Caudle finally getting shot at QB

Published 4:44 pm Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who said practice doesn’t pay off … and practice, practice and even more practice?

That’s about all Auburn University backup quarterback Neil Caudle has known the past few years, as he sat on the sidelines during his junior and senior seasons of high school with knee injuries, and only saw the playing field on the Plains for a limited amount of time last year.

Caudle, a redshirt sophomore last year, took over the Auburn offense with 3:10 remaining in its homecoming game against Tennessee-Martin. He marched the Tigers 47 yards in eight plays to the UTM 10 before game’s end. He was 4-of-5 passing for 32 yards and rushed once for 4 yards in his first playing time as a Tiger.

Caudle rose to No. 2 on the depth chart late last season.

But will he only be No. 2 in September?

Word from the Plains over the weekend was that Caudle may get his shot this year, as new offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is splitting time between Caudle and Kodi Burns during the first week of practice.

For Caudle, this is a good sign.

Malzahn likes the spread offense, or whatever you want to call what he’ll run this year. So does Caudle, who was ranked as one of the top high school quarterbacks in the nation his senior year as a spread QB.

Malzahn’s offense is expected to be fast paced. Some may think it’s a good dual threat role for Burns, but take a look at Malzahn’s previous two stops at Tulsa and Arkansas. He likes the Wildcat formation, or wildtiger as it may get called this year.

To me, the best option is to put Caudle under center to put his experience to work, and bring Burns in at random, select times, allowing him to really become a threat under center with his legss as he develops his arm’s accuracy and understanding of pressure situations in the SEC.

With A-Day three weeks away, it’ll be interesting to see how the quarterback situation shapes up come April 18.