Friday Mailbag Column: Covering All The Bases

Talking recruiting, football, basketball, baseball and softball in this week's mailbag.

alcar7: With Pat Miller leaving and assuming Kozan 100% what do you think is the best starting OL group to start against Louisville next year?

If Kozan is ready to go in the fall I think the group would be Shon Coleman at left tackle, Alex Kozan at left guard, Xavier Damper/Austin Golson at center, Braden Smith at right guard and Avery Young at right tackle.

aubtime: how many if any of our recruits could not make it in grade wise? I hear we have a couple with issues.

Obviously, that’s still to be determined, but I don’t think anybody has a long way to go. Richard McBryde has some work to do with D'Anfernee McGriff also there as well, but nothing that makes either a huge risk.

auhambone: What are AU's chances with some signing day surprises?

That’s always a chance when you’re talking about having seven spots still open. With that being said I’m not expecting them to have any off the wall names on signing day unless something strange happens.

coreyc: 11 regular season basketball games left; if the over/under on number of wins for those games was 4, which way would you lean & why? If over, list the games you think we'll win.

At this point it would be a stretch for me to think they can win more than four. LSU is a bad matchup for this team and so is Georgia. I think they can beat Ole Miss, Alabama and maybe Missouri. It is difficult for me to see another one victory.

justafanwde: Do you feel that our staff for 2015 is in place or could there be more changes to come and why either way?

I believe the staff is in place, but I would never rule out the possibility of a change after signing day. I have been doing this too long to never say never.

tunicatiger: Besides Jefferson, is there any other major target which Coach Thompson had previously been the lead recruiter for?

Lance Thompson was the lead recruiter for Kerryon Johnson while he was at Alabama. I think he did some recruiting of Jeff Holland as well and I am not sure if there was anyone else. However, he knew some of the other guys.

Actman: Last year the strength of our recruiting class was our DB's. Add in Tre Mathews. Who do you see as our ONES and TWOS in our secondary going into and coming out of spring?

Right now Jonathan Jones is the safest bet in the secondary at one of the corner spots. I think Stephen Roberts is going to be either first or second-team at corner as well after he moved there during bowl practices. I’m not sure where Tim Irvin or Josh Holsey end up in the spring, but I think both will be used in the nickel position. I have a feeling Kalvaraz Bessent could make some noise this spring as well.

At safety I like Tray Matthews and Derrick Moncrief along with Johnathan Ford, Nick Ruffin and Markell Boston. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Ford get at least a look back at corner.

Rick4AU: Any chance turning up the heat on Norton could help with Holland, which would then end up helping with Cowart and CeCe? Or do you feel we've already got Holland and the "trio" thing was a thing that would never happen?

I am always skeptical of “package deals” because over the years I have heard that time and time again and it rarely happens. In the end guys have to choose the best school for them, but it makes for a good story. As for Norton I don’t think it would have much of an impact.

24baldeagle: Have you seen DT RSF Russell in action personally? CRG says he does everything well. Coach speak ?

I saw Dontavius Russell play in high school and I really like his explosion at the point of attack. I think heis a guy who will be tough to keep out of the starting lineup by the time they get ready for Louisville next season.

aubtime: After reading about some of the highly ranked players I was wondering could J Diamond get a 6 year if he wanted. I know he is a Jr but he has missed 3 years.

I think Jordan would be eligible for a sixth year, but will have to petition for that following his final season. We will not know until then whether or not that could happen.

RalphieParker: Do you think Marshawn Lynch is justified in his defiance, or is just being a (a jerk)?

I think Lynch is justified to do anything he wants to do. I don’t agree with it and I think it’s silly, but if he’s willing to keep looking that way then whatever floats his boat. My problem is with the media who keep asking him questions. Let him fade into the twilight.

howells: Who you got Sunday? How many tds and ints for Brady?

I just don’t think the Patriots have enough weapons to stretch the field against the Seahawks. If you can’t hit big plays it’s just too tough to drive the ball and score on them. I like Seattle to win 27-17. As for Brady I’ll go with two touchdowns and one interception.

ATLTiger07: It seems like every year there is a guy like Jamie Collins or Jordan Matthews that wants to come to AU but doesn't get the offer. Who's a guy in this class you think could have NFL potential but is going overlooked by Auburn?

There are two guys from Georgia that I really like. One is Daniel Imatorbhebhe heading to Florida and the other is T.J. Rahming going to Duke. I really like Imatorbhebhe as a hybrid tight end. He’s going to stretch the field for the Gators. Rahming is undersized, but will be really good for the Blue Devils.

TIGER45: Exactly where do you and Mark spend the day on signing day? Any updates on GG Rob?

Mark will be at our offices early in the day to run things from central command. I’ll be at the Auburn athletic complex trying to get a feel for things there. As for G.G. Robinson it still looks like he’s going to visit Florida this weekend. The good news about him is he knows everything there is to know about Auburn so I guess there is always a chance he could still sign with the Tigers.

aumasters: Forget stars, in your opinion which 5 of our possible signees do you expect to be All Sec caliber players down the road?

I’m not including the early guys because all of them have that ability IMO. I’ll go with Kerryon Johnson, Kaleb Kim, Darrell Williams, Jordan Colbert and Montavious Atkinson just off the top of my head. I think all of those guys are going to be great fits for the Tigers.

tunicatiger: Looking at the predicted softball standings, what is Jason Caldwell's confidence level that second year Coach M and the Lady Tigers finish ahead of the projections and finish in the upper echelon this season?

My confidence level for the Auburn softball program is very high. With everyone coming back and more pitching depth I think the Tigers are going to be better than last season. That is good enough to put them in the top half.

josecolsga: Will CSG be the baseball coach at AU next year?

I can’t see into the future, but I would be surprised if he wasn’t. I do think the Tigers need to show some improvement this season in year two.

wireblue: With baseball tickets just going out, what can we look for to be excited about with Golloway's team this year?

That’s a good question. I think some new blood in the field is going to exciting to watch, in particular juco transfers Cody Nulph and Alex Polston at short and third for the Tigers. Both have the ability to be really good players, especially defensively. That is the first key for this team to go along with the pitching. The Tigers have got to find a solid second and third option behind Keegan Thompson.

mgmzebra: These guys are hired employees, or GA's with min wage money? Listing of the unseen and often unknown worker bees that contribute to the well being of the team; with a little bio info please.

You’ve got guys like Brandon Wheeling, Cam Clark, Ryan Aplin, Travis Williams, Eric Link, Bobby Bentley and Levorn Harbin that help out behind the scenes. Wheeling played at Georgia when Rodney Garner was there. Aplin played as the QB at Arkansas State. Auburn fans know Travis Williams, who was an outstanding linebacker for the Tigers. Clark played at Harding and has coached at Faulkner and Arkansas State. Link was previously at Auburn as a grad assistant and is back after coaching tight ends and special teams at Montana State. Harbin was a former grad assistant at Auburn that is back after coaching the DL at Tuskegee.

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