By J. Henderson
It’s spring. The mornings are freezing. We’re breathing.
Feels like football.
I had the pleasure of attending about half of yesterday morning’s practice, the first since returning from Spring Break. It looked like a practice with guys just returning from Spring Break. I can still hear the bark of Paul Rhoads. Mario Fannin walked by me in the hall, his arm in a sling. “Hey, man.”
With the exception of red zone skeleton drills, Tony Franklin said the offense “looked like crap” and took the blame.
“It was a poor job on my part gettin’em prepared to go out there.”
Franklin’s candor has moved beyond refreshing to almost exhilarating and his straightforward style is especially on when answering questions concerning the quarterback situation, which reporters seem eager to put to bed. Franklin just keeps feeding it candy.
One of the first questions asked: Will Kodi Burns be the first team quarterback for the A-Day game?
Though he later admitted that Burns has the potential to be the video game everyone dreamed him to be out of high school, Franklin didn’t just answer “no” – with that great accent of his, it was more like “neh-oh,” a slight twang of disgust.
“Right now, [Burns and Todd] are alternating with each other and they will keep doing that,” Franklin said. “There is no No. 1, or else there are two No. 1s, however you want to look at it, you know? I talked with all four quarterbacks and talked about what direction we’re going in, you know, it’s impossible to rep four guys. You can’t do it and be good.”
The only action Neil Caudle saw yesterday (at least from when I arrived) was signaling calls in from the sideline; Franklin, however, seems to think highly of him.
“Neil will be a great backup for them,” Franklin said. “He’s a great team guy, a great Auburn guy that wants to be here. He’ll do a great job as a backup. If one of them falters, he’ll be ready to step in and take his place.”
Tommy Trott, alone in the end zone. Franklin calld Trott “dynamic.”
He also said that, of the four quarterbacks, it was probably Caudle who best “verbalized” his vision for a play, but that under center, Todd currently possessed more of the particular clairvoyance necessary to make Franklin happy.
DeRon Furr on the other hand, despite his obvious physical talent, is a long way off. Or as Franklin put it, “a long, long, long, long, long, long way off.” That’s six longs.
“The big thing about playing quarterback is that, if you don’t know it when you step on the field, if you don’t have mental pictures of where everything is going to be and where it’s going to happen, you got no chance, none. And right now [Furr] doesn’t have any idea,” Franklin said.
“He’s a young kid. He’s going to be a good player. He’ll probably be a great player one day, but not tomorrow.”
Franklin is focused on today.
“The last few practices here, we are giving Chris and Kodi most of the reps and let’em work. If somebody emerges clear-cut a lot better than the other one, you may have one guy. But I don’t think that’s going to happen and I’ve told them I don’t think it is. I think they will go into the summer and will be competing against each other.”
When it came time for the reporters to turn their recorders on Paul Rhoads, Franklin said “now go talk to the guys who whipped our ass all day.”
Def. Coordinator Paul Rhoads congratulating the ass-whoopers.
(Click here to see all of my photos, a cutting edge collection that puts you right in the thick of things, it’ll feel like a Disney ride.)