Caudle Hoping to Spring Forward

Neil Caudle

Quarterback Neil Caudle discusses his performance so far in spring training.

Auburn, Ala.--With two of the four quarterbacks not participating in passing drills for much of spring practice, Neil Caudle has been a busy member of the Auburn football team.

With junior Chris Todd and freshman DeRon Furr trying to recover from arm problems, Caudle and Kodi Burns have gotten all of the opportunities in practice a quarterback could ask for this spring. Todd did some limited passing in Tuesday's practice, but Furr is not expected to throw for another two weeks after being injured in the opening scrimmage of the spring.

"With those guys having those injuries, me and Kodi have gotten a lot more reps--a lot more chances to get better," says Caudle, who will be a redshirt sophomore this fall. "We are trying to take advantage of it."

Quarterback coach and new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin says he has seen Caudle make progress, but he wants to see the QB make fewer mistakes when throwing the football into coverage.

"So far I have made a few good plays and I am improving on a lot of things, but I still have to get a lot better though and be a lot more consistent," Caudle says.

Even when the other quarterbacks are able to throw again, Caudle won't have to worry about getting rusty because Franklin wants to have five quarterbacks at practice with each one making a large number of passes. On a variety of drills, balls are thrown almost simultaneously to five receivers.

"With this offense, we get in twice as many plays in a practice," Caudle points out. "That helps out a lot and it really shores up our game."

Caudle notes that he believes he and Burns are adjusting to the large number of passes they throw in practice in Franklin's offensive system. "I think our arms are getting used to it now," says the quarterback, who notes that a weekend off from workouts with Saturday's scrimmage postponed and the Tigers not returning to practice until Tuesday is probably a good thing. "We definitely needed this little bit of rest," he says. "I think our arms are getting used to it now."

Although the quarterback from Spain Park High is more known for his passing than his running ability, he has shown quickness when he puts the football under his arm on keepers and has shown the potential to be effective as a ball carrier. "I like to think I am quick," he says. "I am just trying to show the coaches I can run the ball a little bit out here."

With eight practices in the books and seven more remaining this spring, Caudle says he is working on improving his throwing touch and deep balls. "I am also working on my placement of the ball, being a lot more accurate on all of my throws," he notes.

Commenting on what he believes he is doing best this spring, the QB says, "I am throwing the short game well, I think. I will have a bad ball here or there, but overall the short game has gone well."

The major big picture assignment for Auburn's quarterback is making sure the offense moves the football and puts points on the scoreboard. Caudle says he is seeing signs the Tigers are improving in those areas. "The offense has gotten a lot better since the start of spring practice," he says. "Top to bottom, we have all shored up our game a lot. I really like this offense."

Caudle and the Tigers will practice on Thursday before taking time off for the university's spring break that runs throughout next week.

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