.
But those who’ve spent the summer and fall camp practicing with Todd will tell you that he’s more than capable of holding his own. “Those two guys are neck-and-neck right now,” said wide receiver Rod Smith.
“Like Coach Franklin says every day, we have a major problem. We have two great quarterbacks, and don’t know who’s going to pull ahead of one another.”
Who actually starts against Louisiana-Monroe really means more to fans than coaches. Franklin has been out front about the plan to play both of them extensively in the game.
So what do we know about Chris Todd? So far, he’s best known for having a sore arm during the spring and not being able to compete one-on-one with Burns. Franklin obviously thought enough of him to keep the competition open through the summer and into fall practice.
Todd threw for nearly 11,000 yards during high school in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, setting the all-time state passing record. During his senior campaign he led his team to the Kentucky Class 2A State Championship after throwing 38 touchdowns. Highly recruited, Todd chose Texas Tech and Coach Mike Leach’s run-and-gun offense.
He appeared to be the quarterback of the future for the Red Raiders. He played in five games as a redshirt-freshman, throwing for 241 yards and a touchdown. However, as the season progressed it became clear that he would not win the quarterback battle.
Todd rolled the dice and enrolled at Hutchinson Junior College in Kansas. He already had a plan. He would play a year in Kansas and then reunite with Franklin at Troy. Franklin served as a consultant to Todd’s high school team and taught his system to him in Kentucky. Troy’s quarterback, Omar Haugabook was graduating in 2007 and Todd was planning to step in at that position.
You know the rest of the story. Franklin comes to Auburn in December and his first call is to Todd. So here we are. Questions abound about both quarterbacks. Can Todd stay healthy? Can he compete in the SEC? Does his arm strength offset Burns ability to run?
Because scrimmages have been closed, these are questions we really don’t know the answers to yet. We’ll certainly know soon. Let’s hope they are ready to play. My guess is we’ll need them both.