Friday Mailbag: Recruiting, Hoops And More

Talking Auburn football recruiting, basketball, spring football and more in this week's edition of the Friday Mailbag.

gtwstock: The coaches have suggested that having Cinmeon Bowers change his Free Throw form in the middle of the season is a bad idea.....I am thinking that how bad could it get when he is making 45% now and been consistently at that number for the season. Do you think we should just have someone totally change his mechanics and start over from the FT line?

I agree that it couldn’t make things much worse at the moment. A slight change in form could help him some. I am not sure you want to do anything drastic during the season, however.

aunatchamps: Similar FT question for Reed. Can you ask Coach Pearl or whoever coaches the players free throw shooting to try having Reed who consistently shoots too long on FT to shoot the same shot but step back 4 inches and see if it helps. Can't hurt.

I’m sure they are looking at all the possibilities for these guys when coaching them up shooting free throws.

deceks7: Has anyone from Auburn approached the College Baseball HOF about a nomination for Frank Thomas to be inducted?

I believe Auburn has talked about Frank Thomas for consideration to inducted into the College Baseball HOF. The last group had just one player his age or younger and that was Alex Fernandez from Miami. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was in there soon.

aunatchamps: What are the chances Michael Dyer gets drafted, free agent and will he make it in the NFL or practice squad?

I think the chances are slim that Dyer will get drafted, but he could be a sixth or seventh rounder. I just don’t think he’s a guy NFL teams will be willing to take a shot on at this point in his career. He will have a shot to make a team, but with his history I don’t like his chances.

givhandy: Knowing we will get a group of young men who are dedicated to playing great football for Auburn on February 4, do you predict any BIG surprises on February 4? When does spring practice get started?

I definitely think there could be some surprises on signing day for the Tigers. Guys like Byron Cowart, Terry Beckner and Arden Key could all sign with Auburn on Feb. 4 if things go well in the next month. That would be huge moving forward for the defense. Spring practice is scheduled to start March 10.

Tigerchris: Jason, Our of the redshirt guys, who do you think impacts our team next year?

Dontavius Russell is the top guy I’m looking at to make an impact right away. I believe he would have played this season if Rodney Garner had seen what life was going to be like at defensive tackle during the 2014 season. Two other guys I like are Kamryn Pettway at fullback/H-Back and Myron Burton at wide receiver. I think both could be impact guys.

tunicatiger: Does the baseball team have a set roster for the spring and what realistic expectations should the average fan have for the upcoming season?

The roster is pretty much set. I think there are a few decisions to be made to cut to the final roster, but overall the group is done. As for the expectations I think it’s going to be a very difficult year for the Tigers, mainly because of the schedule. The league slate is probably the toughest I have ever seen with road trips at Texas A&M, Mississippi State, LSU, South Carolina and Florida. Throw in Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama at home and I think somewhere around 15-15 would have to be considered as a good record.

TIGER45: Heard anything about if we'll make any changes in who coaches special teams next season? Do you suppose that won't be determined until the last hire is made?

I haven’t heard anything on that front other than rumors. Scott Fountain is still working hard and is expected to be on the road next week recruiting.

GvilleTiger28: Jason: Have you ever felt genuinely sorry for a college football recruit/prospect because he either had no idea where he wanted to go but was pressured into committing or was given bad information or steered in the wrong direction by "bad actors" influencing him? If you care to site specific examples, please do.

I have too many of those examples to think about, but one is probably Brent Calloway. No question in my mind he wanted to be at Auburn, but that wasn’t going to happen.

tigerau:Do you think Florida hiring Cowart's HS coaches gives them the advantage over Auburn for his commitment?

It doesn’t hurt Florida’s chances, but I still think Florida State may be the biggest competition. Auburn’s need for defensive linemen and getting a group of guys that want to play together could end up being big for the Tigers.

