War Eagle Extra

QB battle has a second plotline

AUBURN, Ala. — The position battle among Auburn's quarterbacks isn't limited to the top two spots.

For obvious reasons, the competition for the starting nod between Chris Todd and Kodi Burns has drawn the most attention. But what happens in today's final preseason scrimmage will help determine whether Neil Caudle or Barrett Trotter will begin the season as the Tigers' No. 3 signal-caller.

“Those guys will probably get more snaps than the first two (in the scrimmage), but we'll definitely look at both of them,” Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. “It's a good situation. We've never been in this situation before. We've got four guys we feel pretty good about. You're gonna have a tough decision to make.”

Tuberville said sophomore Caudle is already assured of a spot on Auburn's travel roster — only 70 of the team's 105 players can be active for an SEC road game — because of his status as the backup kick holder.

That numbers game might make it unnecessary for true freshman Trotter to play this season if both quarterbacks are considered equal, as Tuberville's staff might find it more useful to travel a player from a different position rather than four quarterbacks.

If a redshirt season is in the offing, however, Trotter says he can accept it.

“I'm OK with whatever happens,” he said. “If I've gotta redshirt, that's something I'm fine with. If I'm gonna see the field a little bit, that's fine too, but right now I'm not sure where it's gonna end up.”

It's not as though Trotter has damaged his chances of playing with his performance thus far in camp. Guiding an offense he ran for the last three years at Birmingham's Briarwood Christian, Trotter has adjusted quickly to his new surroundings.

He was reportedly one of the standouts in Auburn's first preseason scrimmage last weekend.

“I think (running the offense in high school) has (helped) to a certain degree,” Trotter said. “The more familiar you get with the offense, the easier it is to find guys where you know where they're gonna be without even really thinking about it.”

Prior to today's scrimmage at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Caudle and Trotter have recently been given extra opportunities to work with the offense in competitive drills. Todd and Burns stepped aside in Wednesday afternoon's practice to rest their arms, leaving the backups to run the offense.

They know one of their last opportunities to separate themselves might come today, as the Tigers will begin working into more of an in-season routine with classes set to begin Monday.

“I've been around here. I know what each of these scrimmages means,” Caudle said. “I'm gonna take the mindset to go into it and be prepared for it.”

While they obviously appreciate the opportunities they will be given today, Caudle and Trotter are saying all the right things, attempting to remain philosophical about their competition.

“Me and Neil are both working hard and getting as many reps as coach will let us get,” Trotter said. “But as far as where it's at, I'm not real sure. We don't really talk about it that much.

“It's not something that's on the top of the list right now,” Trotter continued. “Chris and Kodi and them getting better and finding out who's gonna lead this team — or if it's both of them that are gonna lead the team — is really the main thing.”

It's a possibility that, barring injury, only Todd and Burns will play significant downs this season, so Trotter is correct in that regard. But an intriguing side angle is whether Auburn's coaches would opt for the sophomore or burn the young upstart's redshirt should the need arise for one of them to play.

It's a decision Auburn's coaches don't appear ready to announce anytime soon.

“They're both good enough,” Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin said. “It's just a matter of probably just making a decision one day as to which one that we're gonna use.”

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