Jason Caldwell's Friday Auburn Mailbag--Ole Miss Football Game Week

Answering your questions as the Auburn Tigers prepare to face the Ole Miss Rebels on Saturday in Oxford.

Derrick Brown (No. 5 above) and Andrew Williams (79) are contributing as backup defensive tackles for the Tigers.

gmason73: Why do you think the move of Golson to C and James to LT worked so well? Is Golson a better communicator than Dampier, more physical or just a better overall fit?

I think it’s probably more about the experience that Golson has on this level. He played some as a freshman at Ole Miss and then started last year at the position before his injury. He has seen a lot of defensive fronts and I think that comfort level and his desire to be a leader has been really important. He is also a good athlete.

hoochtiger: Jason, with Kerryon now back to close to 100% how do you see the distribution of carries between all the running backs shaking out Saturday night?

I still think Kamryn Pettway gets the bulk of the carries based on what we’ve seen out of him the last few weeks. I know Gus Malzahn said Kerryon Johnson would definitely play Saturday, but if Auburn starts rolling early I wouldn’ t be surprised to see Stanton Truitt get those second carries just to give Johnson a little more rest.

AuburnNinja: If Devaroe Lawrence starts playing like he did at the tail end of last season, would you give him more snaps? If so, who would you sit?

I think you could see Devaroe get a few more snaps this weekend just because you’re playing a team that may throw it 40 times. That’s tough on a defensive line. As for moving him ahead of someone, I am not sure I could bump either Derrick Brown or Andrew Williams at this point.

MSandPHDatAU: Who are our best LB's in space?

All four of the main linebackers are good in space at the moment, but Darrell Williams and Montavious Atkinson are easily the best guys on the edge and in coverage. I expect to see both of them a lot on Saturday.

AuburnNinja: Recruiting question: Are we looking to bring in any speed rushers in this class to replace Lawson? If not, do you think TD Moultry could grow into that position?

That’s the one area Auburn is looking for help with right away. I think the guy to keep an eye on is Markaviest Bryant from Crisp County (Ga.). His coach was with Montravius Adams in high school so thereis a connection there. I think he is probably the most likely candidate. As for a linebacker who could make the move, I think a guy like Tyler Taylor would be a more likely fit to play the buck if the Tigers sign him.

frances1: Upon getting a first down, we are still lining up to run/ hand off the ball off to the RB. Statically this unbelievably predictable play is gaining minimal yards over the years. Why is CGM/CRL continuing to do this?

It’s just what this offense is based on doing, but I do think that Rhett Lashlee has done a better job of mixing in a pass or the zone-read after that initial first down. There is no question teams are zeroing in on that running play following a first down. Last week Pettway ran the ball eight times in that situation for a total of 33 yards and 18 of those yards came on two runs. That means his other six carries went for 16 yards. They just need to continue to mix in a pass every now and then on first down and let Sean White keep it a time or two and it should be just enough to keep defenses honest.

wtbtiger: Why do you think CM has not thrown to TE? Is it because our TE can't catch the ball or is it his coaching philosophy?

They didn’t have a tight end on the field last season at all except for putting a different number on Robert Leff. Jalen Harris is starting to play more now that they’re settling in on some power running formations so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get some touches down the road this season. I don’t think it’s going to be a big part of the offense, however, because there are a lot more dangerous receivers for the Tigers on this roster.

wtbtiger: Are you in favor of the early signing date for football? If it passes,will help or hurt AU in your opinion?

I’m really torn on the issue because I definitely see both sides of it. In the end I think I’m against it because the only way to make it work is to give kids an out if there is a coaching change, and that’s absolutely going to happen all across the country. I just think it would create even more chaos than we already see. If it passes I don’t think it will have a major impact on Auburn.

gtwstock: Is Georgia a solid team (UNC,Tenn) or as bad as the Nichols, Mizzou, Ole Miss and Vandy games indicate they are?

I think like most things the truth lies somewhere in between. Offensively, I think Georgia is better than it showed against Vandy and Ole Miss, but the offensive line isn’t a strength at all. I do think the issues on defense are a little tougher to solve. Right now they’re ranked third in the SEC in rushing defense, but their schedule hasn’t had one physical running team on it to this point. I think that’s going to be an issue for the Bulldogs down the stretch.

Dewsweeper: Kyle Davis and Nate Craig are two of the best looking freshmen WRs we have ever recruited.  Isn't time to start getting them involved more in the game plan?

