Photo by Jason Caldwell

Jason Caldwell Of Inside the Auburn Tigers Answers Questions About Auburn Sports In His Friday Mailbag Column

Football, basketball, baseball and softball are featured in this edition of the Friday Mailbag Column.

Quarterback Sean White (above) is shown in Auburn's victory over Memphis at the 2015 Birmingham Bowl.

Au3020: With Mississippi State home and Vandy on the road left on the baseball schedule how much of a chance do you see of Auburn splitting those 6 games and getting into the SEC tourney?

Of course, UGA could help us get to the tourney by sweeping either or both Tennessee and/or Missouri, but I would rather see Auburn do it with wins.

This Auburn team is capable of winning three of six against Mississippi State and Vanderbilt if the Tigers get quality pitching. Mississippi State’s offense is pretty good and they are playing with a ton of confidence so it won’t be easy. Vanderbilt’s offense isn’t very good, but they’ve got two first round pitchers the first two days. In the end I like Auburn’s shot to win two, but three I would call a toss-up.

 

Wtbtiger: Do you think the al.com writers get a lot of information from this site? Why do you think they write more negative articles than positive ones about Auburn?

I don’t know where information comes from, but as far as the way stories are written my guess is they look at numbers to see which stories get the most views and go from there. The more controversial a story is the most it gets viewed.

 

Tommytiger: Gus Malzahn was ask at Atlanta Auburn Club Meeting if he had a preference on what athletic construction projects need to be done. I think he said we have a great dorm, dining area and indoor practice facility. He then said he felt like stadium upgrades were coming soon. Jason do you have anymore details on what and when they plan to start any stadium renovations?

There is nothing concrete yet on what they’re going to do and when things will start at the stadium. More premium seating and a new locker room have been planned, but I wish I could tell you for certain when the next renovation will take place.

 

Tiger82: Just watched the A-Day replay. Late in the game, Devin Adams came in at QB. He ran the Nick Marshall Run/Pass option play, but missed the throw. I'm not familiar with this guy, Tell me a little about him. Also, who do you think is our fastest offensive and defensive players this year?

Devin Adams played high school football at Vigor with DeShaun Davis and Justin Thornton. He was a pretty solid player who went to junior college to start his career. I think he is probably more of an H-Back, but he’s a pretty good athlete. As for the fastest players on the team, I would say John Franklin on offense and Javaris Davis on defense.

 

Aliasau: Softball will be losing 3 of its top 5 hitters next year plus about 40% of its home run power and arguably the best second baseman in the nation. Other than pitching I didn't see much production from our young players this year. I know we might be getting Haley Fagan back next year and have some promising freshman coming in but I see next year as a possible rebuilding year. Who do you think will make up for the hitting and power we lose this year with the loss of Carosone, Rhodes and Howard?

There are incoming freshmen who could have a chance to play right away and provide some punch. Laney Joyner from Woodstock, Ga., plus Justin Perry and Ashlee Swindle from Curry could all play early. Swindle is also one of the best pitchers in the country. I do think that Whitney Jordan and Madi Gipson are both going to take big strides forward with a year of experience under their belts.

 

Mgmzebra: Which QB is your pick for #1 position beginning fall 2a days? Expect him to start the game vs Clemson ?

I think Sean White is probably the guy heading into two-a-days and I think he’ll start against Clemson. However, I do think we’ll see John Franklin in some capacity and his role will continue to increase.

 

Dagwood85: Jason What is the latest on Stephen Davis, Jr and is he still likely to end up at Auburn this year? Thanks!

I haven’t heard anything new on Stephen in the last few weeks. I don’t expect to hear anything about him until the final grades are in. I am not sure where Auburn stands with him at the moment.

 

Mowegl: Furthermore what happens if Auburn and UGA tie in baseball? Whats the first tie breaker?

It’s my understanding that if Auburn and Georgia were to tie then Texas A&M would be used as the tiebreaker. Auburn beat the Aggies once while the Bulldogs were swept so Auburn would hold the edge over Georgia if they wound up tied.

 

AUtigeritaville: With the Supper Club and the Barbeque House gone, what are your top Auburn Landmarks left you'd hate to see go?

That’s a really, really tough one because there’s just not much left. Momma Goldberg’s is still around and that’s a place that has some history. It’s kind of crazy because there’s not too many commercial buildings still left that hold that place. Byron’s has been around, but the building isn’t a longtime spot. Chuck’s has been gone for a while as well, even though it’s still in Opelika. Niffer’s is probably the place in my mind that is as much “Auburn” as anything right now.

 

Rocketcity: Jason, have you seen any new drills that K. Burns uses with the receivers that D. Craig did not use?

I haven’t seen enough to notice anything specifically other than more hand-eye coordination drills, but you can see the focus on the details with Kodi. He’s always talking about steps, hand placement, watching the ball in, etc. I like the way he goes about his business of coaching his players.

 

M5guy: How would you grade the overall state and performance of our women's and men's athletic programs and which sports do you see making huge improvements (the ones that have much room for improvement) in the 2016-2017 season?

As I talked about some on Tuesday, I would probably gives the program about a C at the moment. There are positives and negatives about programs on both sides at the moment. As for making huge improvements, it’s hard to do more than we’ve seen from softball, gymnastics and tennis the last few years. I do think men’s basketball is on the verge of doing some really good things and that should be fun to watch. Baseball has the right guy for the job. Now it’s just going to take some time to get things on the right track.

 

Howells: I know everybody has been moaning about men's sports. But when you look there are tons of reasons to be excited about all three of the big three in the next few years. The one that sticks out across all three is an infusion of talent. I see really good players coming in across the board. I expect our defensive staff in football to only get better recruiting as Rodney has really hunkered in and is getting who he wants. Basketball has weathered the outset of this era pretty well and has the talent ducks in a row to compete. I think we have already shown that we have a great baseball recruiting and coaching staff that will really come into its own and have us at the top of the league. So I am excited. Who are you excited about? Who are your top two newcomers on the court/field for this coming season in each of the big three? Guys that were not on the team this year. Thanks!

I’m excited about the potential of the basketball newcomers, including Danjel Purifoy. I think the next two seasons have the potential to featured the most talented group of players we’ve seen at Auburn since 1999-2000, but with more depth. In football I want to see this group of freshman wide receivers, especially Kyle Davis. I just like the way he plays the game. As for baseball I think the guy to watch is pitcher Davis Daniel from Montgomery. If the Tigers can keep him instead of losing him in the pro draft he’s got a chance to be a rotation guy next year.

 

Boone91: There are often mentions of offensive linemen being suited more for guard or for tackle. In your mind, what are the key differences between the two positions that makes someone suited for one over the other? They all seem to be over 300 lbs nowadays, so it's not just weight. Describe your ideal prototypical guards vs. your ideal prototypical tackles.

The major difference I’m looking for is length. It is tough to play offensive tackle without the reach to get to speed rushers on the outside. The prototypical tackle in my mind is someone athletic enough to play pulling guard in a run-oriented offense, but with the size at 6-5 or bigger to have the arm length necessary to reach guys on the edge. In Auburn’s offense at guard I like guys who have a very strong lower body to be able to drive guys off the ball, but with good enough feet to get to the edge. Braden Smith may be the best guy we have seen to fit that description.


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