JARRETT STIDHAM (PHOTO BY JASON CALDWELL)

Jason Caldwell's Friday Auburn Mailbag Column

Talking plenty of spring football as the Auburn Tigers get ready for Saturday's A-Day game.

gtwstock: What do you think will happen at 2b and LF for our softball team as we play the last 5 weekends of SEC play? I think RF is settled with Rivera.

I think you’ll see Casey McCrackin continue to be at second base. It sounds like K.K. Crocker is still struggling some with her knee and McCrackin’s experience probably keeps her in the lineup. In left field I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go back and forth between Morgan Podany, Madi Gipson and Whitney Jordan until they can find a hot hand. Jordan is also getting practice time at second base.

 

Tiger82: How did "Dirty Mike" get his name? (Assuming the story is safe for publication. If not, then please talk about the speed of our QBs, who is the fastest, the most elusive. and so on. I think we know what Sean can do with his feet, just wondering about the others)

I believe the nickname goes back to Sherwood's ninth grade season at Creekside High School south of Atlanta where he was a teammate of Josh Holsey's and it may have something to do with the defensive back practicing in a uniform that needed cleaning, but we will check on that. I do know that his teammates really like Sherwood and have major respect for how he plays the game. As for the quarterback speed I think you could probably put Malik Willis first in speed and elusiveness because Virginia Tech actually wanted him to play DB for the Hokies. That’s pretty athletic right there. I do think that Jarrett Stidham will surprise people by how athletic he is. He can run pretty well. Woody’s not too shabby eithere.

 

aunatchamps: I noticed Sage Ledbetter is a kicker and punter. How is is punting and can he take the job from Ian Shannon?

He’s listed as both but I think he’s focused more on kicking in the spring. I think it’s definitely Ian Shannon’s job to lose and Tyler Stovall has actually done some punting as well. When the dust settles I think it will be Shannon.

 

MSandPHDatAU: Any feel for Lyndsey's views on trick plays? I'm not against them but Malzahn makes me want to pull my hair out with his timing with them.

I don’t know how many offensive coordinators call the true trick plays, that’s usually the head coach's call. Now things like a double pass, halfback pass, things like that, I think Lindsey will have plenty of wrinkles and won’t be afraid to use them from time to time if they need a spark.

 

AUTIGER64INNC: 2 quick questions: How is Nick Coe progressing as far as being a part of the playing rotation? Any updates on grad transfers for basketball and football?

I think Nick Coe is coming along very nicely. It is a process for him in learning how to play with the pad level you need to succeed in the SEC. There was not a ton of top competition for him in his part of North Carolina so he’s just learning how to get his pads down. There is no question he has got the physical skills and body lean to turn the corner, but playing the run will just be a learning process for him.

As for grad transfers, there are just so many in basketball that I think the staff is still sorting through guys and doing background on them to find the right few to target. As for football, both offensive linemen Aaron Cochran and Wilson Bell have visited Auburn in the last two weeks. They have got a shot with both and I wouldn’t be shocked to see either come on board. I am still not sure if they would take both however.

 

m5guy: Who has impressed you the most so far in spring practice (offense and defense)? Is Stidham the real deal?

I think on offense the guy who has impressed me the most has been Brodarious Hamm. He’s still very raw and a long way from being in good enough shape to play, but he’s physical and is just massive. He’s going to be hard to keep off the field and that may happen very early in his career. On defense I really like the way Marlon Character looks in the secondary. He’s got good size and competes well at cornerback. He’ll be a fun player to watch. As for Stidham, he’s got all the tools and intangibles to be the real deal. I like his attitude and approach. We’ll see how that translates on the field.

 

AUTigerBSME90: Is Stidham a legitimate all SEC QB this year? Who are go to receivers?

We’ve seen what happens when the right quarterback jumps into this offense, they usually put up big numbers. With Chip Lindsey adding more to the passing game he’ll have a chance to do some big things if he’s the guy. At receiver right now I think Will Hastings is probably the most reliable of the guys right now and he has done a good job of stretching the field in the middle during the spring. Outside Darius Slayton has performed well and is probably one of the most consistent of the receivers.

 

aunatchamps: Who is the starter at the star position and the backups?

I would say right now that Jeremiah Dinson is probably first up at the star/nickel position with Daniel Thomas and Mike Sherwood both there. They’ve also worked Javaris Davis some inside as well in case he’s needed. I think Jamel Dean could be in the mix there as well when he gets back on the field in the preseason. He's got a good skill set with his size and coverage ability.

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