Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chris Todd: Auburn starting quarterback

EDIT: Final thoughts on tonight's quarterback decision that left Chris Todd as the starter and Kodi Burns as a receiver:
  • I originally thought Burns would transfer if he lost out on the starting job. After hearing him talk today, it would take a complete 180 for him to leave the program.
  • With all the talk about Todd and Burns, it's easy to forget about Neil Caudle. The news is not much better for him. Gene Chizik said the backup competition remains ongoing, but true freshman Tyrik Rollison is getting the majority of the reps.
  • Auburn fans will have a hard time with this decision, but they should give Todd a shot. His arm does look stronger than it did last fall -- and certainly much better than it did against LSU.
  • Don't be surprised if Caudle gets the call during a close game, but if given a week to prepare, Rollison starts if Todd can't play.
  • Plenty of reaction tomorrow. Come back then. As always, thanks for reading.
There is a lot to get to here, including Kodi Burns' move to wide receiver and his possible (probable?) role in the Wildcat formation.

The best way to handle it is probably just to show exactly how everyone answered every question.


Chris Todd:

Todd didn't care what the first question was. He didn't really address it. Here's what he said:

"I just want to start out by saying, I have the utmost respect for all the other quarterbacks... They made me better every single day. They're all great quarterbacks. "Yes, I am definitely excited about the opportunity and looking forward to it."

On if he thought he could win the job this quickly:

"I really didn't know what to expect. I knew what coach Malzahn's expectations were, I knew what he wanted to do. But I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be a really short window of opportunity to win the job. I knew I'd have to come out and compete hard."

On if he could have seen this happening after last year:

"I really didn't know. I didn't know the future because I didn't what I was going to do with my arm, I didn't know how the surgery would turn out. There was a lot of unknowns out there. I'm really happy with the way it's turned out. But I can't say that I knew what to expect."

On Burns speaking after the meeting:

"I greatly appreciated what he said. It meant a lot to me just for him to be extremely unselfish and to truly be an Auburn player. He basically said he would do what was best for the team and anything for the team and he had my back. I really appreciated that. I said something to him afterward. It took a lot to get up there and say that."

On Burns' unselfish attitude:

"I think it’s huge -- I think just for team chemistry and the team bonding together and doing a lot of things. I’ve been on teams where people weren’t like that. It was me or nobody. That splits a team up and it’s not good for a team. "For somebody to be unselfish like that, I think it’s crucial for a team to come together and be as good as they can be."


On losing the competition:

The coaches chose to go in another direction. I worked really hard. I tried to prove myself. Obviously, things didn't work out. But I believe God has a plan for me. They went with Chris. That's a good thing. It's a good thing for the team. I'm 100 percent behind him. Chris Todd is the quarterback and I have no problem with that. There wasn't any mess. It was a great year and a great competition. I really appreciate the coaching staff. "I'm a guy who loves competition. Sometimes things don't work out the way you want them to. I'm going to be out there helping this team any way I can. "It was a little bit disappointing at first. Not a little bit. A lot. I'm really hurt by it, but you've got to move on. I'm mature enough to handle this. I spoke to the team about it. We're not going to be a divided team. We're all going to come together. I think this is going to make us a team. I think the Auburn Nation needs to get behind Chris as well."
On his message to the team:

"I just told them that I love each and every one of them. We work together, we sweat together, we bleed together out there working out. I was the guy last year. And things change. Things change for the better most of the time. And things happen for a reason. Just like I said, Chris Todd is the quarterback and whether they wanted me or wanted another quarterback -- it doesn't matter. Chris is the guy. We have to get behind him. He's going to be a leader of this team. I'm also going to be a leader of this team as well. "It told them it's about Auburn. It's about winning championships. Coach Trooper says we come in to do one thing and it's to win championships. That's what we're here to do."
On his role in the offense:

"We talked some about that, so hopefully that will work out. Just like I said, whatever it is, if it's wide receiver, playing some quarterback here and there, playing whatever, I want to be out on the field. My whole life I've never sat on the bench and I don't think I'm about to now, so I just want to help this team out in any way I can."

