We'll start with a question that's cropped up in more than one Auburn-related Internet gathering area recently, as asked by reader "SW-al":
So, just how big a cheer does Kodi get the first time he steps on the turf at Jordan-Hare this year?I would say "a cheer big enough to make you forget all the previous 'We love you! We really love you!' cheers," except that there's the whole snap-the-ball-in-7-seconds thing our offense should, theoretically, have going on. If Burns runs out there mid-series--and assuming he'll see his first action as the Wildcat "QB," wouldn't starting a series with him sort of ruin the element of surprise?--by the time the crowd realizes what's happening, it'll already be time for Kodi to start calling the play and readying the snap count. In a perfect world, Burns will check in for the first time as a slot receiver during a TV timeout ... but otherwise, am I wrong in thinking it could be awkward? Which is a shame, because I think Kodi's fully worthy of hearing the proverbial roar from the Auburn crowd.
This seems as good a space as any to also mention the remarkable irony of Burns receiving the biggest blow to his career, living down to the expectations of all those fans who expected him to get passed for the job in the offseason, and being dealt what's almost certainly the final, official confirmation he's been a bust as a quarterback recruit ... and still coming out the other side as big a fan favorite as he's ever been? I'm telling you, Auburn's quarterbacking situation is just weird.
Midwestern visitor "mpf004" asked after news of the Toddening came down:
I'm just curious why you have so much faith in your coaching staff. It's Gene Chizik, after all.There's a very simple answer to this: I don't think Gene Chizik had a damn thing to do with Chris Todd being named the starter. At least, I hope he didn't. Chizik has an offensive staff made up of Gus Malzahn, Trooper Taylor, and Curtis Luper. Those three guys should be perfectly capable of handling the offense and Malzahn, in particular--who's produced nothing but quarterbacking studs as long as he's been in the college game--should be perfectly trustworthy to entrust the QB decision to without any Chizikian meddling. I'm sure the Chiznick rubber-stamped Malzahn's decision, but it's Dr. Gustav rather than Chizik who's been saying from Day 1 he wouldn't brook any quarterback controversy chatter and would name a starter at his earliest possible convenience ... and that's exactly what happened. I don't think it's too tough to tell at this junction who's in charge of the offense, and it's not the ex-star defensive coordinator.
The real question is: let's say Malzahn's offense blows up and carries a depleted Auburn D to a series of victories. Do we give Chizik the credit for being smart enough to hire Malzahn or we do we withhold credit because Chizik won't have anything to do with the actual operation of Malzahn's offense? I don't know the answer (though I'm sure the media would deify Chizik in short order), but I'm hoping we find out. (Well, I'm hoping we win every game 50-0 and everybody gets an avalanche of credit, but I'll take a series of victories however we can get them.)
More on Burns from commenter tiger7_88, who takes issue with my characterization of Burns as being particularly wronged by his various coaching regimes:
(I)f this is true, the same thing can be said for Neil Caudle x1000.Hey, I won't argue that Caudle didn't get a particularly fair shake from Tony Franklin--did anyone?--and maybe even less of a fair shake than Burns did. At least Franklin thought enough of Burns to yank him around and platoon him before giving him the hook on the basis of a minor injury. Caudle never even seemed to enter Franklin's picture.
In the conventional "wisdom", Todd was Franklin's "boy".
That being the case, then Burns was Tuberville's "boy".
See whose left out here?
Now who has been done wrong (if any wrong has been done) by the coaches again?
Or does that view just get in the way of the "Awwwww... poor Kodi!" Squad?
However: in 2007, I continue to believe it would have been Caudle as Cox's backup and Caudle that came in in relief vs. Mississippi St. had Caudle not gotten hurt (again) in fall camp. By the time Caudle was healthy again, Burns's redshirt was burned, Cox was competent again, and it was too late. I don't think Borges was particularly unfair to Caudle here, not in the way I think he might have been to Burns in treating him not so much as a backup QB as a Wildcat-esque gimmick.
As for 2006, well, Caudle was a freshman and he was injured. Not much to say there. And you can't say he hasn't had his fair shot this year.
So in the end, I think Caudle has a gripe with Franklin--but not the same amount of griping over the course of his career that Burns has racked up, and seeing as how (unlike Burns) he's never been able to convince his coaches that he deserved time on the field, I'm not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt that his coaches have been all that unfair. Maybe that makes me a Burns sympathizer, but oh well, I'm a Burns sympathizer, then.