Jason Caldwell

Friday Mailbag Column: Auburn vs. Louisville

Jason Caldwell from Inside The Auburn Tigers/AUTigers.com answers the pressing questions as the Tigers prepare to face Louisville in the season opener.

alcar7: Do you think we will see more in the screen game this year both from the WR's and RB's? The last successful one I recall off the top of my head is Sammie in 2013 @ A&M.

I think the Tigers will use the screen game a lot more as almost an extended handoff at time. I could see both Ricardo Louis and Jason Smith both being very involved in that part of the offense.

 

ToomersForever: Are the communication mentions that we have seen from our coaches about our defense related to getting the calls in quickly from the sideline and communicated to the defense as a whole, or are they related to the adjustments in alignments and assignments within the various units?

I think the communication stems from them just getting guys lined up quickly enough. It’s part of the growing process for a defense, but once you narrow down the focus of the gameplan it should help them with those problems heading into game week.

 

auhambone: Do you see better production from the AU punting game this year in regards to hang time, length and punts downed inside the 20?

Daniel Carlson’s distance was actually pretty good last season, but the consistency was a major factor for Auburn. I believe Kevin Phillips can give them more consistent hang time and that’s big as far as coverage goes. Not allowing return yardage was a huge bonus in 2013 and that disappeared last year.

 

auhoppa: How have the WR's looked blocking downfield in the running game?

I think they should be fine in that department. They put a lot of emphasis on that aspect of the game and it’s one of the reasons why Auburn has been one of the best running teams in the country under Gus Malzahn.

 

ATLTiger07: If you had to bet, does AU have a 1,000 yard receiver this season?

I would say no just because I think Auburn has plenty of weapons to spread the ball around. I could see Duke Williams getting 800-900, but to get 1,000 is just too much I think. I believe Louis, Melvin Ray, Marcus Davis and Smith will all get plenty of touches as well.

 

AUviewpoint: How many rushes do would you guess for J. Johnson on Saturday, not counting scrambles on called pass plays or the inevitable kneels in Victory formation at the end?

I would say Jeremy will get 6-8 actually rushes on Saturday. I believe they need to run him just enough to keep the defense honest. Just showing you’re willing to keep it every once in a while could be just the thing to help break a long run later in the game.

 

howells: What are you looking for early while we are on defense that will tell you we are legitimately better? What plays do you see becoming more dangerous with the mix of players we have on offense this year compared to last?

The biggest thing for me will be to see how many players get to the football. Swarming defenses are a sign of an aggressive, hustling group. That’s the first thing I look for on any defense, especially early in the year. As for dangerous plays I really like the possibilities of throwing the ball to the backs and fullbacks. Could be big with the weapons at receiver and the need for defenses to focus on them.

 

nhill76: Do you expect Danzey or Dampeer to fill the role of blocking TE during short yardage situations?

Both are possibilities, but I’m leaning more towards Robert Leff or Will Adams right now. I think both of those guys fit the bill and could be used in those situations if Auburn decides to go that route.

 

24baldeagle: Gus compared Shon Coleman to Greg Robinson , do you think Gus is determined to ride that horse?

Not sure what horse he’s riding when making the comparison, but there is no question Coleman is going to be much improved this year. He played last season after taking basically four years off from the game of football. He should be better now with a little experience. I remember many fans wanting Greg Robinson to move to guard after 2012 and that worked out pretty well for him in his second year of playing time.

 

RoswellTiger: Is there a key matchup (between personel groups) in your opinion?  Maybe the same question or maybe a follow-up, are there any key matchup risks or opportunities to be mitigated or exploited?

I think the key is Auburn’s defensive line against Louisville’s young offensive line. The Tigers have to control the line of scrimmage on defense or it could be a long day. I think it’s a must.

 

wtbtiger: Will there be an additional official on the field this year? I know they did an evaluation last year. If it was approved , will this help AU in it's hurry up offense?

It’s available again this season and will be used in the SEC. I think it’s definitely something that works well with the hurry up offenses in today’s game.

 

justafanwde: What is the main difference in the S & C program with Russell now? I notice less lower extremity injuries, especially hammies.

Probably the biggest thing with Russell is his belief in running and motion. They’re always on the move and I think that creates better flexibility. They get after it in the weight room, but there is an emphasis on mobility, quickness, explosion, etc. That pays off and I think contributes to a healthier team for the most part.

 

WSlay: Do you think Gus will run more HUNH or hurry up and audible?

I think it all depends on the success they have running the football. If Auburn can get positive yardage on first down and set up manageable second and third downs it will allow them to speed things up. Facing a third and long requires a little more thought and therefore slows things down a little more.

 

autigerman: do you see Roc running out of the Pistol formation like we did with Dyer some?

I could see Roc and all of the backs in that formation some this season. With Jeremy taking the snap it could be a good way to run the power game with a one-back set or even with the H-Back in the slot. Definitely something that would give the defenses a different look to worry about.

 

aliasau: I have not heard much about Kris Frost and his performance in camp this year. I was very surprised when he considered the NFL . I just haven't seen him consistently perform at a high level and he was very undisplined at the end of last season.. Please give an update, this is a guy that I had high hopes of being a top level linebacker and so far he just hasn't showed that for me.

Kris Frost has been solid in fall camp, but with Tre Williams coming on it has made them have to bring it every day. Frost will continue to play and play a whole lot even if he’s not starting, but there’s still a strong possibility he’ll be on the field for the opening snap on Saturday. I believe at least four linebackers will play significant snaps on Saturday for the Tigers.


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