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Jason Caldwell's Friday Auburn Mailbag Column Features Football & Baseball Questions

Taking your questions about the Auburn Tigers, Jarrett Stidham and much, much more.

Jarrett Stidhham (above) is being recruited by the Tigers.

TigerNAggieLand: Are you still at 60% on Wiley playing for us later this month?

I’m probably still at least at that number and maybe even a little higher. There is definitely still a chance and we could learn something pretty quickly with Auburn’s semester wrapping up in the next week. If he were to get in that would be a big deal for the Tigers and allow them to have another big body inside defensively as well as a rebounder.

tigerpi: Can you give a small run down on each QB presently at AU disregarding White and Johnson and their odds of ever playing for the Tigers.

I guess I would start with John Franklin because he is the guy who has already played. I believe if Auburn gets Jarrett Stidham then it’s going to be very tough for Franklin to see time at quarterback again. If the Tigers don’t get Stidham then I think Franklin would probably be in line to be the second guy again and battle Woody Barrett for that spot. I think Barrett is a guy who has a chance to earn quality playing time in the offense. The odd guy out is probably Tyler Queen. It is tough to overcome his major injury problems the last two years and that's unfortunate because I like his skill set in this offense.

wareagledoc: As far as I know, Lashlee and his family are very happy living in Auburn, raising their family, and coaching under Gus. Do you think Lashlee is at the point in his career where he wants to take a head coaching job if given the opportunity at a mid-major type school...or do you think he's staying unless he was given more of a "dream job" offer?

I don’t think he’s staying for a “dream job” school, but I do think it has to be the right fit for him at the right time. Much like Malzahn did, I think Rhett Lashlee understands not all head coaching jobs are the same. I think he will wait for the right fit when and if it comes along I expect he will be very good in the role as a head coach.

wareagledoc: Lot of discussion on the board lately about bringing in either a new QB coach, new OC, or just some offensive consultants. Would you speculate on which of those options (if any) you think is the most likely?

I think Auburn's coaches will once again talk to different coaching staffs in the offseason just like they did last year. I don’t see Malzahn bringing in a consultant on offense with Lashlee still running the offense. That’s basically what he’s doing at times is giving input, the same with Herb Hand. As for bringing in a new coach or offensive coordinator, I think it depends on if Rhett Lashlee gets another job somewhere else.

AUPD89: Currently, what do you feel about our chances of landing Stidham?

hoNothing has really changed for me in that regard. I liked Auburn’s chances for the last few months and I still like Auburn’s chances. He really has a good bandwidth Rhett Lashlee and that’s something that is working in the Tigers’ favor right now. With so much young talent and a strong defense returning this Auburn team is poised to play well next season and I think Stidham is a guy who wants to win immediately.

AUtigeritaville: What two songs sum up the season for the offense and the defense?

I’ll go with Breakdown by Tom Petty for the offense because of all the injuries and the problems that came because of it. Even with the early season blunders the offense found its way and was playing well until Sean White and Kamryn Pettway went down. That’s even with Kerryon Johnson playing less than full speed for much of the year.

On defense I picked Sam Cooke's “A Long Time Comin” just because the defense finally lived up to the promise that had been expected for quite a few years.

m5guy: Your final thoughts on the 2016 football season - also the biggest disappointment and biggest surprise whether it be a game, position group, coach or individual player.

It has definitely been a rollercoaster this year, but until the injuries hit on offense I thought this team could play with anybody in the country. If you can get White, Pettway and Johnson healthy for the bowl game and get a win then I think 9-4 would be a pretty good year considering where this team was picked. The biggest disappointment for me was probably the lack of development in the passing game. With so many talented young wide receivers I expected more use of them throughout the season. We saw a little from Elijah Stove, but I think Kyle Davis and Nate Craig could have helped more.

Probably the biggest surprise for me was just how well Josh Holsey played. I never doubted his talent, but to come back from his injuries and perform the way he did was special to see. Not having him in the Iron Bowl was a big blow for the defense.

Ware12: You, Mark, Stat and 80% of this Board and fans have voiced frustration with the game planning and play calling this year.  One would have to be blind or wearing orange and blue "coke bottle" glasses not to see the coaches cost us the Clemson and GA. games and lowered our chances significantly to beat TxAM and Turds.   Do you think Gus or Lashlee believe their planning and play calling was poor and that they need to adjust going forward?  If so, I'm not concerned. If not, we're in deep crap and won't improve regardless of QB recruits and injuries.  Gus was creative and cutting edge years ago, but it seems his innovation has stopped.  

There’s no question the coaches saw the issues. Gus Malzahn backed off the play calling duties following the early season struggles and Lashlee talked about the issues in the Georgia game the week after. I thought the offense really took some steps forward under Lashlee’s guidance until the injuries. Now the next step is to be able to run the offense with the second QB. That has been an issue the last two years and was huge for this team this year.

wtbtiger: What are the chances that Carlson will be back?

I think the chances are very good that Daniel Carlson will return for his senior season. With his brother coming in next season as a freshman he wants to have a season on the same team with him and show him the ropes. He had the chance to learn from Cody Parkey and he wants to do the same for his brother.

No7Tiger: What type of program would you see Terence Dunlap signing with? If not at AU level... would you see UAB and/ or Troy trying to keep him in state? Thanks

Troy, Tulane and Rutgers are three programs that are high on him right now. I would think that’s probably his level and I could see him being a fun player to watch in a few seasons when he’s 5-10, 190 or so. I think he will end up playing cornerback and maybe returning kicks and he could be a steal for some program. He is a guy myself and John Garcia recommended for the Alabama-Mississippi Game before the year started so we feel pretty good about that.

aualum82: With fall practice in the books, what is your view on the upcoming baseball season? Can we be competitive in the SEC or are we at least a couple of recruiting classes away?

I definitely think this team is going to be improved over last season’s group because of the added pitching depth and defense up the middle. Blake Logan and Kyler Deese have really improved behind the plate and should be better there. Defensively, the 2017 Tigers should be better at shortstop and second as well, which is huge for a team that wants to win on the mound. I still think they are probably a class away offensively, but they should be better equipped to face teams from a pitching standpoint this season.


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