Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
It's Chris Todd's show. Finally.
After the circus that was Auburn's offense last season, shoulder problems that admittedly made Todd a hesitant quarterback and then shoulder surgery in December, he came from the back of the pack to win the Tigers' starting quarterback job this preseason.
It might be a surprise to some that Todd emerged as the victor in a quarterback race that appeared jumbled when practice began. But it's not a surprise to the persistent senior from Elizabethtown, Ky.
It's been a whirlwind for him. He started his career at Texas Tech, moved on to junior college from there, followed Tony Franklin to Auburn and then became the forgotten man after Franklin was fired at midseason last year.
But here he is, still standing and poised to lead Auburn's spread offense.
Todd sat down with me last week to discuss where he's been and where he's going:
Were you even close to being able to throw the football like you wanted to last season because of the shoulder?
Chris Todd: It was more a deal where you had to be smart with what you were doing, making sure you threw the ball on time and getting the ball placement just right. It wasn't always going to come out the way I wanted it to with any pop, especially down the field.
Were you hesitant on certain throws?
CT: Yeah, a lot of times you question yourself whether you can make the throw. No quarterback wants to go through that.
What was your mindset going into preseason practice, and how open did you think the competition would really be?
CT: I knew I was going to be behind the eight ball. It was going to be a deal where there was a very short window of opportunity, just because spring's a big deal along with the summer, and I was so limited in the summer. I knew whatever opportunity I got that I was going to have to take advantage of. I knew that going in and knew that I would have less of an opportunity than some of the others that had been there.
What did you do to separate yourself?
CT: Really, it was the first time I could get out there and show this coaching staff what I could do throwing the ball. My arm was back. They hadn't been able to see me throw it the way I can, and I wanted to make sure they got to see that.
You were Franklin's guy. When he was fired at midseason last year, did you think you had much of a future here?
CT: The whole situation was tough, but I've gone through some trials. Even going from Texas Tech to junior college was a whole different world. Getting there and then dealing with my (shoulder) injury during the season. But I'm a strong believer that obstacles are going to come at you, and there are situations you have to deal with. But it makes you stronger when you make it through those things. Sometimes you feel that nobody else believes in you. But as long as you believe in yourself, you can make it through any situation.
Making it through the ordeal you did sort of goes hand-in-hand with what it takes to survive at the quarterback position, doesn't it?
CT: I think playing with a bad arm might have helped my decision-making just because I had to be so smart with the ball. That just sort of sticks with you.
What is this offense going to look like?
CT: We're going to use a lot of different parts of the game. We're going to have a strong running game, a good passing game. I think we'll do a lot of short stuff, some intermediate stuff and take quite a few shots down the field with play-action out of the shotgun. There are a lot of different ways to exploit a defense. This offense brings together a lot of different aspects.
Did it ever cross your mind last year about leaving and going somewhere else?
CT: That was an option, but it was one I didn't really consider that much. The biggest thing was that I wanted to get in there and get the surgery done and really just try to focus on getting back to where I was healthy. I knew if I did that, there was still a chance for me to play here.