Photo: Jason Caldwell

Jason Caldwell Of Inside the Auburn Tigers Answers Questions In This Edition Of The Friday Mailbag Column

Jason Caldwell answers questions about Auburn football, basketball and baseball in his Friday mailbag column.

Tre Williams (above) is a likely starter for the 2016 Auburn football team.

TexasTiger02: Jason, if you had to rate our o-line this past season. What would you rate them? How would you rate former coach Grimes?

I thought the offensive line had a solid year considering you had a first-time center running the show in Austin Golson and Alex Kozan noticeably still very rusty for much of the year. It’s really hard to tell how well the line played as compared to the past few years because of the lack of a running threat at quarterback. That changed everything. As for Grimes I thought he was one of the best coaches on the staff.

 

steele4au: Of the WRs still on campus, if you can, rank the top in each catagory:   best hands,  fastest,  best routes

As for the best hands I’ll go with Marcus Davis. I’ll also take him as the best route runner of the group. As for the fastest it’s either Jason Smith or Ryan Davis.

 

unalions1: Who is your favorite ITAT poster?

There is no way I could pick between the great people we have currently on the board. I’m going to go with one that is no longer with us. BessBeau was one of a kind and I miss her every time I see a cheese straw or think of a tailgate.

 

bigplayer2404: Do you see us bringing in another QB after Feb 4th? Who do you see as a high probability to pull as an OT out of the HS ranks to start back filling with the loss of Coleman and Avery?

I’ll never say never, but I don’t think it would happen until the summer at the earliest and only if they don’t like what they see in the spring. As for a high school offensive tackle I think Willie Allen is probably the best bet at the moment with Lucas Niang a possibility late in the process.

 

carnellisanescalade: IF we sign Nate Craig-Meyers..... could you see 2016 looking like the year when Obo and Aro started WR as freshmen but with Kyle Davis and Craig-Meyers instead? They seem to be real deal talent at the WR position.

If this group could match the class off Ben Obomanu, Devin Aromashodu and Courtney Taylor that would be something. If you add Nate Craig they would be better on paper than any wide receiver group I can remember Auburn signing in quite some time, maybe ever.

 

MSandPHDatAU: Thoughts on starting LB's in 2016?

I definitely see Tre Williams starting based on his play last season and the fact that he’s the only player with any real experience at the position. JaViere Mitchell has played and played a good bit at the outside spot, but I don’t see him as a guy that transitions inside. My guess is either Darrell Williams or Richard McBryde will be the other starting linebacker next season.

 

mattree: Jason lets talk a little baseball.  What do you think are the chances Auburn goes to Hoover and makes a regional again?  I could see this team easily getting to Hoover and being a #2 seed somewhere.

I think it all depends on how well the pitching staff comes together, but if juco guys like Ben Braymer and Andrew Mitchell are as good as advertised the group should be much deeper and more talented than a year ago. That’s the case even without Keegan Thompson, who will sit out the year after having Tommy John surgery. With plenty of experience back in the field this team should have a shot at the postseason once again.

 

gtwstock: Now that school has started everywhere, can we get an update on the fall baseball signees and current roster for the team?

The roster is still being updated at the moment. They’ve had such little time to work with the guys that the coaching staff is going to try to find out what they’ve got in a short period of time this month in 4-on-1 workouts. As for the signees they’re not going to release the group until they finish the class in the spring, but it’s going to be a very solid class considering the circumstances.

 

TexasTiger02: Jason, can you talk about the progression of our TE's and FB's. Depth, Blocking, and Catching. Rank them best you can including the ones coming in please.

I thought Kamryn Pettway and Chandler Cox both had their best games of the year in the win over Memphis. It’s a tough transition to life in the SEC and that comes with bumps and bruises playing that position. I believe Pettway will be a bruising fullback while Cox will transition to more of the H-Back role. As for the true tight end spot Jalen Harris is still developing as is Chris Laye. I really believe Landon Rice has a chance to play a great deal right away.

 

TexasTiger02: Can you rank the top 8-10 SEC schools in their recruiting efforts so far as of Jan 13th.

I think LSU has the best class right now with Florida, Alabama and Ole Miss right behind. I think Georgia and Auburn fall in right behind them and have a chance to be solid Top 10 classes and maybe top five.

 

TexasTiger02: Best guess on your two deep roster on the offensive line for 2016.

That’s a tough one. I’ll give it a shot though. I would say Robert Leff/Bailey Sharp at left tackle, Alex Kozan/Tyler Carr at left guard, Austin Golson/Kaleb Kim at center, Braden Smith/Marquel Harrell at right guard, Mike Horton/Darius James at right tackle.

 

TexasTiger02: Your opinion on if we beat Clemson to start the season?

It’s going to be tough because DeShaun Watson is back along with just about everyone else on that side of the ball. They were without probably their top two receivers against Alabama so that group will be probably one of the best in the country next season. A positive for Auburn is that Clemson is losing a ton on defense for the second year in a row. You can replace the guys they are losing, but it’s tough to do in week one.

 

TexasTiger02: Jason, can you mention a coach on our staff that nobody knows of and should. G.A. Or on the field staff. Thank you

There are several that do a great job, but Erik Link is a guy who I believe is a really good coach. He’s the special teams quality control assistant and has had a big role in Auburn’s special teams. He was pumped after the win over Memphis after the fake punt and two big punt returns. A very good guy, too.

 

Hsvtiger: Do you see any coaching changes happening after NSD?

With the way guys are moving around I’ll never rule anything out, but it looks like the coaching carousel is slowing at the moment with many of the jobs filled.

 

wtbtiger: What seems to be wrong with our BB team other than we seem to not have reached the talent level of the other SEC teams?

Bruce Pearl is only in his second season and the talent level has definitely increased in a big way already. With guys like Kareem Canty, Bryce Brown, T.J. Dunans and Horace Spencer playing big roles the future looks really good. If Danjel Purifoy were to be cleared you would have the most talented player on the roster available for the first time this season, but that’s still up in the air right now. With the recruits already on board for the next two classes the talent level is only going to go up. The big issue right now is that Purifoy is only practicing and not playing in games, Dunans is sidelinedwith a knee injury and Tahj Shamsid-Deen is out with a shoulder injury. The team isn't deep enough not to be severely impacted by not having those players available.


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