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Tuberville: No decision on AU’s starting QB

After Auburn’s 19-14 loss to Mississippi State, there was only one question around the Auburn football complex: Who is Auburn’s starting quarterback? Auburn’s coaches say there’s no answer yet. Freshman Kodi Burns and senior Brandon Cox both played Saturday; both were scheduled to practice with the first-team offense on Sunday, according to head coach Tommy Tuberville. “Brandon’s still going to play,” Tuberville said before practice. “He might be our starter. We haven’t made up our mind on that.” Though Cox threw interceptions on his first two pass attempts Saturday, he settled down by the time he was called upon for the final drive. The senior completed four of his final eight attempts, for 42 yards, and led the Tigers to first-and-goal on the 9 before falling short. Burns was effective as a change of pace: He led AU to two second-quarter touchdowns and had 58 rushing yards at halftime. Burns had just 2 yards passing in the first half; he finished with 65. But his fourth-quarter interception led to MSU’s go-ahead touchdown. “Kodi was exactly what I would have guessed,” offensive coordinator Al Borges said. “He’s a freshman and he did some freshman things. At the same time, he has some electricity about him. If you get him out in the open field, he can make some things happen. We need to iron out of the mistakes. As he gets more solid, you’ll see more and more production out of him.” Borges said Cox replaced Burns for the final drive because the coaches trust Cox more as a passer. Tuberville and Borges both said no decision has been made; neither coach ruled out the possibility of playing either quarterback, or both. But Borges didn’t sound thrilled about the possibility of using two quarterbacks. In more than 30 years of coaching, he said he’d never used a two-quarterback system. “I don’t like it,” Borges said. “(But) if I think that’s what will help us move the ball and win games, I’ll do anything. “What I like and don’t like is immaterial. That has to take a back seat to what’s best for the team.” Cox has also never been part of a quarterback rotation. Speaking to reporters Sunday, Cox kept his head down and his answers short. “They’ll do what they have to do,” he said. “I’m not sure what it will be. … If it works, great.” Borges estimated Burns knew about 30-40 percent of the offense. Cox knows 100 percent. But Burns’ athletic ability gives the Tigers’ offense more flexibility. Burns is just happy to be on the field. “I was just waiting on my opportunity,” the freshman said. “I was just happy to go out there and play. A lot of my teammates said, ‘You’re just out there smiling the whole time.’ “It’s a fun game. I just enjoyed playing.” Borges said he wasn’t overly concerned that a two-quarterback system – or sitting one quarterback full-time in favor of the other – would split the locker room. “I always worry about that, but I can’t let that be the determining factor,” he said. “I’ll leave it at that.” Several players and coaches spoke out about their disappointment that fans at Jordan-Hare Stadium booed Cox several times. Boos rained down when Cox was announced as the starter during pre-game warmups, then again when he replaced Burns for a play in the second quarter and again when he took the field for the final drive. “I was bothered,” Tuberville said. “I was hoping they were booing me. I don’t think they’d be booing Brandon. “That’s the way we took it and that’s the way it should be. If you’re going to boo, boo the coaches because we get paid to do this. The players don’t.” Cox thought fans were booing him. But the senior took it in stride. “It doesn’t take much,” Cox said. “It doesn’t matter who you are. If you don’t get the job done, they’re not going to like you. “If we would have gone in and I had thrown a touchdown pass on the last drive, they would have been cheering again.”

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