Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country
Auburn's wide receiving group has been successful under the direction of Kodi Burns.

Who should get credit for success of Auburn wide receivers?

SEC Country wants to tackle the best questions from Auburn football and basketball fans. Look for our Auburn Question of the Day most weekdays. Go here to see all of our previous answers. 

Is the recent wide receiver success due to Kodi Burns’ coaching or Jarrett Stidham being Auburn’s quarterback?

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn’s offense was more balanced during the 2017 season than it had been at any other point during Gus Malzahn’s time on the Plains.

In Chip Lindsey’s first year as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator, Auburn climbed from last in the SEC to fifth in passing offense. A trio of receivers amassed more than 500 passing yards, which included a single-season record for Ryan Davis, who had 84 receptions.

Part of that, of course, had to do with who was delivering those passes. Jarrett Stidham ended up being Auburn’s second 3,000-yard passer in school history and will be the first to return.

There’s no debating his skill set, even with a couple of frustrating games, was the reason for the Tigers’ success. Without him, Malzahn’s team is watching the SEC Championship Game instead of playing in it.

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In sports, whether it be at the youth or professional level, players typically get credit for wins and coaches get blamed for losses. Not all the time, but enough to generalize. That was the case with Auburn last season.

Auburn’s wide receiving group isn’t perfect. There will be a lot of young players who stumble upon chances to impress this summer and once games start in September. That’s even more so the case since the injuries to Eli Stove and Will Hastings.

First and foremost, the receivers themselves deserve credit. Auburn didn’t boast the most talented unit in the country or the conference, but striving for excellence was the goal. Early on last season players voiced the goal: to be the best receiver group in the nation.

A player like Davis doesn’t have a season like he did without his ability — or without Stidham or Lindsey. Still, there’s one more important person in the equation.

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Kodi Burns doesn’t get talked about much. He’s one of the younger members of Malzahn’s staff and had an up-and-down career as an Auburn player, but in his short time as a position coach, Burns has shown he can develop talent — more importantly, he can spot and sign it.

That has by far been Burns’ biggest strength since he’s been at Auburn. Developing players and coaching athletes up is one thing, but you have to have them first.

Burns has earned praise for the way the youthful coach connects with players and the type of relationships he forms with guys in his room. He’s who Auburn’s receivers will spend the most time with once they arrive on campus, so he’s arguably the most important person in the mix.