Photo by Jason Caldwell

Jason Caldwell Answers Questions About Auburn Football In the Thanksgiving Week Edition of His Mailbag Column

Talking Auburn football and recruiting as the Tigers get ready for the Iron Bowl.

spiritsoaratjordanhare: Obviously a key to winning is stopping Derrick Henry. How is the DL stacking up health wise? Do you think we have the ability to focus on making AL a one dimensional team by shutting DH down and forcing Coker to beat us? In 09 we shut Ingram down and it gave us a chance to win. Is this possible this year?

Right now the defensive line is pretty healthy heading into the game and that’s a good thing because it’s going to take everyone to get the job done. I think Auburn can do it, but the Tigers will need strong games from Montravius Adams, Dontavius Russell, Devaroe Lawrence and Maurice Swain. If those guys can get penetration and make plays in the backfield that will be a huge boost for Auburn’s chances.


colliem: Coker isn't exactly a world beater...receiver-wise, they are average. If we sell out to stop the run, can we beat them? Can our offense score on them?

I think if Auburn slows Alabama’s running game it would go a long way towards a win. As for Auburn’s offense it will need help from its own defense with a turnover or two in scoring position to put up big points, but I don’t think it’s an impossible task.


TIGER45: For us to win Saturday our qbs have to have outstanding games. Do you have any idea that Jeremy's confidence is at a level to deliver a great game? Same question about Sean. Do you think his wheels are OK now? Probably not a fair question as the coaches keep info so close to the vest.

I think Jeremy is very confident at the moment and I believe he will remain that way unless/until he makes a mistake. At that point Auburn’s coaches need to keep him involved in the game because hehe hass got the ability to make enough plays in the passing game to win this game. As for Sean we’ll just have to see what he looks like on Saturday.


KillenTime: Can you give us a rundown of which true freshman have played, confirmed redshirts and who has played but is injured and may have a chance at a medical redshirt if granted?

As for who has played you have got Kerryon Johnson, Ryan Davis, Chandler Cox and Jalen Harris on offense. On defense it has been Byron Cowart, Jeff Holland, Darrell Williams, Montavious Atkinson, Carlton Davis, Tim Irvin and Jeremiah Dinson. That leaves redshirts Tyler Queen, Darius Slayton, Mike Horton, Bailey Sharp, Marquel Harrell, Tyler Carr, Kaleb Kim, Jauntavius Johnson, Richard McBryde, Jordan Colbert, Javaris Davis, Prince Tega Wanogho and Ian Shannon.


eagle70: What QB have we played this year is best comparable to Jake Coker?

That’s a good question. I would probably say Brandon Allen is probably the closest comparison on this year’s schedule because Coker can do enough with his legs to keep you honest, but Allen is playing at a much higher level this season than Coker has up to this point.


howells: If tou were forced to place a bet today, who lands at USCe, USCw, and LSU?

Another tough one. I would say Chip Kelly at Southern California, Justin Fuente at South Carolina and I think Les Miles stays around at LSU in the end. Just got a feeling he’s tougher to get out of there than a cat with nine lives.


aunatchamps: Assume we beat Bama, which Bowl do you think we go to? If we don't beat Bama, which Bowl then?

I think if Auburn wins on Saturday the Tigers could be headed for the Music City or Belk Bowl. A loss and I think the Birmingham Bowl is probably the destination with Liberty possibly in the picture.


Sandhills Tiger: Are we finished recruiting running back or will we try to recruit a speed back?

Auburn is still recruiting the nation’s No. 1 back Kareem Walker, who is expected to be in for an official visit this weekend. There's a chance that this weekend's visitor, former Alabama and current juco back Tyren Jones could get into the mix, but right now that's still very much an uncertainty. As of right now one of those is probably the only other guy they would take in addition to Malik Miller, but things can change.


gtwstock: Who would you prefer to have 100% healthy for the Iron Bowl - Golson or Sean White?  And why?

I would probably go with a healthy Sean White just because I have a lot of confidence in Devonte Danzey. I think he’s a really good player and could get the job done if needed. A healthy White is a player who could drop back and throw it over and over again, something that could be needed on Saturday.


wtbtiger: Do you think we throw the ball 25 times or more? How many passes do you think will be thrown 10 yards are more?

My belief is that if Auburn throws it less than 25 times that’s probably a great sign for the Tigers on Saturday because it would mean the game is a close one and the running game is successful. As for throws over 10 yards I think at least three a quarter so 12 would be my over/under.


No7Tiger: Jason,  I did not see much of the SPUAT/UT game but watching UT take the lead in the 4th quarter.....  is this a game that you think AU studied very closely? ...maybe more than others?  Can AU replicate some of the things that UT was able to do? ... and have the game in question well into the 4th quarter? TIA

The biggest thing is slowing the run and limiting the big plays. It’s not coincidence that Arkansas and Tennessee were the two teams that gave Alabama the most trouble this season (outside of five turnovers against Ole Miss) because the Razorbacks and Vols held the Crimson Tide to their two lowest rushing totals of the year.


CB4AUBURN: Favorite rivalry game beside Iron Bowl?

That’s a great question. Overall in any sport it would have to be Duke/North Carolina in basketball. As far as football goes I would probably say Ohio State/Michigan. Those two really get after it and have had a lot of big games over the years.


mbmzebra: Looking at the commits with early enrollment indicated how many can we take in Early? Also which three "earlies" are most important? Who is the "most" wanted remaining HS player and JC player?

Auburn has room to take 14 players early in this year’s class with Jamel Deal counting as one of those. As for the early guys that are the most important I would go with Paul James, John Franklin and probably Kyle Davis. With a need on the defensive line James is an immediate impact player. Franklin is the same type of guy if he jumps into the quarterback position rotation in the spring. With a need at wide receiver Davis being in early is huge because he’ll be in the rotation right away.

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