I woke up this morning and loaded up my run of sports sites in Firefox. As usual, I end up skipping to THABOTN because Jay's videos auto-play and they start off with that goofy music. "This again," I think to myself. "I'll just shut that off." Thus my day begins: as your body grows bigger, your mind must flower, it's great to learn 'cause knowledge is power! Chris Todd: starting QB despite missing spring drills. Is make joke Jay G. because no funny!
But then I played through the video, in which Kodi gamely answers question after question with no waver in his voice but an expression that says didn't you hear me say I'm going to go pray about this?
You have to say this of the guy - and I agree with the Chiznik - he's resilient. Chris Todd is going nowhere until they make him go. Shoulder? Shoulder shmoulder. Mentor ousted mid-season? Still a tiger. Missed spring practice? He'd rather be there for two-a-days anyway. And by God, that kind of persistence is bound to pay off. So my hat's off to him.
I can't speak for his arm, but as I remember - and I can't be bothered to dig up the post at THABOTN - folks have been complaining about him stinging fingers all summer practice. Maybe his shoulder's finally back to it's original, Favre-ian levels. I sure hope so. I really, really hope so.
In that first moment of incredulity, I was tempted to write something snide and/or panicky. Sure would have been easy. But the fact of the matter is that Franklin heavily favored Todd and has since high school, Mike Leach at one point named him heir to the Red Raider stat sheet, Tuberville let him split reps with our then-heir-apparent, and now Malzahn is also buying in. Franklin, I could dismiss as a Svengali. Tuberville, I could believe he just didn't have his head in the game. Leach, I could contend that he made that decision prior to Todd's shoulder injury. But when Malzahn names Todd the starter after only seeing him in summer ball... there's just got to be something there. Maybe, just maybe, I don't know as much as Malzahn, Leach, and Franklin put together.
So given the consensus of experts, I'm going to consider this issue settled and hold my tongue at least through our first drive versus La-Tech. But just for good measure... at some point last season, we were left with this distinct impression:
By all accounts, the arm is back. Let's put one of those beefy arms back on him for good measure:
Spread Eagle 2009
One thing we know for sure is that this is not going to be a spread a la West Virginia or Florida with the constant threat of a running quarterback. As we discovered almost immediately last season, Chris Todd can't sell the zone read because he can't run fast enough to challenge SEC defenders - the defense chases the tailback because they know they can react to the white boy, and what we end up with is a play-action quarterback draw. With a slow, slow quarterback. The sheer crazy-like-a-fox surprise Todd draw worked a couple times versus LSU, but that won't last long. Todd will get his bell rung and we'll be back to square one minus our anointed starter.
So I expect that while we will be a spread offense, we won't be a Pat White, Tim Tebow, Terrell Pryor, Colin Kaepernick, etc. type of spread offense. We'll spread the field from under center and run out of ace sets or a three-wide I-form. Perhaps picking Todd lends some credence to the coaching staff's insistence that we'll truly be a smash-mouth running team.
They're repping him at wideout... How on earth is he going to see the field if he is a freshman-quality wideout in his junior year of college? Even if we were a team that planned to rotate receivers, no one becomes a crisp route-runner overnight. Either Trooper Taylor has been smoke-screening his receivers with his effusions of praise - such that a previously-starting quarterback has a reasonable chance to compete - or Kodi has one year to get better than the guys who've already been doing it for two.
I don't know what's going through his head right now, but if I was recruited as a quarterback, played as a true freshman quarterback, contested for the starting job as quarterback the following year and into the spring and then suddenly was moved out of the backfield entirely, I'd be wondering how valuable I was to the team. Burns reportedly said "I'm mature enough to handle this." To be honest, Kodi, I'm a 26-year-old married doctor and I don't know if I'd be mature enough to handle that.
The other possibility is that Kodi is going to be a wildcat wingback/receiver - basically, a dedicated reverse-passer. In which case, he is now by default competing with Super Mario for touches. If I was either of those guys, I'd be looking at this situation and saying "What the hell?" How is it that two of the most physically gifted players on our team are also its most homeless? Why are we making our gene-pool lotto winners into hobos and then makin' 'em fight? What I think would be most depressing is if one of them wins - the other would be essentially a wasted talent, and wasted time. Especially if Kodi wins: he'd be re-demoted from starting QB to gimmick-in-service-of-the-alabaster-statue. Surely there must be a way to get both of these guys reliable positions. Surely.
I must not know an awful lot. War Damn Eagle.