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All eyes on Auburn quarterback situation

9/6/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

AUBURN, Ala. -- Will the real Auburn quarterback please stand up?

Tommy Tuberville's waiting. The Tigers' players are waiting, and so are the fans.

Auburn faces Southern Miss here later Saturday, and by all accounts, it's Chris Todd's chance to show what he can do. He'll get the start, and it's unclear how much Kodi Burns will play after suffering a leg laceration last week.

Nobody's really panicking on the Plains. At least, not yet. But Tuberville had hoped to have this thing settled by now and certainly by the time Auburn heads to Mississippi State on Sept. 13.

The passing game debut in Tony Franklin's new spread offense was brutal. The Tigers finished with 85 yards passing and only had 28 at the end of the third quarter.

To put that into perspective, Jay Tate of the Montgomery Advertiser dug up a telling statistic this week. Under former offensive coordinator Al Borges, the Tigers threw for fewer than 100 yards in a game only once in four years (50 games).

Burns is a good enough athlete that he can be effective against most teams the Tigers play. But with the LSU game looming (Sept. 20), Tuberville knows enough about that defense to know that Auburn's going to have to be able to throw the ball some to win.

The book on Todd, a junior college transfer, was that he could throw it, even though his junior college statistics were pretty ordinary after struggling with a shoulder problem. He started his career at Texas Tech and has been around this offense since he was in the 10th grade. But he didn't exactly exude confidence last week with some of his throws.

Here's another chance to prove that last week was the exception.

One theory is that if Todd plays well against Southern Miss and Auburn's passing game comes alive, then he's probably the guy going forward with Burns remaining in the equation as a change-of-pace guy.

If Todd doesn't play well, the Tigers are back to where they started. And in that case, I think Burns will probably get the first shot when they face LSU in a couple of weeks.

One way or the other, Tuberville is ready for this whole thing to sort itself out. Otherwise, he'll do it himself.