On whether the team was divided after Todd was named the starter last year:

"I felt as if it was that way. It was a bunch of nonsense. Things weren't handled the right way. This year, the coaching staff came in and everything was fair. Everything was a great chance. I'm just thankful that I had a chance. It's amazing to be able to play quarterback at this level for a team like Auburn. I battled, I tried as hard as I could. But just like I said, sometimes things just don't work out, so I'm just going to go pray about it and just learn from it and I'm not going to let certain circumstances dictate my character. So I'm going to just keep coming out and working every day."
On if he ever thought about transferring:

"No. Not at all. I've been here two years. It's been a lot of ups and downs here at Auburn, and it's been a tough road. But I'm not the type of person who is going to run from it. I'm here. I love Auburn. I'm an Auburn guy. So even though things don't work out, I've got a lot to offer this team. Like I said, I'm still one of the leaders of the team and I'm going to do everything I can to help the team out."

Gene Chizik:

On the decision:

"We had to make some tough decisions today. Obviously everybody wants to know what’s happening at the quarterback position and we made some very tough decisions. After very thoroughly evaluating the quarterback situation, we talked to all our quarterbacks today and we basically told them our assessment. "We decided to go with Chris Todd as our starter today. We talked to our team about it. We talked to each quarterback about it. At the end of the day we’re going to make the decision that we feel gives us the best chance to win. So that’s what we did. "We’ve got class, class young men at that position. It was a tough day for everybody. They handled it like true pros, just with a lot of class, and we went out and practiced. That’s kind of how the day unfolded"

On moving Burns to receiver:

"Kodi’s a very talented young man and he’s an Auburn man to the bone – very unselfish. We just feel like Kodi can help this football team somewhere on our offense. As we talked through it we just kind of gave him our vision and our plan for what we thought would give him the best chance to help our football team and where that would be. "We feel like we can play him at some Wildcat – do some Wildcat things on offense – as well as put him over there at wide receiver. He went over there tonight, did a great job. Obviously he understands that position, being a quarterback. He’s very athletic and we want to give him every opportunity to help our football team win football games. He was a true champion today"

On the way Burns handled the news:

"Hey. Let me tell you something. He was unbelievable tonight. After we had the team meeting, he wanted to say some words to our team – truly, truly inspirational, very heartfelt. It was a tough day. "He showed truly who he is today – just a guy with a lot of character and what a great competitor. Again, he’s a true Auburn man. He wants to help Auburn win games. That showed today. "I couldn’t be more proud of a player today, accepting the decision the way he did"

On selecting Todd:

"In the evaluation process, we had to throw all the factors in there. He hasn’t played 15 days in the spring, has done some really good things up to date and we can’t keep repping all these guys. We’ve got to make decisions and go with them. Some of them are tough. "His shoulder feels good. He’s throwing the ball well. We had to narrow it down and we had to narrow it down sooner rather than later to get these repetitions built up. "Again, we just feel like the limited time he’s been in this offense, he’s shown the flashes that we need to see to give us what we think is the best chance to win."

On naming a backup:

"We didn’t. We’re going to keep working in that direction. Tyrik is getting a lot of reps right now. We’re in the evaluation process and we’ve got to come up with an order of who we’re going to rep. We can’t keep repping five guys. We’re really repping Tyrik right now to see how fast he can come along. Obviously he wasn’t here in spring practice. He’s shown some flashes of being a very good quarterback just like he was in high school, but we need to know more. "We’re continuing to work in that direction, but we felt it was important right now that whoever we felt like our starter would be, we had to make that decision as tough as it might be. We just had to do it."

On if it was important to make the decision now:

"I think that the further out the better, provided you have all the information you need to make an accurate decision. We felt like we gathered enough of that to do it. Obviously, the furth out the better. We've got to build up and gain reps that were lost."

On Todd:

"A resilient guy. Has been through a lot. Worked every day, studied the game, studied the offense, even in the spring when he wasn't able to participate and was in the meetings and listening and trying to learn. but the reps are what matter and you can see that he studied enough to do a nice job in this offense. Experience, he's got experience. He's played in the league, he has been through a lot, he's an older guy, he has one year left. No substitute for experience."

On Burns possibly redshirting:

"One day at a time. Again, this is a really tough day for everybody. This is the day coaches don't like making these decisions because they're tough ones when you got great kids that do everything you ask them to do and they're all fighting their rear end for a job. I don't like those kind of days but it's the nature of the beast."

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