Sprints Congratulates Chris Todd, But What About Kodi Burns? // 08.14.09

Collateral damage? Perhaps this is thinking about it too much, but it seems shallow to overlook the connections between two potentially related stories: The naming of a new starting quarterback at Auburn and Tony Franklin once again holding forth about the recent unpleasantness at Auburn.

First, the football news: Chris Todd will be the Auburn signal-caller this fall. Congratulations to Todd on that -- winning the starting quarterback job at an SEC school is a major accomplishment and should be celebrated. Hopefully, what I'm about to say won't take away from that.

Kodi Burns, now a wideout who might get some Wildcat snaps, bows out as a hero:

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. It was a great year and a great competition. ...

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.

You have to wonder about the impact on Burns -- and, in fairness, Todd and every other player on the Auburn offense -- of the failed Tony Franklin experiment. As Franklin and his assistants engaged in power struggles behind the scenes and Tommy Tuberville allowed his coaching staff to mutiny, the players were left to twist in the wind.

This is not a story unique to Kodi Burns or Auburn. It is the awful truth about college football coaching issues: The players end up getting hurt the most, with their potential playing time and (in some cases) draft stock falling dramatically while the coaches bicker.

Even Franklin admits it was a mismatch.

"It did not work at Auburn. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong person. I was wrong to have done it. They were wrong to bring me in because it was not a good fit," Franklin said.

But Tony Franklin is doing okay -- and in Tony Franklin's world, that's what matters.

"I am glad I went through that because in the long run, it makes me a better human being. I have learned from it and I have things that I can teach these guys, teach my kids and teach myself. I hope I can still learn because I have learned a lot from it," Franklin said.

Good for you, Tony. And while you're out there being a better human being, maybe you can tell Kodi Burns where he gets his second chance.

An injury that really hurts
Caleb King's hamstring has titled the Georgia running back battle decisively toward Richard Samuel. Mark Richt:

"There is a lot of time between now and then [the Sept. 5 opener at Oklahoma State], and there’s a lot of season, too. So there will be plenty of time for Caleb to get back in it. But right now he can’t get any work."

When the coach is already talking about how you need "to get back in it," things are not looking good.

Randall Cobb hurt?
It appears to not be serious, just something worth monitoring.

This is truly great stuff
Ever wonder what a player is thinking during a key play in the game? Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post gives us a look at what Ahmad Black thought as he picked off Sam Bradford in the BCS National Championship Game last year. Worth a read.

Why remember the actual story when an ominous anecdote will do?
Barnhart gets carried away on the Evans injury.

But sometimes there are terrible, devastating, injuries that change the entire complexion of a season. The injury to Virginia Tech running back Darren Evans is one of those. ...

But there is a reason Evans was in the starting lineup as redshirt freshman last season. He is something special. You just don’t replace players like Darren Evans so easily.

Actually, there is a reason Darren Evans was in the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman last season: Brandon Ore was booted from the team. But don't let that get in the way of your predetermined storyline.

Obviously, the injury increases Alabama's chances of winning Sept. 5. But to paint it as a "devastating" blow to Virginia Tech is probably exaggerating just a bit.

Nate Irving done for 2009
Real life fallout: A bad break for a great player. Football fallout: It's probably one of those injuries that gives the Gamecocks just a little bit better chance of defeating the Wolfpack in the '09 opener, but also not something that fundamentally changes the game.

Say what?
There's a lot of interesting stuff in Chris Low's interview with Nick Saban, Part I of which is here. The part that sticks out, though, is this exchange.

[Low:] But be honest. In press conference settings when you're wanting to send a message to your team or the fans, you'll occasionally script a confrontation with a media member to get your point across, won't you?

NS: [Smiling] That's true. I can't deny that.

That's all we're going to say about that? Can we have a little clarification, please, because the implication is rampant unprofessionalism on the part of so-called journalists covering Alabama and an attempt by Saban to orchestrate media coverage to help his team win, not to keep his fans informed.

One more time
I've been over this before, so I won't spend too much time on it, but I can't let it go. PLAYING WITH INELIGIBLE PLAYERS IS A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE.

Thank you. That is all.

Moody trying to get rid of injury bug
One of the things that has held back Emmanuel Moody is a series of injuries, including an odd situation from a couple of weeks ago. But he looks to be ready well before the season starts.

Is he or isn't he?
I'm pretty sure Joe Haden will get a few snaps this season at quarterback. If not, Urban Meyer is psychological strategist of the century. 

The WildDore package?
Vanderbilt -- gasp! -- experiments.

The Commodores operated almost exclusively out of the no-huddle attack and experimented with a formation where the ball was snapped to a running back lined up in shotgun formation.

There were several big plays out of the formation, commonly called the wildcat, including a 41-yard run by junior Kennard Reeves and a 17-yard run by freshman Wesley Tate of Pope John Paul II. ...

Johnson would not say what term the staff uses for the scheme, but did say it was not the "wildcat package."

Vanderbilt Sports Line dismisses all this talk about what to call the formation and sums it up this way: "Playbook Adds a Page ... Double Digits In Sight." Of course, South Carolina calls it the Cocky. Honestly.

Does taffy taste bad when it gets warm?
And The Valley Shook hesitantly puts Les Miles on the hot seat.

There is not a coach in the SEC who is more than two consecutive profoundly disappointing seasons away from putting his job at serious risk.  Les has had one.

An interesting look at something that's gotten lost in the "there's no hot seat in the SEC" talk.

The scorched turf will make enough smoke as it is
No lighting up in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium this season.

Please make it work
Is Gridiron U in trouble?

The sides appear to be haggling over how much access will be allowed. Nutt said he had to make a few calls and would decide within a day or two whether or not the show would go ahead as planned.

I would be crushed if this doesn't happen now. C'mon, folks.

It's helpful if you would notice the guy in a crowd
The most amusing part of David Hale's interview with D.J. Shockley

DH: OK, well if Mark Richt and Georgia helped you so much, can you chip in with some inside scoop for them on how to beat Bobby Petrino in Arkansas in Week 3?

DJS: I don't know much, man.

Of course not. The Gypsy Coach of the South was only there for 13 games. And based on the results, it's doubtful that the starting Falcons quarterbacks from 2007 could give you any insight into Petrino's offense.

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