Jason Caldwell's Friday Auburn Mailbag: LSU at Auburn Football Game Week

Jason Caldwell of Inside the Auburn Tigers answers questions as the football Tigers prepare to face LSU this weekend at Jordan-Hare Stadium

Sean White (above) is expected to start at quarterback for Auburn vs. LSU.

TexasTiger02: You think Trigga Trey is afraid of Mr. Leonard Fornette or do you believe his shoulder injury story? Do you expect a different game this time around?

If his shoulder injury was just a story then Auburn went a long way to cover it up considering he had surgery on both shoulders following the season. I don't think Tray Matthews is afraid of anything on the football field, especially being physical. I expect the Auburn defense to come out and play well against LSU.

wtbtiger: Who do think will get more snaps this weekend?White or Franklin

I would be very surprised if John Franklin gets more than a handful of snaps unless there is an injury to Sean White. Auburn needs to stick with a quarterback and let him go. I just can’t see another situation where you shuffle the quarterbacks and go back and forth between offensive styles, but I have been very wrong before.


wtbtiger: Do you think there will be any OL changes this weekend?

Rhett Lashlee and Gus Malzahn have both said the offensive line actually played okay last week, but Lashlee stopped short of saying it would be the same starting five. That leads me to believe there’s at least another plan in place up front and I think it would have to involve getting Mike Horton on the field.


gtwstock: Who actually is the 2nd string TE now?

In terms of just blocking it’s Darius James. As for a true tight end position, I’m not sure there is even a second guy unless it’s Chandler Cox. They’ve got a guy in Keenan Sweeney who can play the fullback/H-Back position. Rtght now, other than Jalen Harris, there is not a scholarship player at the position.


auchamps: Jason, if you were the Head Football coach at Auburn, what type of system would you implement, both offensively and defensively and why?

I actually love the hurry-up/no-huddle offense for Auburn, but I think you have got to be able to line up and run it at tempo right out of the gate. I’m going to make the defense adjust to me and line up in a base defense as much as possible. On defense you have to be multiple so I like what Kevin Steele is doing right now.


wareagledoc: Any update on Cameron Toney? Is he just unable to break in to the playing rotation given the excellent LB play that we currently have, or has he had some injuries or other setbacks?

It’s just about trying to beat out the guys in front of him right now. They are playing well and athletically he’s not quite where the other guys are. I think he could maybe help this team at tight end and he has some experience on offense. Maybe that’s a spot for him.


Tiger82: Other than the play of the defense, special teams, and the new stadium cups, what's been the most positive thing you've seen this football season?

There’s no question it has been the play of Kamryn Pettway. I fully expected Kerryon Johnson to do a really good job, but I didn’t see Pettway’s big play ability coming to the forefront. His footwork is much, much better than it was in high school and he’s always had a knack for breaking tackles. If he continues to run like he has then Pettway will be tough to keep off the field.


AugTiger: With LSU being the first conventional power running team we have seen this year, what changes do you expect for the defense? If Auburn plays three LB's, who will likely be the three most of the time and who do you think play the most in the two safety spots?

I don’t think we’ll see a great deal of differences in the Auburn defense other than possibly playing more 4-3 at times with Darrell Williams and Montavious Atkinson sliding outside with Tre Williams, DeShaun Davis and probably T.J. Neal inside.


ADay1: What is your prediction for the rest of the games on our schedule now that we are 3 weeks in?

I really have to see what this offense is going to look like Saturday night. If Malzahn really opens up the offense and throws the ball down the field some on early downs I think Auburn wins the game. If the Tigers show good things on offense I could easily see this team at 8-4 at the end of the season provided it stays aggressive calling plays. If the offense struggles and they don’t have an answer for how to fix it then 6-6 may be about the ending.


wcvet: Is the slow start offensively the perfect storm due to loss of three top rushers from last year, shakeup on the offensive line. loss of Rice at TE, lack of consistent blocking at the Hback and receiver position ,  and the lack of emergence of an explosive receiving threat or a systemic problem with defenses having adjusted to what Auburn does with no subsequent adjustment or adaption by our coaches?     Will the GUS Malzahn system still be effective in the SEC WITHOUT a dynamic dual threat quarterback?

There’s no question that a Cam Newton, Nick Marshall, Lamar Jackson-type of quarterback would make the offense really, really good, but I truly believe it can be effective with a guy like Sean White. I believe the problems have been almost strictly because of the lack of imagination on offense and calling plays. With White, Jeremy Johnson, whoever at quarterback, they have needed to be more aggressive on first downs since early last season and haven’t done it. Too many lost plays on first down have put them in third and long situations, a killer for even good offenses. They’ve said this week they would do it, now we’ll see if it happens.


hlb61: Jason, As you are closer to the team than any of us, a follow up on above question. What is your guess as to rest of season with a win Saturday versus a loss. Does a loss in your opinion finish coaching staff?

As to how the season goes with a loss, I think it depends on how the loss happens. If the offense plays well and LSU does a little bit more on the other side then I could see this team building from it. If the offense struggles again I think it’s going to be tough the rest of the year. I think it’s way too early to say that a loss would finish off the coaching staff, but it sure wouldn’t help them.


AUpage: TJ Neal, what's the deal? Has he just thrown his senior season away?

I didn’t think the first three games were going to be the best matchup for him anyway because he’s probably better suited to play downhill running teams. This should be his opportunity to get some action, but his tweets definitely didn’t help him because it allowed DeShaun Davis, Darrell Williams and Montavious Atkinson to get a foothold at the position with their play.

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