Jason Caldwell's Friday Auburn Mailbag: Offensive Coordinator Thoughts And A Whole Lot More

Lots of talk about the search for an offensive coordinator for the Auburn Tigers, football recruiting and a whole more in this edition of Jason Caldwell's Friday Mailbag column.

au3020: If I am not mistaken signing day is Feb. 8th this year.  Currently Auburn has 18 commits.  How  many more spaces does Auburn have available this year?  A full 25 allotment or are we held down some with scholarship numbers?  Also, how do you see the final spots being filled?

Signing day is actually Feb. 1 so we’re less than three weeks to signing day. Auburn could sign as many as 26 in this year’s class with one counting back on last year's total. As for how they will be filled, I think in a perfect world the Tigers would like one more wide and one more lineman on offense and possibly a fullback. On defense they would like to add two more guys up front with another linebacker and a safety. That would put them at seven more guys.


dewayne: Do we add a true DT in this class besides Jackson who could play end?

Four-star Cam Spence is a teammate of Calvin Ashley’s at St. John’s College High in Washington, D.C., and he’s expected to visit next weekend with Ashley. I think he is probably the best bet right now, but he’s currently committed to Maryland. Alec Jackson is a future three-technique, similar to Andrew Williams.


mgmzebra: I may have missed the info so forgive me. Do you know the first medical issue with White's arm; and the treatment required to fix it? The forearm bone issue is not my inquiry.

Sean basically confirmed to us in New Orleans that he had a separation and a sprained AC joint. They were able to rest it and rebuild the strength in the shoulder.


AUpoker: The CBS Sports website has a good series of articles going on players that have Hall of Fame credentials and their case for getting in, including those that are linked to PEDs. What is your position on the players like Bonds and Clemens, who would be no-doubters without that cloud hanging over their head???

I’m very torn on that subject because while not everyone used them, I believe not everyone who used them was caught either. I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision, that’s for sure.


wareagle7799: I have seen Tyler Queen's name still in the QB race for 2017 but always thought his day had passed due to the amount of shoulder damage. Can you comment on this?

I think Tyler is going to give his best effort in the spring and he should be healthy enough to at least give it a go. I believe it is going to be very tough for him to make a push for the starting job, however, because of the number of reps. Jarrett Stidham is going to get a ton of those with Woody Barrett and newcomer Malik Willis as well.


TigerNAggieLand: 1. Who do you think are the two most likely candidates for the OC position and why? 2. Who would be your dream pick, but would be highly unlikely to be offered or accept the position?

Right now I would say Mark Helfrich from Oregon and former Texas and current South Florida offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert are two of the guys in the mix. As for my dream pick, I think either one of those guys would fit well. Auburn’s offense is very similar to Oregon’s so that would be a good fit for Helfrich. Gilbert runs an offense similar to Baylor, which would benefit Stidham. Auburn has recruited players who should fit the style of offense those coaches run.


shaynewasdenfan: How important of a factor is play calling experience in the OC search?

I think it’s the most important factor. Lots of people can put together plans for practices and even games, but it’s calling the right play at the right time that makes the difference. That comes with experience.


tcb4au: after asking excuse me while i duck do you think Gus will interview  Pat Nix?

I don’t think so. Pat is a really good football coach and a QB coach, but it’s been a long time since he was on the sidelines in a college game. That would be a tough thing to jump back into.


ssmb98: Would you hire Art Briles?

That’s an easy one for me--no. Even if nothing had happened at Baylor he would still be a 61-year old coordinator. That doesn’t mean he can’t get the job done, but when you combine that with all of the issues at Baylor, including lawsuits, etc., I don’t think it’s even close to worth it. He’s not going to want to be a coordinator for very long and will want a shot to prove his head coach worth again. For a possible one year stint, I’m not jumping into that firestorm.


aupops: Jason do you think Patrick Nix can perform as OC at this level? I don't know if his prior tenures would be considered successes or flops.

As I mentioned earlier, I think he’s a really good coach and he could get the job done. I just think it’ would be too much of a risk to take that chance.


AUtigeritaville: With the conspiracy theories, black helicopters circling, bag men, etc. that you read on message boards, I wondered if there were any sort of truth to it why wouldn't coaches use that against their former bosses. Do you know if coaches sign any sort of Non Disclosure Agreement when joining a staff?

It’s a pretty easy answer. As soon as you told on your former staff it would be your last job because nobody else would ever hire you again. What’s done is done and you leave it alone. Guys that talk are guys who wind up without a job.


Dewsweeper: When is the last time you paid for a ticket to a sporting event?

I have bought tickets for my wife, family members, etc. so that has been very recently. As for myself using the ticket, I would probably have to go back a few years to paying for an Orlando Magic game while there for the Citrus Bowl. I just wanted to check it out. It’s been a while. Another one was at Brantley to watch Anthony Gulley-Morgan play. Sometimes high schools don’t play around. I don’t care about the Braves or Falcons so that knocks them off the list. Probably the only thing I would pay for would be Masters tickets/badge. I spend so much time at games as it is I like to stay at home when I can.


wtbtiger: How many analysts are on the AU staff? How do we stack up in numbers and coaching experience as the other SEC schools?

Auburn has 10 analysts/graduate assistants on staff at the moment. Just from looking Alabama has about 15 or so in those same roles and about six more guys who are in player development roles. Georgia has about 16 in those same roles with a few more player development guys.


SirAubie: Your playoff weekend predictions with score and who you are cheering for?

I like the Seahawks to beat the Falcons in a close game on Saturday with the Patriots winning easily over Houston. On Sunday I like Pittsburgh and Dallas to win. I probably enjoy watching the Patriots play as much as any of those teams, but I don’t have a dog in the fight for any NFL games.


tunicatiger: I need to buy a new Auburn baseball jersey this weekend.  What number would you say I should get ahead of this season to be the first on the bandwagon for a breakout player?  Low budget, I can only get one.

I don’t think you could go wrong with having 7 for Keegan Thompson or 32 for Casey Mize from a pitching standpoint. At the plate the number is going to be 3 for juco transfer Josh Anthony. I think he’s going to be a really good one for the Tigers.


im4au: Which player currently on campus in any sport do you think has the best chance for us to still be talking about him/her 25 years from now?

I would probably go with Kasey Cooper. Based on the last two seasons and the interest blowing up in softball, this is going to be a moment a whole lot of people will remember for a long time. She’s easily going to be the best player in school history and could be the best player in SEC history before she is done. That’s pretty lofty company.


Cweb4au: What do you think of the possibility of AU hiring Mark Helfrich as OC? Would his offensive philosophy mesh with Malzahn's run first, play action scheme?

I think there’s a shot with Helfrich and his fit would actually be a pretty good one for the offense. Oregon’s offense is very similar to what Auburn does with the tempo up and more throws down the field. Here is a look at what they did under Mariota. Lots of it looks familiar.

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