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Friday, August 14, 2009
Todd gets second chance as Auburn's starter

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

It's probably fitting that Chris Todd will start the season as Auburn's quarterback.

Nobody really saw Gene Chizik emerging as Auburn's coach back in December. Likewise, not a lot of people saw Todd winning the quarterback job when preseason practice began earlier this month.

A well-traveled senior, Todd was sort of the forgotten man in the race. He didn't go through spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason and was banished to the bench last season soon after Tommy Tuberville axed offensive coordinator Tony Franklin midseason.

Todd was Franklin's guy, while Kodi Burns was more Tuberville's guy. Todd also couldn't shake his issues with his throwing shoulder and became an afterthought during the second half of the season.

But after Burns or Neil Caudle couldn't nail down the job this spring, Todd found himself back in the race this preseason.

The most important thing with Todd is the health of his shoulder. He told me last season after the Southern Miss game in the second week that his shoulder still wasn't right and that he was hesitant on certain throws. He admitted that it hadn't been right since suffering a Grade 3 separation of his AC joint in the next-to-last game at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.

We'll see this season if he's got the confidence and the strength back in that arm. Chizik said it's as close to 100 percent as Todd has been since Chizik arrived on the Plains.

One thing we know about Todd is that he's a survivor. He started his career at Texas Tech before going the junior college route and then winding up at Auburn.

Now, he gets a second chance to prove that he's got what it takes to be an SEC quarterback.

Kudos to Burns, too. The Tigers have moved him to receiver and also plan to use him in the Wildcat formation at quarterback. Instead of pouting, he urged the team to get behind Todd in what Chizik said was a "truly inspirational" speech.

Said Burns: "Things happen for a reason. I'm not going to let circumstances dictate the content of my character."