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Look! I can vote for my favorite QB too

July 10, 2009

Auburn enters this fall with two QBs who played last year, one who shined this past spring and another who has made a name for himself in HS and across the world of facebook.

Auburn fans enter the fall divided over who should start and why.

Auburn bloggers, opinionated as they are, each jockey for their choice, carefully placing their arguments on the table in the hopes the dealer goes bust.

Joe Auburn: fan first, blogger second, but no less opinionated than the professionals, offers his own thoughts for the fray.

My depth chart:

  1. Neil Caudle
  2. Chris Todd
  3. Kodi Burns
  4. Tyrik Rollison

My comments from last year remain in place, and appear to be even more valid this year so far. In summary, Chris Todd has the grey matter to play this game. Chris Todd had the arm to play this game. Chris Todd’s future in Orange and Blue rests with the most recent shoulder surgery. Neil Caudle has the grey matter, almost has the arm, but doesn’t have surgery concerns (other than knee surgeries in HS). His future in Orange and Blue looked ever more shiny after A-Day. Kodi Burns has the feet and arms to play this game. He had the grey matter to play in HS, but as yet hasn’t proven to Joe he has graduated to the collegiate level. Kodi doesn’t have the throwing motion to prove he’s at the collegiate level yet either. Arm strength yes, mechanics and fundamentals no. Tyrik Rollison has proven numbers in HS and facebook status updates a-plenty. Let’s hope he graduates mentally and steps up both his mental and physical game to the SEC level.

Why the resurgence of Caudle who the Tuberville staffs’ dismissed? The skills were always there, the confidence was not. Playing QB is a lot like pitching in major league baseball or leading soldiers on a battlefield. It takes supreme confidence, sound fundamentals, in-depth knowledge of the playbook and an understanding of the opponent that borders on mind-reading. Neil had the fundamentals  and he probably even picked up a lot of the playbook and opponent study from the film room. Yet, he lacked the confidence of his superiors which translated to a lack of confidence from his peers which further cast him down into the area of, “zero defects allowed.”

What I saw of Caudle at A-Day was a QB who given time (aka, offensive line), checked off the reads, looked for the best possible play and executed. He was less effective when forced to throw on the run, but he proved his mobility nonetheless – something Todd hasn’t quite pulled off. Given another quarter of play, Caudle could have possibly locked down the starting role exiting A-Day. You could quite literally watch his confidence surge that much as the game progressed.

What Joe would like to see is a two QB system with clearly defined roles. I would go so far as to say Malzahn can even put both QBs on the field at the same time (Caudle and Burns that is). Caudle would be my starter and Todd the back up. Burns would be THE part of packages that highlight moving attacks – both on the ground and through the air. Caudle is the QB to use the team run to set up the pass, while Burns is the QB who uses the threat of his run to mix in the pass. There is a tremendous amount of difference to an opposing defense. Lock down on Burns, immobilize the offense. Lock down on Caudle, give up the big run to Tate, Fannin, etc.

Listen, I don’t care who starts honestly, I care who finishes and gets the job done. While it is fun to share my observations and pontificate about the direction of Auburn’s QB battle, it is more fun to watch Auburn fly down the field and score more points than our weekly opponents. If you are interested in stirring the pot that is brewing over Auburn’s QB in the fall, check out Jay Tate’s breakdowns of Caudle and Burns as well as Jerry’s thoughts over at the JCCW. Both of these guys fall in the “professional” category and offer at times more sound thoughts than Joe.

By the way, one of Joe’s personal favorites is back to posting more than once in an Orange and Blue moon. The War Eagle Reader’s latest photo expo is fun and at the same time a nice and gentle reminder of Auburn’s deep and long rooted history.

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