Jason's Friday Mailbag: Arkansas Week

Inside The Auburn Tigers' Jason Caldwell answers your questions as the Tigers get ready for the season opener against Arkansas.

hoochtiger: What is your biggest guess on how the quarterback rotation will play out?

I’m expecting to see Nick Marshall play sometime during the first half, but definitely just a guess there. While Jeremy Johnson is very capable of leading Auburn to a win, Marshall is Auburn’s starter and they’ll want to get him on the field.

WSPTIGER: Will Braden Smith be in the goal line package like Coleman last year?

I believe we’ll see Braden Smith on some special teams and he could definitely be used as an extra tight end down the line. It may be something we see early, but with Brandon Fulse and C.J. Uzomah they may stick with the veterans in the opener.

Jello1: What player will play a larger than expected role on defense?

The guy that I believe will play a larger role than expected is junior college transfer Davonte Lambert. A physical player with plenty of size to play inside and outside, I think Lambert is going to be bring some push from the edge for the Tigers early.

howells: Have we been practicing a lot of three down linemen sets?

Auburn has worked some with three down linemen and Cassanova McKinzy as the edge rusher and fourth guy, but I don’t think it’s something we’ll see a lot of against Arkansas. Probably going to be used more in week two against San Jose State and later against teams such as Ole Miss and Texas A&M.

ATLTiger07: Where do you see the most leadership coming from both sides of the ball?

Offensively, the leadership comes from Nick Marshall and Reese Dismukes. Marshall has really stepped up that part of his game as has Dismukes. On the defensive side of the ball guys like Jeffrey Whitaker, Gabe Wright and Kris Frost are just a few of the guys in a leadership role this preseason.

Reese Dismukes is a big leader for the Tigers.

dagwood85: Can you shed some light on defensive line recruiting?

Auburn has one commitment from Jauntavius Johnson, but the Tigers are still very much recruiting several guys up front. Wanting to sign 4-5 is the goal for Rodney Garner and with names like Daron Payne and D’Andre Walker still uncommitted, the Tigers aren’t in a panic mode. Last season at this time Dontavius Russell and Davonte Lambert were both committed elsewhere so still plenty of time between now and February.

AUViewpoint: How do you see a wet field impacting Auburn?

I don’t believe a wet field would have a huge impact on Auburn because Pat Dye Field, even when wet, doesn’t get sloppy. That’s when things can get interesting. I believe a windy day would have much more impact than the possibility of rain.

DCCPT: Is Josh Holsey 100 percent? If not why not start Trovon Reed?

Josh Holsey should be fine and ready to go when the Tigers line up Saturday. They have been extra careful with him this preseason to make sure his knee is good to go. If they didn’t think he was ready they wouldn’t put him in the starting lineup. They have Trovon Reed on the field side behind Jonathan Jones at the moment.

Actman: Looking at the two-deep where are your first and second areas of concern?

There is no question that the first area of concern for me is the punting game. Daniel Carlson is a very good kicker and should do fine in that role, but he’s never really worked on being a punter before. Punting is something that requires very good technique and I think it could be a struggle for Carlson early on. After that it’s probably just depth behind Justin Garrett. I like the guys athletically, but they’ve never had to step up in that role before.

Thrill22: How is the starting five offensive line group working together?

The offensive line should once again be one of the strengths of the team in my opinion. Having guys who have been there before and having a full preseason to work together should have them ready to go.

dtiger: How is the pass rush without Dee Ford and Carl Lawson?

It’s going to be a different type of pass rush this season, especially early in the year as the Tigers try to settle into their roles. I believe the pass rush, at least initially, needs to come from the inside out. That means getting a push from the tackles to allow the defensive ends to work against single blocking. The key guys in that role to me will be Angelo Blackson and Montravius Adams. Both have the ability to become big-time pass rushers in the middle of the Auburn defense.

Angelo Blackson will be counted on to provide a push for the Tigers.

spiritssoaratjordanhare: Do you have any idea of the status of Jaylon Denson?

Jaylon Denson is coming along fine after his knee injury last season. While he’s ready to go now I believe it will be a few more weeks until we see him get back into the mix. The tough part for him is finding a spot on the field because of the depth at the position.

TIGER45: What do you and Mark carry with you to the games and where do you sit?

Those are two very different answers. As for Mark he’ll have computer, camera, binoculars, game notes, notebook etc., all the things he needs to keep updated throughout the game from his seat in the press box. I’ll have my computer and video camera as well, but during the game I’m on the field with my camera. Mark will be sitting with Guy Rhodes and Stephen Atkinson in the press box while I’m roaming the sidelines.

Doesitreallyevenmatter: How much playing time do you expect Roc Thomas to get on Saturday?

I expect Roc to get into the game pretty early for the Tigers, perhaps the second or third series. Even though there are plenty of guys at the position, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get 6-8 carries if the game goes according to plan.

AUchild1: Based on the classification and experience, barring injury, shouldn’t Auburn’s front four be among the best in the conference?

I agree completely. Now is the time for Auburn’s experienced and talented defensive linemen to step up. Gabe Wright, Jeff Whitaker and Angelo Blackson are all NFL-type players in terms of strength and athleticism. If they can turn it on Auburn’s defense will take some big strides forward.

5xTiger: Does Jeff Whitaker have the quickness coming off his injury to be a run stopper this year?

I think Whitaker is better than ever following his season of watching last year. He doesn’t have to be explosive to do his job in the middle against the run, but he appears to gained a step back that was missing in 2012.

revBlogle: Will Roc Thomas return kicks?

Thomas is one of four guys listed as kickoff return men for the Tigers. That usually means he’ll get a chance during the game to get into the mix. That will be especially true if Corey Grant gets a good bit of work at running back. Then Thomas could be used to give him a breather.

AU_Grind: If Jeremy Johnson does well is there a chance he stays in for the whole game?

I expect Jeremy to have a good game, but Marshall is Auburn’s starter. As soon as Malzahn is ready for Marshall to play I think we’ll see him in the game.

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