Byron Cowart

pratac: In your interview with Cowart, he mentioned D Linemen either graduating or leaving because of lack of PT. So first, your take (quantities) on those with eligibility that won't be back and then, how will that impact our overall recruiting numbers? If we have 5 that could count back to last year plus the 25, would we have enough slots (on the 85) to go the full 30 including the mid-year guys? It would be great to have a few more slots with all the late attention we're seeing with the new D staff.

I think the most Auburn would sign this year is 28, but I still think the number is going to be 25 or 26. That leaves about five or six spots right now. With at least six defensive linemen not returning next season, including Jabrian Niles, that’s the biggest area of need for the Tigers in 2015.

nhill76: do you think the staff would convert Patrick Miller into a blocking TE if he is not among the starting 5 offensive lineman since he has a hard time gaining and retaining weight?

I don’t see Miller doing anything other than starting at right tackle next season. I believe he’ll be on the right side with Shon Coleman still at left tackle. To me it looks like more of three-back roles next season for the team with Kamryn Pettway and Chandler Cox getting a lot of reps. The extra tight end in short yardage could be Robert Leff or Will Adams.

Rickster14: When will we hear some more news on the football coaching staff, and who might be hired?

I think we’ll have a pretty good idea before the middle of next week. The coaching convention ends next Wednesday and coaches can hit the road on Thursday. They want to have everyone in place by then if possible.

68Tiger: Where is Bobby Bentley?

Bobby is still with Auburn and as far as I can tell nothing has changed with him. I saw him in the office on Thursday.

AUBnMD: How many (more) basketball players do you think AU can & will sign before next season who have not already signed?

Auburn is looking to sign a big man and preferably that would be commitment Horace Spencer from Las Vegas. He is really playing well and would finish off a really good group for the Tigers. If that doesn’t happen then they’ll be looking hard to find another big man.

Actman: Trayvon Reed has been with the team close to a month. No classes, full attention to basketball. Report was he had few offensive skills, but would be a post defender. Coach Pearl - in an interview - said Reed has to earn his minutes. What is your assessment of his play/development to date?

He has got some offensive and defensive skills, but is so far behind in terms of his knowledge of the offense and defense. That makes it tough for him to keep up in the heat of the action. Because of that I’m expecting him to just be a spot player the rest of this year, but he’s got a real chance to be a good one. With his hands and feet, if he can get bigger and stronger he’s got NBA potential.

eagle70: What prospect that isn't already committed would you most like to see ink with the Auburn Tigers on signing day?

This one is pretty easy for me. Byron Cowart is as good as I have seen in a few years. I think he’s an instant impact player at defensive end and could be a terror opposite Carl Lawson.

aunatchamps: When does our contract with Under Armour run out and do you see us going with another provider, and if so, which one?

Auburn’s contract with Under Armour runs out in 2015-16. I’m sure there will be other suitors, but I think the Tigers will be with Under Armour when the next deal comes through.

aunatchamps: Now that we have great dorms and cafeteria, what do you see as the next upgrade that we need to keep up with the Joneses of college football to attract the best recruits?

Really the next upgrade I see is to make the locker rooms, both at the stadium and complex, more luxurious. They are good now, but with the upgrades that most of the teams in the league have made Auburn needs to make more room in my opinion.

howells: Over under timeframe on significant Jordan Hare improvements? I'm talking 100m+

I would think 2020 would be about the time for something to get done. I can’t imagine anything starting in the next few years considering they are still in the research stage.

mgmzebra: Your best guess at the OLINE 2 deep chart going into spring by position please.

With Alex Kozan sitting out of the spring I think you’ll see Shon Coleman at left tackle, Avery Young at left guard, Xavier Dampeer/Austin Golson at center, Braden Smith at right guard and Patrick Miller at right tackle. The second group could be Robert Leff at left tackle, Devonte Danzey at left guard, Deon Mix at center, Jordan Diamond at right guard and Will Adams at right tackle. You also have Tyler Carr and Bailey Sharp that could make some noise, particularly Sharp at tackle.


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