Thursday, July 09, 2009


You haven't forgotten that when it comes to Auburn player developments, the quarterback race still dwarfs all others the way Jupiter dwarfs its moons, right? (In this analogy, who takes over as, say, the third cornerback is like the possibility of life in the ice-covered ocean on the ice moon Europa ... interesting, important, but still just a thing in orbit around the much, much bigger thing.) But even if you have forgotten--I know that doesn't make any sense, just bear with me--there's been a burst of QB-related links the past 24 hours or so that'll remind you.

Tate on Caudle. Picking up where his post on Kodi Burns left off, Jay G. Tate offers his personal profile of Neil Caudle. He notes (as he had before) that Tony Franklin wrote Caudle off early, but with the new staff ...
Auburn wrapped spring practice without a clear No. 1 atop the depth chart at quarterback, which has to be considered a victory for Caudle. Armed with confidence, accuracy and an unusual drive to revive his career, Caudle is expected to be a major player in the quarterback race during two-a-days.

It's my opinion that Caudle's interception problems of 2008 were a function of compromised confidence. Franklin's approach to coaching football, which includes surprisingly blunt assessments, clearly didn't work well for Caudle. He lost his swerve. He has regained most of it.
As you might expect after reading that excerpt and knowing that Tate expects Burns to play back-up again, Tate predicts that Caudle will open the season as the starter.

He speaks! A New Orleans television station offers a quickie video preview of Auburn as part of a series on LSU's 2009 opponents. Not much to learn from the committed Auburn fan's perspective, but you will hear from Ryan Pugh and Caudle on the coaching transition (albeit for about 12 seconds total). Here's a shocker: they're pretty damn happy about it, and my sense is probably even moreso than they can let on in front of the camera. For his part, Caudle--who has an accent every bit as thick as you'd hope, at least if you've been living in Michigan for three years--is up front that the switch is "great for me" before adding it's also "great for the program."

Chris Todd: yes, he's still here. The following Ben Tate quote from Luke Brietzke's blog has created a bit of a stir, because until it was said you would have most assuredly filed "Chris Todd throws the ball too hard" under "things that no one would ever, ever say under any non-torture-related and/or sarcastic circumstances." Butt here it is nonetheless:
“Chris Todd, he puts some zing on that ball. He can throw it pretty hard. You can definitely tell that his shoulder was injured last spring and it’s getting a lot better now. He’s going to be a guy to keep an eye on. He might start easing his way up the depth chart. You never know. … I have to tell him sometimes, ‘Hey Chris. Don’t throw it so hard to me. We’re just playing catch. We’re just trying to get warmed up.’”
I mean, seriously: Chris Todd?!? Maybe his shoulder really is better. And if it is, you have to take Todd seriously as a possible starter. (Yes, you do. And finish your broccoli.)

I still think Todd has an uphill climb ahead of him, since he'll be the least mobile of the four quarterbacks seen as legitimate candidates for the job in an offense that does prize mobility. And while his gimpy shoulder was probably the biggest of his issues last season, it's not like his decision-making was exactly crisp and pristine, either. But who knows? If he's healthy, he'll have his say in fall camp. (If you've got a Rivals account, you can read more here.)

More. That must-read Brietzke post also features a basic breakdown of the QB position, some interesting quotes from both Burns and Todd, and Ben Tate's take on all the QB's, not just Todd. I don't how much I ought to read into this ...
“Kodi and Neil are both looking good. Neil’s working hard. I’ve never seen Neil work quite this hard. I guess now that the opportunity presented itself he’s working really hard. Kodi’s feeling the pressure. Neil and Kodi are out there throwing sometimes on their own. I guess they’re both thinking the same thing. Sometimes I look out there and they’re asking guys to stay out there and catch balls and they’re definitely working hard.”
... but doesn't it seem, just a little bit, that the reason both guys are working as hard as they are is because Caudle made the decision to go all out and Burns is "feeling the pressure" and trying to make sure he doesn't fall behind? Again, I'm not certain that's what Tate is trying to say, but if that's the case, it's not really a great compliment about Burns's work ethic. Also from Tate: Rollison has "a cannon."

There's nothing stunning from Todd or Burns, but the former's description of his previous attempts to return from injury and the latter's obvious emphasis on being "the man" are definitely worth a look.

Lastly, if there's one way that two QB's are better than one ... it's in a hypothetical barfight.


KungFuPanda9 said...

re Kodi's sudden desire to toss the football around in his "spare time." You nailed it with "'s not really a great compliment about Burns's work ethic."

I would have thought he'd be out there every minute possible throwing footballs at birds on the wing, through tires, into an open window, whatever. But now, only because he feels pressure from Caudle... not good.

Also, I sense a little desperation in his declarations of confidence.

WDEwg said...

Anyone care to give their rankings of the QB's heading into 2-a-days?

I'll start:

Freshmen who need to be redshirted.

KungFuPanda9 said...

If Malzahn is going to operate a run to set up the pass strategy, Kodi will QB. If he is going to operate a pass to set up the run, then Caudle will QB.

If Todd's shoulder has healed as he and Tate claim, then it gets cloudy for Caudle.

The latter two need to prove they can take a licking and keep on ticking the way Campbell and Kodi do. Cox was worn down by the abuse until he was strung together with string and chewing gum at the end.

Kodi is muscular and compact. Caudle and Todd are lanky and thin. That might be why they are better passers. But they need to bulk up for the pounding.

Stonewall said...

Who starts at QB may not be as important as who finishes.