Thursday, September 29, 2011
Chris' chat wrap
By ESPN.com staff
Hitting the highlights from my chat earlier Thursday:
Samantha in Macon, Ga.: What do you think is different about the Florida Gators this year compared to last year?
Chris Low: One of the main things that jumps out at you on the field is that they're making more big plays on offense, the kind of explosive, down-the-field plays they didn't make a lot of last season. Charlie Weis has done a terrific job of getting the ball to Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps in space. The other thing is that all the off-the-field drama that hovered last year seems to be gone. There's much better chemistry on this team and some of the younger players have grown up and aren't nearly as immature.
Donnell in Baton Rouge, La.: Chris, how do you think Jarrett Lee will handle the reinstatement of Jordan Jefferson and when you do think JJ will be needed most?
Chris Low: Like Jarrett has handled everything else -- with class. Both of those guys are seniors and realize how special this season can be for LSU. I can't see either one of them being selfish at this point. Jefferson will get a chance to play again. The Tigers will need him to come in and win a game somewhere along the way. It's sort of the role Lee played last season.
Brian in New Orleans: Chris, do you see Mo Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu as finalists for the Thorpe Award and who is your choice right now for POY, DPOY and COY in the SEC?
Chris Low: They're two of the best defensive backs I've seen to this point in college football, so I'd say they both will be strong candidates. My Offensive MVP is a tie right now between Marcus Lattimore and Chris Rainey. My Defensive MVP would be Mathieu, and I'll go with James Franklin as my Coach of the Year, although I reserve the right to change that to Will Muschamp if the Gators win either of these next two games against Alabama or LSU.
Jacob in Gainesville, Fla.: Florida's O-line vs. an Alabama 'D' that hasn't been able to get pressure on the quarterback yet this year ... who has the edge?
Chris Low: Actually, Alabama got good pressure on Arkansas' Tyler Wilson last week and delivered some nasty hits on him. The Tide just haven't recorded a lot of sacks. It's not a dominant defensive line for Alabama, and even Nick Saban has admitted that. But they do have Hightower and Upshaw coming off the edge on third down, and both are future NFL players. Florida's offensive line has played well to this point, but I still give the edge to Alabama's defense.
Tim in Alexandria, La.: Do you see a chance of Mark Richt coaching Ole Miss should he and Houston Nutt be fired this season?
Chris Low: No, I don't. If Ole Miss makes a change, I can't see the Rebels going that route again, bringing in another coach from the league that was sort of pushed out at his previous stop. Whatever happens, and if Nutt doesn't make it, I don't see any way that Pete Boone is the guy making the hire. He may be gone before Nutt.