Jason Caldwell

Jason Caldwell's Thursday Mailbag Column: Auburn Football And Basketball

Jason Caldwell answers questions about Gus Malzahn's football team and Bruce Pearl's basketball Tigers.

eagle70: Do you think we will play well vs. Kentucky?

That’s a very good question and I just don’t know the answer. I will say that it’s almost now or never for this team coming off a bye week. This should be as ready as this team has been since the opener so the opportunity is there for improved play. It all begins with the quarterback, however. As the quarter back goes, the offense goes and so goes this Auburn team.


ATLtiger07: We are six weeks into the season and have no shortage of drama so far -- who is your pick for the SEC East, SEC West and SEC Champion?

I’ll still go with Georgia in the East, Texas A&M in the West and Texas A&M to win the league. I don't feel particularly good about any of that, however.


colliem: Question.  What are the astronomical odds that we start rough w/ White, Johnson comes in, finds his groove, and we play like Auburn is supposed to play?

There is no question in my mind that Jeremy Johnson has the potential to come out and have a big night, he’s done it before. As for it happening tonight I wouldn’t call it happening, but I wouldn’t be shocked.


turner14: What is your BOURBON of choice after a solid Auburn win?

I haven't had even a sip in almost six years so I’m the wrong person to ask, haha.


paau98: Which running back would you like to see in the slot from time to time? Kerryon or Roc? Just seems like it would be a way to get them on the field simultaneously

I like both of those guys on the field because they can do different things. I think Kerryon is just dependable and tough while Roc is explosive. The Tigers need to get him several touches, even if it’s in the passing game.


TIGER45: Is it possible that the students will done with this semester before our coaches know about Purifoy's eligibility?

I don’t think it’s probable, but with the NCAA Clearinghouse you never really know. My guess is they they will know something before they play the first real game.


sanderman: Jason, have you ever eaten at Hugh Jass Burgers in Lexington? Just curious if I should stop there.

I haven't been there. Have heard good things about Blue Door BBQ and Malones though.


Rick4AU:My question being, do you think JJ or Shaun would do better if Gus would actually open up the WHOLE playbook for each and just let them do their thing, instead of letting the defenses know what each QB is in there to do?

I think both guys would benefit from opening up the offense a little more. For Jeremy I think it’s a matter of him running the football more to keep the defense honest. For White they have to throw the ball on early downs and almost throw the ball to set up the run.

autigerman: should I add 30 minutes or 1 hour to my recorder for the game Thursday night? In other words do we expect a close game and maybe OT....gotta get er done this game!

Even if Auburn was playing well at the moment I think it was set to be a tough game on a Thursday night. At the moment I suspect this one will go down to the wire.


adam36830: We are struggling with our front four getting pressure on the opposing QBs.  What do you think will be Muschamp's solution to finish the season, and what do you think his plans will be as far as recruiting for 2016 season?  He should be able to sell early playing time to stud DEs and DTs.  Thanks!

The first solution is to try to get more from Cassanova McKinzy at the buck position. I think he’s a guy that can help create more pressure as can Jeff Holland and Byron Cowart. As for the recruiting plans they’re going to try to sign at least eight defensive linemen this year and the opportunity to play right away is real for the 2016 signees.


jimbo15: Will Jason Smith EVER see significant touches this season?  Any idea why we can't seem to get him the ball in space - or let him run the Jet Sweep?

I keep thinking the next game is the one where he will get his chances to touch the ball more often, but it hasn’t happened yet.  I still believe he’ll be a guy used at quarterback some before this season is done and wouldn’t be surprised if he got some snaps tonight.


aunatchamps: Looks like Basketball recruiting is going great. We will be losing 3 big guys this year in Granger, Bowers and Harris, not to mention Reed, so we desperately need to sign one or two centers/power forwards. What is your best guess to finishing out this class?

Edrice “Bam” Adebayo is probably the guy that Auburn will focus on the most in this class. He’s a true lottery pick-type player and the Tigers are a team he’s at least looking at for the 2016 class. If they could get an official visit out of him it would be huge.


AUTD2: Do you think Trayvon Reed will be back on the team?

That’s still very much up in the air. I honestly don’t have a clue if Reed will be back. Even if he does return I don’t think he’ll be a major contributor this season with Tyler Harris and Horace Spencer coming in.


Tiger82: How do you expect Muschamp to attack Towles?

I really think Auburn has to be careful with Patrick Towles because of his ability to run the football. This game it will be important for the Tigers to get pressure in the middle with Montravius Adams and Dontavius Russell making plays. To accomplish that I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cassanova McKinzy moving around more than he has in previous weeks at the Buck.


JV2007: Will we ever see Javon return to the field this year or is he getting a medical redshirt? Is he even eligible for one?

I expect to see Jovon Robinson get some touches against Kentucky. He’s got to stay healthy and that’s more than just on Saturday. He’s got to be able to practice enough to get the reps he needs to earn the trust of the coaches. It is tough to do that if you’re not consistently practicing.


wtbtiger: Do you think there will be any lineup changes on offense or defense for the Kentucky game? If so what will the line up changes be?

Other than quarterback where there could be a possible change from two weeks ago I don’t think we will see a ton of changes against the Wildcats as far as starting positions go unless Tim Irvin jumps back in as a starter. I do think Cowart is in line for much more playing time.


alcar7: Leonard Fournette is the most talented college RB since _______?

I would probably say Adrian Peterson. I think he was really, really impressive at Oklahoma and Fournette to me is a similar type guy. A player I really love watching play right now in addition to Fournette is Utah running back Devontae Booker. He is the real deal, too.


Krandor: Non-Auburn related, but what is your favorite Spurrier memory?

That’s a tough one for me. Probably just watching those Fun-N-Gun teams from the mid 90’s at Florida. They were really the team that changed how football was played in the SEC, especially on defense. The days of just lining up and playing straightforward defense were over when Spurrier came on board.


Tiger36022: Do you think Gus will ever realize that substituting defeats Auburn Fast every time? That to truly run a fast pace offense like he wants, you have to pick the 11 best that are suited to do the most of your offense package.

I think he realizes it, but executing the offense has been more important than trying to go fast. I have to believe that a bye week should have this offense more capable of playing fast without substituting.


tryn2: What ever happened to Maurice Swain...??? I remember Boom praising him in the spring, and some in the fall.. Now we don't ever see him in the games…

Swain is playing a pretty good bit for this team and actually started against LSU. At the moment he’s not playing very well, which has Jauntavius Johnson and Andrew Williams possibly in line for playing time.

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