Carl Lawson

Jason Caldwell's Friday Auburn Mailbag Column--Georgia Football Game Week

Answering your questions in the Friday Auburn Mailbag as the Tigers prepare to face the Georgia Bulldogs.

justafanwde: As I look at our defensive 2 deep we only seem to have 5 Srs + Carl and maybe Tray. On the other side 4 Srs and possibly Bradon. Am I missing something or someone? Bearing this in mind is there a younger team in the SEC? If so, who?

There are a few younger teams around the league. South Carolina is the first to come to mind, but without question this Auburn team has plenty of young talent to keep things going next season. When you look at having only Tony Stevens and Marcus Davis as seniors among the entire group of skill players it’s interesting to think about the potential on offense. Only T.J. Neal is a senior at linebacker with Josh Holsey and Rudy Ford in the secondary. There ae a lot of young players to go around.

wtbtiger: Over or under. Do you think we will have to throw 20 passes against Ga? Who would you predict to catch more passes for AU in this game?

I definitely think you’ll see Auburn throw 20 or more passes on Saturday. I expect to see a first half similar to what we saw at Mississippi State when Sean White threw the ball 16 times. I could see 25 passes and around 45 runs--somewhere in there.

Tiger82: How do you see the battle going between the dawgie OLine and our DLine?

I think that’s an advantage for Auburn heading into Saturday. Georgia’s offensive line has struggled to create a push for much of the year in the running game. That’s something to watch on Saturday because if the Bulldogs can’t run it then it falls on the shoulders of Jacob Eason to attack the Auburn defense.

AUTD2: It looked like Daniel Carlson kicked two of the kick offs last week short, to about the 20 yd line and did it on purpose. Why not just kick it out of the end zone for a touchback. Thoughts?

Auburn was trying to force Vanderbilt to start possessions from inside the 25-yard line. With Georgia having a good kickoff return look for Carlson to kick the ball deep to produce touchbacks.

AUtigeritaville: With the revelation that Sean White wasn't going to start against Vandy and had not practiced all week, as a journalist that works so closely with the program, how surprised were you and what was your reaction? How can something like that be kept secret so well? Is there ever a case something like this is known and just asked to be kept under wraps?

I wasn’t surprised because we had an idea later in the week. That’s why I went to see the team off on Friday, but White looked good to me. Had the Tigers been playing Georgia he would have started last week, but they held him and tried to get by with it because the opponent was Vandy. This time of year a lot of quarterbacks and other players are less than full speed physically and miss some practice time because of that.. That is life in the SEC. At halftime the coaches made the decision to let him play because Auburn was trailing. As for how something like that can be kept from being general knowledge, during the season teams are usually working indoors on anything that concerns an actual plan so not many eyes see those things.

gmason73: Since the basketball Tigers are opening Friday night, what's your prediction on the season? Do we make the NIT or NCAA?

I think this group is going to be really, really close to becoming postseason tournament team and it could depend on how the Tigers handle these early season games. They need to take advantage of contests against North Florida, Georgia State, Eastern Kentucky, USC-Upstate, Boston College, Coastal Carolina and Mercer. With so many tough non-conference games it will be important for this team to build its RPI and confidence in November and December.

alcar7: I follow you on Twitter and have seen your pics in addition to what I've seen with my own eyes. Can you remember a more held player with less holding calls flagged than Carl Lawson?

It’s been a constant thing this season, but it seems like since Arkansas the amount of times he’s being held has only increased. I think the only guy that I remember that was similar was probably Dee Ford near the end of that 2013 season. He was a guy who was held a whole lot off the edge.

aupops: Jason, do you think that the rules governing OL holding are being ignored by the officials or have our coaches missed the boat on what is allowed? Not going into the spuat set of rules that appear to be just for them. Thanks

I think they are pretty much largely ignored in pass blocking situations, which is amazing to me considering most of those happen within a few yards of the quarterback. Where they are called are on outside runs so teams like Auburn tend to get called more as we saw last week. Vandy held time and time again last week and had none called. It just amazes me the level of incompetence in officiating right now.

ATLtiger07: If Sean White were to miss time with an injury, do you think Franklin is still the next guy up?

Sean White is fine and would have played last week if Auburn had been playing Georgia. If he were to miss some time I think Franklin is still the next guy up unless they got in an obvious passing situation late in a game.

m5guy: What has Steele done or what can he do to prevent the dawgs & bama from having the passing success that Ole Miss & Vandy had on us?

Georgia doesn’t have the wide receiver threats that Ole Miss had and Chad Kelly is one of the best quarterbacks the Tigers have faced in seasons. As for Vandy, it took a tipped pass on fourth down for them to get over 200 yards last week. That being said, teams are content to dink and dunk against Auburn right now so I expect the Tigers to continue to play more zone and attempt to be a little tighter in the short areas.

AuburnNinja: At some point this season, do you think the coaches could decide to move on from the Franklin experiment and start giving the young guys like Queen and Barrett more reps?  During bowl practice, perhaps?  Or even earlier?

Tyler Queen and Woody Barrett will absolutely get more reps during bowl practices. That’s just the way it’s done. I think Franklin will continue to be the No. 2 guy through the bowl game, but after that the battle is on again IMO.

AugTiger: Georgia has some good tight ends and uses them. What do you think the defense needs to do to improve our coverage of TE's?

I think getting Darrell Williams and Montavious Atkinson more involved would help, but probably the biggest thing this Auburn defense can do is continue to move Josh Holsey inside in passing situations to the nickel spot. Rudy Ford is struggling in coverage and teams are taking advantage of that. I think getting Holsey inside really helped in the second half against Vandy.

gtwstock: Glad to see Kerryon appears to be approaching good health. Do we see him more this week as a wildcat given White's health and UK's success running out of it last week vs. UGA?

Kerryon should be as healthy as he’s been in about a month and that’s good news for the Tigers. I do expect to see more wildcat this week with the problems that Georgia had last week defending Kentucky's version it and Iwouldn’t be shocked to see some plays off that for really the first time this season.

AUPMBA: Given the outstanding recruiting in basketball the last two seasons (not including recent class) do you see any players leaving?

I am not sure if you’re asking about current players on the team or not, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see New Williams look elsewhere after this year. He is definitely on the outside looking in as far as playing time is concerned heading into the season.

Actman: If Bubba is questionable. And Malik on IR. Who are our next two Tailbacks?

Kerryon Johnson will likely be the top guy this week and if Pettway can give them some carries that would be a huge bonus. You’ve got Stanton Truitt and Kameron Martin there along with Chandler Cox. I wouldn’t rule out Rudy Ford getting a carry or two as well if they need him.

aubtime: Our new softball class seem to have more players with all American honors, is the class better than last years class? How hard do the 2 new pitchers throw? How many passes do you see us throwing against UGA?

It’s really impossible for me to judge softball classes because there is so much unknown about them, but I spoke with Clint Myers on Thursday and he was a very, very happy man. That tells me he believes this is a special group. I believe both of the pitchers are power pitchers, but have no idea on specific numbers. As for the number of passes on Saturday, I see somewhere between 20-27, depending on what is working and not working for the Tigers.

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