Aubserver Mailbag 133: The Biggest Mailbag Yet
The Observer's biggest single week of post-launch growth demands a mailbag that weighs in at 50+ questions and 5,000+ words.
JACK Stephen Sings V (Austin Perryman/Auburn Athletics)
This has been the biggest week for The Observer since we first launched the site. From the beginning of Auburn football fall camp until now, we’ve had more than 70 new subscribers join. That’s absolutely insane.
The energy around Auburn football right now is palpable, and we’re seeing that in the amount of people subscribing, reading and listening to our work. I accidentally forgot to ask for mailbag questions on Wednesday like I usually do on Twitter. When I did it on Thursday morning, more than 50 of y’all responded. That’s a record.
So, I’m going to try to match the response with this mailbag. I didn’t have enough room to answer every single question I got this week — Substack only lets you put so much in a single emailed newsletter — but I wanted to see if I could smash my own personal best for questions answered and words written.
I did. There are more than 50 questions and more than 5,000 words in this mailbag. While some of the answers are shorter than usual and I didn’t have room to break all the text up with pictures like usual, I think I was able to cover enough ground.
Thank you for supporting The Auburn Observer. We’re beyond grateful. Let’s go.
Who’s a player not getting the hype so far that is quietly putting in the work to make an impact this season?
I’ll credit Dan with the assist on this one, because Stephen Sings V is a perfect answer. Of all the summer transfers, I would argue that Sings was probably the most overlooked. You didn’t hear a ton of buzz about him.
And then, Thursday, we look up and see Sings working at first-team Jack with Jalen McLeod — another transfer who has a ton of hype surrounding him. But Sings, who has played some with his hand in the dirt in his career, makes a ton of sense as an early-down option at Jack. It also helps that he already is familiar with this staff.
“He’s a physical player,” Jeremy Garrett said. “He’s going to work extremely hard. You won’t have to tell him to work. He works hard and he’s going to be physical. You can expect that every single practice, every single day. He’s not going to complain. He’s going to work. I think he’s done a good job, and it’s showing up on tape for him.”
We also heard this from Josh Aldridge, who recruited Sings to Liberty:
“Man, Steve is just so genuine and grateful,” Aldridge said. “He works so hard. You're gonna see a crazy motor. You watch him and Jalen — regardless of their athletic ability, they play so flippin' hard, both of them. It's fun to watch. You're gonna get a high-motor guy and a guy who is going to leave it all out there every Saturday.
“Sometimes, they make other guys look bad, because they're moving at a certain speed, and then here comes everybody else chasing the football. So you have a defensive meeting and you're holding all those guys accountable, like, 'Hey, buddy, you weigh 20 pounds less than that guy, and there he goes. What are you doing?'“
If Auburn had to play a game this weekend, Sings would get a lot of run at Jack linebacker and would potentially be a starter. For someone who didn’t have a lot of hype around him entering fall camp, that’s a pretty big behind-the-scenes leap.
Who’s your 25 on defense?
Ron Roberts said earlier this offseason he wants to have 25 defensive players who he feels like can step up and contribute at any moment. That’s basically a two-deep depth chart, with a few extras for certain packages.
And Roberts said earlier this week that he feels like the Tigers have 15 or 16 of those players right now, meaning they’re waiting for nine or 10 more to emerge over the course of fall camp and the first few weeks of the season.
Based on what we’ve seen through five open viewing windows and talking to every defensive assistant coach this week, I feel pretty good about coming up with my 25.
Garrett says he wants to be around three-deep on the defensive front, while it sounded like Aldridge has four linebackers he’s comfortable with right now. If you go two-deep in all five secondary positions, then that gives you room for the main three at Jack linebacker.
With that in mind, here are my picks:
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial