Thursday, January 15, 2009

Looking ahead to the 2009 team

The Decatur Daily asked me to submit a projected two-deep chart for the 2009 Auburn team.
You can check it out in today's paper.
When I put it together, I found myself with far more questions than answers, so I thought you might enjoy taking a look at the biggest questions entering spring practice. Many of these questions will likely linger into two-a-days and possibly even into the season.

The first question is obvious: Who's the 2009 starting quarterback? The former coaching staff considered Kodi Burns to be the future of the program. He has done little through the first two years to justify that title. To be fair, Gus Malzahn will be his fourth (FOURTH!)offensive coordinator in three seasons. Burns is intelligent and has seemingly learned the offenses. Still, Burns hasn't done anything to solidify his starting spot and the starting quarterback spot seems as open as ever.

Something to consider: Malzahn has a previous relationship with Burns, but doesn't seem enamored by him. Malzahn coached at Springdale (Ark.) High School while Burns played at Northside High School in Springdale, Ark. When Malzahn ran the offense at Arkansas (or, as some believe, "ran the offense" at Arkansas), he did recruit Burns.

Here are some positives about Burns: His running ability and strong arm would be a good fit in Malzahn's offense.

The case against Burns: He's still erratic and has not shown the ability to consistently throw accurate touch passes.

Many think redshirt freshman Barrett Trotter could provide Burns with the greatest competition. I don't know much about Trotter, except that he had great numbers at Briarwood Christian Academy as a high school quarterback. He should get some serious looks during spring practice.

Chris Todd had offseason shoulder surgery. Since he had surgery last year as well, it's safe to say he's a significant question mark right now. Todd seemed hesitant to make certain throws last year. He was never healthy in 2008 and it's not certain he will get back to full strength in 2009. We don't really know how good Todd could be if he is, in fact, healthy.

Neil Caudle will benefit from a fresh start with a new coaching staff in that he will get an opportunity to show the former staff overlooked him. It would behoove him to get off to a quick start since there are several candidates for the job and the previous staff buried him on the depth chart.

My far-too-early projection: Burns opens the season as a starter with Trotter as the backup.

Tomorrow's topic: Offensive line depth

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