Photo by Jason Caldwell

Jason Caldwell's Friday Auburn Mailbag Column Features Football, Football and More Football

Jason Caldwell of Inside the Auburn Tigers answers questions about Auburn football and other sports in this edition of his Friday Mailbag Column.

DozerTiger: Old question, but who do you think will be our starter at QB against Clemson?

It’s really much, much too early to tell that for sure. I think they’re definitely going to challenge those guys as much as possible between now and then to make sure they’ve got the right guy. Sorry, but even my guess would be a guess.


DozerTiger: What position group do think has improved the most since the bowl game. What position group are you most concerned about going forward?

I would say it’s probably the defensive line. That’s not a surprise considering the veterans coming back on that side of the ball. With the additions of Marlon Davidson, Paul James and Antwuan Jackson the group has added a trio of talented players. With Byron Cowart improving and everyone a year older they should be the best group right now.


MSandPHDatAU: What are your thoughts about Javaris Davis this year? Is he good enough to play at DB this season? I like his high school RB film and all of our RB's have seemed injury prone so far in their careers. Think he could get a look there? Thanks

I think Javaris Davis has a great chance to be the starter opposite Carlton Davis. He’s got talent and can really run. I expect him to play a good bit next year in the secondary.


Autigerman: I may have asked before but things change during spring practice and again in the fall, but who do you see as our starting LB's and depth? What are we calling our LB's as in Jack,Mike,Will etc; etc; thank you

At the moment the starting guys would be Tre Williams and DeShaun Davis. Those two are the top players so far with Darrell Williams right behind them. As for the linebacker names I think they'll be Mike, Sam and Will. When they get into a Nickel defense the two backers are called Money and Mack. 

TIGER45: Have you observed enough of spring practice to see any noticeable differences in the way things are done by the new coaches and any noticeable differences in the players reactions?

Any predictions on the upcoming series vs. LSU? What time do the gymnastics regionals begin for AU? Saturday right?

I think the biggest difference right now is the tempo of practices. Things are much faster when they’re doing full squad work than in the past couple of years. As for the players I think they’re enjoying the fresh approach to practice this spring. As for the series this weekend I think Auburn has a good chance to win a couple vs. LSU. The gymnastics regional on Saturday begins at 5 p.m. central time.


Adam36830: If we played Clemson tomorrow, who would be your starting QB, OL and why?

As I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t even hazard a guess at quarterback. As for the offensive line I feel good about predicting Alex Kozan will be at left guard and Braden Smith at right guard. I believe Robert Leff will probably be the right tackle with Austin Golson at left tackle and Xavier Dampeer at center. I don’t know that any of the other tackles are going to do enough to bump Golson back inside.


Rosebud: Were you OK, pleased, excited, or ecstatic with our defensive coordinator hire?

I think pleased was probably the word. I just wasn’t sure what to expect not really knowing Steele, but so far I think he’s going to be a good fit for a veteran defense. He really communicates well and the players are responding so far. That’s at least a good sign early on.


Au3020: Football: How are the redshirt freshmen coming along in spring practice?  Which of them will we see significant playing time from? Basketball: When does the spring signing period begin?  Coach Pearl had mentioned in the past he would like a big man for his last spot, however, that may have changed with the condition of Tahj Shamsid-Dean.  Is Auburn still looking for a big man?  Will that last spot go to a PG instead?  Will they maybe place TSD on medical scholarship and bring in two, one big man and one PG or will they wait till November to decide what to do with TSD because of his injuries?

As for the redshirt freshmen in football I think the group is coming along well. I could see several of them getting significant playing time including Javaris Davis and Darius Slayton. As for basketball the signing period that begins April 15th, I look for the Tigers to add a point guard and a big man to this year’s class. There are several hundred players planning to transfer this year so I could see the Tigers looking to add immediate help from a graduate transfer.


Wtbtiger: How is Coach Pearl's rehab going?

His rehab is going great. I think he’s had three rehab sessions already this week so he’s been busy.


AUpoker: Since your Michigan State pick is out the window, who you got now?

I think North Carolina is probably the team to beat, but Syracuse in a dome could make it interesting. I’m just not sold on Villanova, but the Wildcats can really play defense. That may make it tough on Buddy Hield.


Rileyb: In the grand scheme, will Herb and Kodi > Dameyune and JB?

I like the makeup of this coaching staff right now. I thought J.B. Grimes did a great job with the offensive line, but Hand is a very good offensive line coach in his own right. As for Kodi Burns, I like what I’m seeing from him early on and he’s hungry to do a good job. He thoroughly understands Gus Malzahn's offense and is excited to be coaching it, which is a plus.


M5guy: Will our D-line and D-backs be good enough to help an inexperienced linebacker group keep Watson & the Clemson offense in check on September 3?

It’s all about the defensive line. If that group does what it’s capable of it takes the pressure off everyone else.


Rick4AU: Do you expect to see Landon Rice on the field in meaningful plays this year?

There’s no doubt in my mind that Rice will be playing a good bit this season. He’s going to be ready right away as long as he stays healthy.


TexasTiger02: Jason, Can you grade the way the QB'S look so far. B, C, D, F-.... thank you.

That one gets an incomplete. There is just no way to grade them so far.


TexasTiger02: Jason, You think Center will be Damper or Kim?

I think the center will either be Austin Golson or Xavier Dampeer. Kaleb Kim has done a good job this spring and is getting more reps, but his time will come next year.


TexasTiger02: Jason, can you name the starters at WR for when the season starts?

My guess at the starting wide receivers would be Marcus Davis, Tony Stevens and Jason Smith.


TexasTiger02: Jason, will the tOSU transfer cb Dean start opposite of C. Davis?

I really like Jamel Dean’s potential. I believe he’ll be in the mix along with Javaris Davis to start at that cornerback spot opposite Carlton Davis.



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