It all depends on if Auburn is able to keep running the ball the way they’ve been doing the last few weeks. More running plays means more tempo and less substituting so usually the older guys are more able to move around the formations and keep the speed. If Auburn throws it you can bet you’ll continue to see their roles expand.

wareaglepete: Do you think Marlon Davidson is playing better this year than Carl Lawson did in his first year in 2013?

I don’t think there’s any question Marlon is playing better than Carl did as a freshman because he’s been very consistent. His explosive numbers (sacks, TFL’s) probably won’t ever be really high, but he’s going to be a very good player for years to come playing that strongside end.

4ever4AU: JF3 - looks like he took a good shot and got up a little dingy in the Arky game. I know he returned to the game but is he completely good to go going forward?

I think he’s fine. I think he got a little shook up when hitting the ground on his back, but he’s good to go.

Tiger82: How do you think Ole Miss will try to attack our defense?

Considering Ole Miss has just 134 carries combined from their top three running backs I expect to see Chad Kelly at the center of just about every play for the Rebels. He has thrown 246 passes in seven games and has 64 carries as well, most of which came on called passing plays. I think they’ll throw early and often with a lot of the routes short to intermediate to help out the banged up offensive line.

AUBnMD: 3 questions re Malik Miller: --how is his rehabilitation progressing? --would he still be eligible for a red shirt of any kind for this year? --if he were eligible for a red shirt, would AU consider taking it in view of the success of other running backs on this year's team?

His rehab is going great and I expect him to be full speed and ready to roll, perhaps by the end of the year. I wouldn’t be surprised if they took it easy, however, and let him get a redshirt. I believe he’s eligible for a medical because he would have played in less than 30 percent of the season.

aunatchamps: In the last few games, it looks like Auburn is playing much faster. I don't see us getting into our stance and then raising up and watching for a signal from the sideline. Has something changed in our play calling from the booth/sideline? Do you think this has attributed to our offensive production in catching the opposing team's defense off guard?

Nothing has really changed other than Auburn has been able to string together first downs and have success on first down. If they’re in third down and medium or long situations they’ll still look to the sidelines for a play call after seeing the defense. Right now it’s more about having success running the football.

AuburnIE: What's your scouting report on the Ole Miss offensive line, with their injuries, and projected starters versus our defensive front? Any specific matchup you see that extremely favors Auburn?

Left tackle Rod Taylor is very questionable this Saturday so that means true freshman Greg Little (6-6, 332) will get the call to try to block Carl Lawson and Marlon Davidson. That’s going to be an issue for the Rebels, but just as big will be in the middle where Jordan Sims is probably out at right guard. Daronte Bouldin (6-5, 318) is his replacement, but for a line that already struggled to start the year going two-deep isn’t good news.

tigerpi: Are we still recruiting the QB from Baylor and if so how do we stand with him and how good do you think he is.

Jarrett Stidham is a very good player, there is no doubt about that. Auburn is absolutely still recruiting him. If you’ve got a chance to get a guy of his caliber you definitely try to get him.

justafanwde: How long has it been since AU had a 4 year QB starter? Was it that other S. White?

Jason Campbell actually started eight games as a redshirt freshman and six as a sophomore so he’s the last guy to be a four-year starter. Stan White was the only “true” four-year starter I can remember because he was the guy all the way through.

southgeorgiatiger: What do you think will happen to Auburn's stadium remodel/expansion plans? When would you guess this action will take place?

I think eventually they’ll do some renovations, but I’m still not sold there will be expansion any time in the near future.

AlphaTiger1: 1, Any idea of key AU uncommitted recruits that maybe in attendance in Oxford this Saturday night? 2.  How do you think Steele will play OM and Kelly.  Since they are not very good running the ball with RBs...  will we a. blitz early and often, or b. see how our four down lineman put pressure on him initially and mix it up with zone and man to man.

I would guess there’s a pretty good chance that C.J. Avery will be in Oxford this weekend. He’s probably one of the top targets in Mississippi and has already been on an official visit for the LSU game.

AUtigeritaville: What would you say has been Kodi Burns' best contribution since taking over as the Receiver's coach and what would you recommend he improve on?

I think Kodi has done a really good job with every aspect of the position so far. As much as anything I believe his willingness to do the dirty work is something he’s getting out of his players as well. I am sure what else I could see him doing at the moment because his guys are producing.

hindsight: Assuming Chad Kelly's brother comes to the game this weekend. Do you think, after Marlon Davidson knocks Chad's head off for his first of many sacks, Chad's brother will race onto the field and want to whoop Marlon's behind?

Kelly has shown he’s capable of being an emotional guy so I think the more Auburn can hit the quarterback the better.


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