By Shane from Centerpoint
With the hiring of Tony Franklin and the installation of his spread offense, Coach Tommy Tuberville created an immediate splash of much needed recruiting hype, evidently to counter the relentless machine across the State – named Nick Saban. Tuberville apparently felt the need to do something. Franklin brought a quarterback, Chris Todd, with him who basically grew up running Franklinâ€™s offense. Kodi Burns, Tubervilleâ€™s hand-picked successor to Brandon Cox, was promised a starting job as the future of Auburnâ€™s offense. Now the two are locked in a battle for the starting job that may be quickly dividing the rest of the team into competing factions. A team divided can conquer itself.
A great deal of debate over the years has centered on whether it is better to have a designated starter or a two-quarterback system. Most experts believe that since the quarterback is the â€œfront manâ€ for the entire team there should be a single, established leader in place to maintain team continuity. The dangers and pitfalls involved in having two signal callers run the offense are well established and numerous.
Regardless of the denials or lack of political correctness involved, when race becomes an issue, the problem of who should run the offense can magnify and create dissension among teammates.
As evidence, I present the case of Andrew Zow and Tyler Watts at Alabama. Admittedly Coach Dennis Franchione was able to harness both playersâ€™ effectiveness, while keeping the team behind each quarterback during their 2002 senior season. However, the years before that were crippled by internal strife among the team because certain players wanted the â€œwhiteâ€ guy to run the show and others wanted the â€œblackâ€ guy behind center. This problem became a cancer that could have contributed to several losses that would not have happened had either Zow or Watts been named the number one guy. That is the truth.
Now we have a very similar situation down on The Plains. There is no way to spin the picture that the current situation between Burns and Todd presents. When you look deeper, the entire team seems to be in turmoil, with fights occurring between players of opposite colors. The mostly white offensive linemen are pitted against a large contingent of black defensive pass rushers in pass-blocking drills. The majority of the daily skirmishes are happening during this drill. Could these battles be an indicator that there is a racial tone beginning to surface about which man should be running the offense?
If the coaches donâ€™t get a grip on the reins in this situation the entire two-quarterback theory could blow up in Tubervilleâ€™s face. Team consistency and continuity depend so much on quarterback play that a controversy could cause a meltdown during the upcoming 2008 season.