Jason Caldwell's Friday Auburn Mailbag Column

A variety of Auburn sports are featured in this edition of the Friday Mailbag column.

Jello: How do you see the RB's being used this year? Will Pettway be the clear number 1 RB, or could we see more of a duo approach with split carries between him and K.Johnson?

I think you will continue to see Kamryn Pettway be the guy who gets the majority of the carries, but a difference is going to be the number of passes will take some of the load off him. In addition Kerryon Johnson will be a true third down back this season and I expect him to be a serious receiving threat for the Tigers.


m5guy: I like JaTarvious Whitlow's attitude & he is obviously athletic from his videos. Do you see him as a contributor this year or will he more than likely be red shirted due to depth at wide receiver? Did he play DB any in high school?

I wouldn’t count him out of anything after watching him several times the last two years. I think it’s going to be a transition for him in terms of running routes and the finer points of playing receiver, but he has got great ball skills and is dangerous once the ball is in his hands. I could see him pushing to return kicks as well. He reminds me so much of Robert Baker it’s crazy. He did play some defensive, but he belongs on a football field with the ball in his hands.


Actman: We are in June and I don't see / hear anything on grad transfer / basketball recruiting front. What do you think Pearl does on finishing out 2017 basketball roster?

I think Auburn is looking more at the transfer rather than the grad transfer. The Tigers have had a few guys visit, including Myles Wilson out of Mt. St. Mary’s most recently. There are still a bunch of guys out there looking at colleges and with a transfer having to sit out next season anyway there’s no rush for them to get on campus before at least the second summer semester. I think you’ll see Auburn go the transfer route to bring in a player and have him sit next season, much like DeSean Murray did last year. It is not a great 2018 class so the transfer option is pretty enticing.


howells: How will we use the Qbs in the redzone? We have heard a lot about rpo's so is that a staple in the redzone? can we take advantage of our size outside a little better in the pass game in general when we make it to the scoring area?

That’s something I’m interested in seeing as well. There is no question in my mind that the RPO is going to be used in the red zone combined with the back shoulder fade. If you can execute those things at a high level it’s almost impossible for a defense to stop. I also think you’ll see the wildcat used some in the red zone as well.


plate50: Any idea who will fill the softball and baseball assistant slots?

It’s still very early so it’s still in the works. The one thing I do know is that both will have a whole lot of interest. I spoke with Butch Thompson on Thursday and he said his phone has been blowing up from coaches interested in the job. I think both spots will be filled with very quality coaches. Clint Myers told Mark that he has a large number of good candidates to choose from.


gtwstock: Are we going to beat UCF?

I’ll just stick with my original thoughts about this team. If Keegan Thompson and Casey Mize do what they’re capable of then I’ll take this team against just about anyone. I believe both of these guys are primed to pitch well so I think Auburn has a great chance to make it out of Tallahassee unless the mistake-prone Tigers show up.


SandHillsTiger: Do we lose a scholarship with us signing Alaric Williams and he not qualifying?

That’s the way things work now. If a player signs and doesn’t qualify then that scholarship is gone for the year. That means Auburn will have 24 for the initial group this year.


AUHighmark: What's your favorite bbq restaurant in Auburn/Opelika?

It’s funny because I do different things at each one. For chicken it’s Byron’s hands down for me. Vegetables there are also great and the best cornbread anywhere. For my pork I like Mike and Ed’s bite-size or the pork chop sandwich. Country’s lunch specials are tough to beat for a quick bite as well.


tcb4au: instead of moving Daniel to first couldn't they put Estes in left? Right now we need all the bats in the line-up we can get,plus left field seems to be the position that has not been settled  all year. Is Conner Davis a first baseman by trade?

They could put Estes in left, but it’s more about getting Robert back at first base because of his defense. When the year started Butch Thompson wanted to build around pitching and defense. I think he feels like that’s going to be huge in regional play. Robert is definitely the best defensive first baseman the Tigers have got. As for Davis, he’s a first baseman as well but needs to keep improving his glove.

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