By Michael McCoy
In the sixth line of the Auburn Creed, George Petrie states, "I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all." Petrie was speaking for past, present, and future generations of Auburn men and women, and today Kodi Burns helped to show that the kids are alright. By now, Auburn fans both far and wide have learned that Chris Todd has been named Auburn's starting quarterback for the upcoming season. Yet despite the large amount of interest this quarterback competition has generated in recent months, Chris Todd was merely a peripheral figure in tonight's unfolding drama. He'll have his time in the coming weeks and months. Front and center tonight, however, stood Kodi Burns, embodying the spirit of George Petrie's Auburn Creed over sixty-five years later.
The Auburn Creed speaks of things like hard work and honesty and truthfulness, without which one cannot win the respect and confidence of his or her fellow man. Kodi gamely faced the press after tonight's late practice to share his perspective on the events of the day. It was a remarkably articulate and intelligent perspective given that this young man had just seen his dream of playing quarterback for Auburn come to a bitter end. Kodi readily admitted to feeling jaded about last year's quarterback race and how it was handled (though he still handled that with class as well), labeling it 'nonsense', but he stressed that the new coaching staff had given him and everyone else a fair shot. He was thankful for that and, while disappointed, he is ready to do whatever else he can to help the team move on from here.
That process began earlier in the day before practice with what Coach Chizik termed a "truly, truly, inspirational" speech from Kodi to his teammates at the end of a team meeting. Kodi spoke of the love which he felt for each and every one of his teammates and he looked forward to having this team come together behind Chris Tood as its quarterback. When asked about the possibility of transferring, Kodi shrugged it off by saying, "I've been here two years. It's been a lot of ups and downs here at Auburn, and it's been a tough road. But I'm not the type of person who is going to run from it. I'm here. I love Auburn. I'm an Auburn guy. So even though things don't work out, I've got a lot to offer this team." I think we've seen something of the human touch the Auburn Creed speaks of in Kodi Burns tonight. Kodi continued, "Things happen for a reason...I'm not going to let the circumstances dictate the content of my character." We begin to see why Coach Chizik said earlier tonight that he couldn't be more proud of a player than he was today and how Kodi handled everything.
If Auburn goes on to have any kind of success on the football field this season, I'll look back to the events of tonight as the genesis of any such success. Nothing that happened tonight guarantees success in the coming months, but surely a foundation has been laid down to assure that this season's version of the Auburn Tigers will meet all challenges as a group of young men, Auburn men, working together and fighting for each other. Kodi is an Auburn man regardless of what the future holds for him on a football field, and his words and actions tonight exude the qualities George Petrie spoke of in the Auburn Creed, and because Auburn men like Kodi Burns believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it. War Eagle!