Photo by Jason Caldwell

Jason Caldwell's Friday Auburn Mailbag Column

Jason Caldwell of Inside the Auburn Tigers answers questions on Auburn football, basketball and baseball in this edition of his Friday Mailbag column.

Devaroe Lawrence (above) is a senior defensive tackle for the Auburn football team.

Dewayne: Jason, do you believe Danjel Purifoy will be asked to play the 4 a lot for Auburn this season? And is he physical enough?

I think Purifoy is definitely physical enough to play the four in Auburn's offense because often it will be a stretch-four that will see him on the perimeter on the offensive end of the court even at 6-7/6-8 and 225 pounds. With Horace Spencer and LaRon Smith as rim protectors I think he should be just fine playing power forward if needed.

 

Cletisthecat: What is your observations of Woody Barrett's skill set, both as a runner and passer, and where do you see him fitting in this year ----redshirt, or Plan C back-up

Having seen him in person at the Under Armour All-American Game and watched plenty of video on him, Barrett reminds me a lot of Dak Prescott in his early years at Mississippi State because he’s a physical runner who is still developing as a passer. As for this season I think he could make an impact, but it’s going to mean him coming in and making a huge impression very early in preseason practices. My guess is he will redshirt.

 

Givhandy: Has all the dust settled on the baseball team's recruiting after the MLB draft? If so, what is the prognosis for the upcoming season? When does football practice begin?

They have another week to go on Joshua Anthony, but right now it still looks good for the junior college slugger to play at Auburn. That would be a big deal for the Tigers. They are still looking at adding players in the 2016 class and there could be at least one more added for the 2017 season. Already on campus are Conor Davis (high school 1B), William Holland (high school SS), Jay Estes (juco infielder), Luke Jarvis (juco infielder), Davis Daniel (high school pitcher), Christian Camacho (high school pitcher), Ryan Watson (high school pitcher), Trevor Hillhouse (high school pitcher), Joe Gahm (high school infielder), and Cole Ganopolous (high school pitcher).

 

Autigrs: Do you think the LB group, as a whole, will be more athletic and potentially better even though we are replacing Cass and Kris?

There’s no question in my mind that Auburn's linebacker group is going to be more athletic when you talk about adding guys like Darrell Williams and Montavious Atkinson to the mix and seeing more of Tre Williams. I don’t know enough about T.J. Neal yet and while I wouldn’t put DeShaun Davis ahead of last year’s guys athletically, I think he’s more instinctive on the field. I like this group’s potential.

 

Photo by Jason Caldwell

Darrell Williams will be a sophomore this season for Coach Gus Malzahn's Tigers.

AugTiger: Carl Lawson is the obvious favorite to lead the team in sacks if he stays healthy. Who is your prediction to finish second?

I like Devaroe Lawrence in that role. I really believe he’s a guy who can have a serious impact rushing the passer from the interior defensive line. With Carl Lawson getting so much attention off the edge I believe Lawrence is a guy that can do some damage.

 

TBETBEZE: I know this is way early but who are your predictions for starting 11 on Offense and Defense?

This is a tough one. I’ll go with Sean White, Jovon Robinson, Chandler Cox, Marcus Davis, Tony Stevens, Jason Smith, Austin Golson, Alex Kozan, Xavier Dampeer, Braden Smith and Robert Leff on offense. On defense my picks are Carl Lawson, Dontavius Russell, Montravius Adams, Marlon Davidson, Tre Williams, Darrell Williams, Rudy Ford, Carlton Davis, Javaris Davis, Nick Ruffin and Stephen Roberts.

 

Aubblue: Jason. One simple question. Will Auburn shock the world in ncaa football this year?

I don’t know about shocking the world because the only way Auburn could shock the world is to make a run like 2013 again. I do think this team has every chance to win nine or 10 games if things work out on offense. This is still a team with plenty of talent.

 

AUTigerBSME90: Who will lead the team in interceptions?

My pick would be Javaris Davis. I think he and Jamel Dean will get a whole lot of attention with teams staying away from Carlton Davis.

 

M5guy: Do we win at least 8 games in 2016 football? How long will the leash be on the starting QB - can we really read anything into the starter or could we see a different starter in game 2?

I think this Auburn team will win at least eight this season. They won seven a year ago and I think they’ll be better on both offense and defense. As for the leash on the starting QB, I think it depends on who it is. If it’s Sean White and there are struggles then you could see another guy pretty quickly. If it’s John Franklin then you probably give him a little more room.

 

Jello1: Does Jason Smith get the ball more this year?

I will be surprised if Jason Smith doesn’t get more touches this season. Part of that is on him as well as he needs to continue to become a guy they can count on moving around in the offense. Last season he struggled when asked to expand his role, something he must do to get more touches. That’s why Kerryon Johnson got more of those touches because he was more comfortable moving around to different spots.

 

TexAU80: Will Gus platoon at QB this year in your opinion? Is there a chance that opening day QB could be JJ in your opinion?

I just don’t think we will see Auburn platoon the quarterbacks as a plan. I could see Jeremy Johnson being a guy used in short yardage and goal line situations, but that’s not a true platoon system. I believe Gus Malzahn would like to find his starter and then use some wildcat packages with John Franklin if he’s not the guy who earns the spot.

 

Tigerpi: Who are the 5 fastest players on the football team and in what order

My guess at the speed on the team at the moment would be 1. Javaris Davis 2. John Franklin 3. Rudy Ford 4. Elijah Stove 5. Jason Smith

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