If you haven’t seen last week’s debut, go check it out here.
This bad boy lives and dies by your questions, so shout out to all the fun, interesting questions in this week’s issue. If you have questions for future mailbags, please fire them away in one of the following places:
- Auburn Insiders Facebook page comments or direct message
- Tweet me personally (@benjaminwolk)
- Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)
No matter what it is you ask, there’s a chance it makes the mailbag. So don’t hold back. Here we go.
Q: What is the latest on Jarrett Stidham?
Q: Do you think Art Briles will be offensive coordinator next year and Rhett Lashlee move to maybe quarterback coach?
Q: Since Kellen Mond is going to enroll early now at Texas A&M, do you think we get Stidham now?
—Andrew D., Birmingham (Ala.)
This three-parted question comes courtesy of Tuesday’s team Facebook Live with Justin Ferguson and me. The first question and third question are directly related, and the second question — while somewhat outrageous — is indirectly tied into this equation as well.
Let’s start with No. 1 and No. 3 since those are the more pertinent topics.
For those that didn’t see, 4-star dual-threat quarterback prospect Kellen Mond announced earlier in the week that he signed his financial aid agreement with Texas A&M and plans to enroll early in College Station.
The crootin’ crazies are likely well-versed on Mond’s recruitment path. The abridged version: He committed to Baylor. He de-committed from Baylor. He chose Texas A&M over Auburn in June, but the Tigers still felt they might have a shot at flip under certain circumstances.
Technically, that hope isn’t completely gone, but with Mond’s Monday announcement, he appears to be all-in on the Aggies. The financial aid agreement binds Texas A&M to Mond and not vice versa, but with his intention to enroll early, it would take some mind-numbing changes for Auburn to still have any chance.
So what does this mean for Jarrett Stidham? Short answer, not much.
Stidham, the Baylor transfer, has been reported to be considering Auburn and Texas A&M while spending a semester not playing football at a junior college. The thought was that, if Stidham chose A&M, it might affect Mond’s future. But, as reported, the Aggies claimed to be content with their future with Mond and backed off Stidham in recruitment.
But, by all accounts, Mond’s commitment — wherever it may have been — had little bearing on where Stidham wanted to end up. With Mond seemingly fully committed to A&M, it would appear that Auburn is the frontrunner to add Stidham, unless another team surfaces as a potential landing spot.
That brings us to question No. 2, kind of. To explicitly answer the question, there is a zero percent chance Rhett Lashlee gets demoted to quarterbacks coach to make way for an Art Briles as offensive coordinator option.
First of all, what has Lashlee done since taking over as OC that warrants a demotion? If anything, he deserves a promotion. But it would be especially outrageous to see it happen for Briles.
I get it. Briles is a heck of football coach, and that’s all fine and dandy. But if Briles comes to Auburn — or anywhere, for that matter — that program will have much bigger issues than offensive output. Some people will claim Briles is a scapegoat, but let’s open our eyes a little. Things will only get worse now that Title IX coordinator Patty Crawford is willing to speak her mind publicly.
The Baylor situation is an absolute humiliation highlighting today’s football culture in America being more important than basic human rights. Briles might find his way back into the good graces of someone, somewhere, but that’s not going to be at Auburn — nor should it be.
As for the Stidham scenario, he has a strong connection with Briles, and you can’t fault him for that. Briles recruited him and coached him for his freshman season. If Briles does end up somewhere, and I don’t think he should or will, then that could have an effect. But that’s all speculation at this point.
Q: Still no defensive linemen or wide receivers in the 2017 class? Should I be worried?
—Jason B., Montgomery (Ala.)
It is a little odd that two of the most important position groups in college football are completely absent so far in the 2017 class, but it’s not time to panic yet.
There is still plenty of time for Auburn to not only add players at the position, but add players the Tigers have high on their priority list. A lot of this has to do with how much success Auburn had at the positions in the 2016 class.
All you have to do is look at the on-field production this season to understand this.
Marlon Davidson is a regular on one of the best defensive lines in football. Derrick Brown has made a name for himself in that position group, as well. At receiver, Kyle Davis and Nate Craig-Myers both scored impressive touchdowns last week. Eli Stove has begun to assert himself as a repeat contributor too.
So, if you want to start pointing fingers for the lack of commitments so far in 2017, begin by blaming those studs.
Still, however, Auburn has a chance to land a number of talented players at both positions. It might not have the star power of the last class, but the staff is looking to add some depth at both positions. Don’t look to add any 5-stars, but there will be quality additions once Auburn confirms some stability on the coaching front, which with a win over Mississippi State, should be there.
Q: So now our sports media is focusing on something somebody said concerning something that happened years ago and has nothing to do with what is happening in the sports world today. You think they might have been watching too much of the election crap going on?
—Tony S., undisclosed hometown
As I mentioned last week, hate mail makes for great content, so please hold no punches. Mr. Tony S. certainly didn’t. But I want to take this time to distance myself as far as possible from the 2016 presidential election.
In response the comment before the question, Tony was replying to a non-recruiting story I posted Tuesday outlining Gus Malzahn’s dismissal of Jimbo Fisher’s comments, suggesting that Auburn’s offense has some ‘illegal’ tendencies. Something tells me Tony didn’t read the whole story because, if he did, I think he would’ve understood why it was posted this week. You can read it here.
I’m not sure if this is #FSUTwitter making its way to Facebook, but if so, it was the Seminoles head coach that initially brought up the topic about something that happened in 2013. To Fisher’s defense, he was speaking more in generalities about today’s football favoring offenses and pointed to an Auburn example in 2013 that he felt affected the outcome of the BCS national championship that season.
The specific complaints were a few years ago. But potential ‘illegality’ with modern-day offense will only continue to be an issue as the NCAA makes rules that clearly favor the offensive side of the ball.
Otherwise, I appreciate the commentary from Tony S. I can only hope that one day I’m able to post a mailbag with 100 percent hate content.
With that, see you next week.