Jason Caldwell

Jason Caldwell's Monday Morning QB Column: It's SEC Football Media Days Week for the Auburn Tigers

Talking about Auburn at SEC Football Media Days on Monday and questions surrounding the Tigers. Also what the commitment of Nick Brahms means for Auburn's offensive line.

Junior defensive end Carl Lawson will be one of Auburn's representatives in Hoover at SEC Media Days 2016.

It’s That Time Again

Monday is the start of SEC Media Days in Hoover, four days that will get a ton of hype as the kickoff to the 2016 season. For Gus Malzahn and Auburn's representatives Montravius Adams, Marcus Davis and Carl Lawson, the questions will be about their tough season a year ago and why this season will be different.

It won’t be an easy answer because it’s still very much an unknown as to how the season will turn out for the Tigers, but there is good news for Auburn and that is it won’t be picked to win the league.

Auburn is not the only team that struggles with the label of favorite because the team picked to win the league at SEC Media Days rarely follows through with the championship. There is usually a good reason for the pick, however, and even though the Tigers didn’t have a good season a year ago the talent is there to turn things around in a hurry. 

That will be a theme for the Tigers at SEC Media Days, with the team built around the defense for the first time since the days of Tommy Tuberville. While the offense needs to be better for Auburn to challenge for a league title, make no mistake about it, the defense will be the focus if the turnaround takes place.

Jason Caldwell

Montravius Adams will be a senior defensive tackle for the Tigers.

Once a program built on being physical on defense and tough to score on, Auburn’s defensive identity has taken a step backwards and it’s something this group is determined to change. I expect plenty of confidence from Adams and Lawson talking about the 2016 defense this week in Hoover and soon enough they will have the chance to back up those words.

For Malzahn and Davis, the questions will center around the quarterback position. With a pair of guys back with starting experience in Jeremy Johnson and Sean White, a junior college transfer in John Franklin, and a high school newcomer in Woody Barrett, Auburn has plenty of options at the position.

No matter who the quarterback the Tigers have to play better at wide receiver and make plays when the opportunity is available. While the running game is always a huge part of things in Malzahn’s system, making big plays down the field in the passing game is a must when teams stack the box against Auburn. The lack of those plays a year ago was as big a part of the problems on offense as anything.

Brahms A Big Get For Tigers

While Calvin Ashley and Austin Troxell will get a lot of headlines because they are true tackle prospects, the player who may be most ready to play on the offensive line in 2017 for Auburn is the newest commitment, Nick Brahms from Navarre, Fla. A physical player at the point of attack with good feet, Brahms is likely a guard in Auburn’s offensive scheme, but could definitely play tackle for the Tigers if needed.

His situation could be similar to that of Ryan Pugh when he arrived at Auburn. A center prospect, Pugh was forced to play tackle for the Tigers as a freshman because he was the best available option. There is no question that Ashley and Troxell have the talent to be very good tackles for the Tigers, but in the short term Brahms could be the best option to jump into the playing rotation next season because of his advanced skill set and footwork.

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