AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -Auburn tailback Brad Lester called up his bank the other day looking for his account balance.
Instead, he got the question: ``Who's the starting quarterback?''
If only his account included $1 for every time that's come up. Coach Tommy Tuberville said Tuesday inquiring fans will likely have to wait until the 10th-ranked Tigers' opener Saturday night against Louisiana-Monroe for an answer.
Junior college transfer Chris Todd and sophomore Kodi Burns - or vice versa - both expect to play in the game. Both say they have no idea when they'll find out who gets to take the first snap.
Tuberville said the down-to-the-wire competition is a good thing.
``It hasn't been that both have done bad or both have done great,'' he said. ``It's just that both have been very consistent. The players rally around both of them.
``It's a great situation for us. Both will be hungry to play, and I want it that way. I want them both to be very competitive but I also want both of them to know they're on the same team.''
The competition is so close Tuberville said the starter could boil down to the first dozen or so scripted plays and who is best suited to run them.
In the meantime, the contenders who have battled throughout spring and fall practices can just work and wait.
``I guess we'll find out when everybody else finds out,'' Todd said. ``Y'all know just as much as I know, so we'll see.''
Added Burns: ``I know that I'm going to be out there and I know I'll be playing, so I'm not worried about it. I think we're both going to play.''
They do bring different assets to the field. Todd, a onetime Texas Tech signee, has more experience in systems similar to coordinator Tony Franklin's spread offense. He might have an edge in passing. Burns is the better runner and scrambler.
Lester said each of them can do both. Tuberville said both have also shown the ability to ad-lib on broken plays.
``The thing about Kodi is he's still in the learning mode,'' he said. ``Chris has been in this offense since diapers. He's been running it forever. Without a big separation, I think it's great on Kodi's part to be able to catch up and learn. Chris has been a big part of that. Chris has been helping him out.''
That's another key point for a lingering quarterback battle: Making sure it doesn't divide the team into opposing camps. Tuberville said he asked the seniors for their opinion when they came to his house late last week for a steak dinner. He said leadership will be a key factor in the decision.
Both contenders say teammates have approached them and said they should be the starter. They have to be guarded in their response.
``We know what's best for the team,'' Burns said. ``We can't let this divide the team at all between me and Chris. We've got to stay strong as quarterbacks and not let our individual things get in the way of our team goals.''
While bank employees, fans and media fret over what the final decision will be, defensive end Antonio Coleman said the guys on the other side of the ball aren't giving it too much thought.
``We really don't care,'' Coleman said. ``We're worried about what we're going to do on Saturday. We'll let the offense handle their business.''
Notes: Tuberville said DE Raven Gray, one of the team's most heralded signees, will redshirt to give his surgically repaired knee more time to heal. OL Chaz Ramsey also might be a redshirt candidate after undergoing back surgery. ... WR Montez Billings is not likely to play in the game because of a hamstring injury and RB-KR Tristan Davis is questionable with an ankle injury. ... WR Robert Dunn is in Tuberville's doghouse. The former starter is listed as a fourth-teamer in the preseason depth chart.

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