Chat with Chris Low
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com's SEC blogger Chris Low will stop by to talk some college football. He's down at LSU today, checking out the Tigers' spring practices.
Low joined ESPN.com in 2007 after 10 years with The (Nashville) Tennessean covering the University of Tennessee and SEC. The Rock Hill, S.C., native lives with his wife in Knoxville and has three sons.
Send your questions now and join Low Monday at noon ET!
Chris Low (12:02 PM)
Hello from sunny Baton Rouge, although it wasn't that way yesterday. Cold (and I mean, really cold) and windy.
Chris, Do you think UGA offense could be best in SEC? With All-SEC players at every position(except QB) on offense, I think they can be explosive.
Chris Low (12:06 PM)
Any time you're as deep and experienced as Georgia will be in the offensive line, then the offense should be pretty good. Throw in one of the best receivers in the nation in A.J. Green and a running back like Washaun Ealey, and yes, I think the Dogs have a chance to be one of the better offenses in the SEC. But first-year quarterbacks in this league are a tough deal. If you struggle at quarterback, it really doesn't matter how strong you are elsewhere. I think Aaron Murray will end up being the guy, so a lot of it will depend on how well he protects the ball and gets the ball to his playmakers. Had a chance to meet with him a couple of weeks ago. He sure is a sharp kid.
Chris, How good do you think Alabama's offense will be with all the players returning?
Chris Low (12:07 PM)
Should be the best offense Saban has had there at Alabama. I also believe that McElwain as an offensive coordinator has been very underrated, the job he did last year with McElroy.
Chris, What do you think it will take for Florida to be a contender this season? Their O-Line is massive, deep and experienced. Their D-line could be the most talented in the country. And they have depth and loads of talent at every position. They also have the best coach in the country. If this team matures well over the next few months and the first few games, I like their chances of being in NC contention for the next 2 or 3 years at least. What are your thoughts?
Chris Low (12:09 PM)
First of all, I think the Gators will contend for the national title as long as Meyer is there, some years more than others. This may be one of those "others" with so many new faces. Even with Brantley taking over at QB, I think the offense may end up being ahead of the defense. So many new guys have to come through on that side of the ball, and when you add in the staff changes on defense, it may take a while before the talent rises to the top.
mike (Atlanta GA)
With ben tate gone, who do you think will be Auburn's starting running back in the 2010 season?
Chris Low (12:12 PM)
Mario Fannin will get first crack. The coaches are also excited about seeing what Dontae Aycock can do. And then this summer, touted signee Michael Dyer arrives. Don't forget about Onterio McCalebb, either. He was never the same after getting injured last season, but gives the Tigers that speed dimension which is ideal for that offense.
any word on robby green at alabama?
Chris Low (12:14 PM)
Not yet. My understanding of that situation is that it's an eligibilty issue for this coming season and that Alabama is appealing so that he will be eligible. It could be later in the spring before Alabama knows something.
Chris, Auburn had a record setting season last year in a lot of stats and they are only improved talent wise. So why do a lot of people seem to be over looking them, such as yourself.
Chris Low (12:17 PM)
I'm not overlooking the Tigers. If they can build more depth on defense and not have to play the same guys all the time -- which was a big factor why they lost five of their last six SEC games last season having to play 11 straight weeks without a bye -- I think they will be right there in the West race. Obviously, Cam Newton needs to come through at quarterback. But I like the momentum in their program right now.
Can Andre Debose be MORE explosive than Percy Harvin? The highlight reels blew me away.
Chris Low (12:19 PM)
Let's hold off on the Percy comparisons until Debose actually plays against an SEC defense. Percy was unbelievable. The guy scored a touchdown in 15 straight games in which he played. That said, the Florida coaches think Debose has a chance to be special.
Tell me if I'm crazy: Mark Ingram is overrated and Trent Richardson is the real deal? Thanks
Chris Low (12:22 PM)
You're crazy. Here's my take: They're both great players. To watch Ingram break tackles the way he does and get yardage after contact is reminiscent of Emmitt Smith when he was at Florida. I'm not saying Ingram will be the next Emmitt Smith, but he just doesn't go down. I do believe Richardson is more explosive. My advice to Alabama fans is to quit worrying about which one is better and if somebody is overrated. Just sit back and enjoy them both. It's not often you have two backs on the same team like that.
Will (Metairie, LA)
Hey Chris, how is BR treating you? I get a renewed sense of optimisim around the LSU Football scene, despite our recent struggles the past two Novembers. Is that just "next year" talking or do we have a legitimate shot to challenge Bama for the West?
Chris Low (12:27 PM)
Great. Baton Rouge is always one of my favorite stops. Look forward to catching up with coach Miles later today and then hitting the Acme Oyster House later tonight. As for the Tigers' chances in 2010, they really weren't that far off last season from winning 11 games -- and that's despite an offense that was horrible. I think Jefferson will be better in his second season as the starter. I think they will get the ball to Shepard this season and I also think you'll see the real Rueben Randle. The O-line has to play better. That's an unknown. I have a lot of faith in John Chavis to put another strong defense out there, although some young guys are going to have to come through. We should know a lot more by the end of September with the opener against North Carolina and home game against West Virginia. A tough start for the Tigers.
John Goodman (Arkansas)
How do you think the hogs will compete in the sec west for the 2010 season.
Chris Low (12:29 PM)
Right now, I would probably have the Hogs second in the West, maybe third. Arkansas, Auburn and LSU are all pretty close. I think Alabama is still a notch above, but we'll see how it plays out on the field. The Hogs will be able to score with anybody. But can they stop people? You can't win every game in this league 41-38.
Chris, are there any updates on the SEC schedule for this season? Last I saw, they were trying to fix it so Bama wouldn't be playing so many teams coming off their bye week.
Chris Low (12:30 PM)
Not yet. The conference office is trying to make it happen this season. In the end, they might not be able to. But they are looking at moving a handful of games around so that the Tide won't have to play its last six SEC games against teams coming off bye weeks.
Joe ((Washington DC))
Hey Chris, give me some positive news about the Tennessee football program. Anything? Please. We need it.
Chris Low (12:34 PM)
OK, here's one: Derek Dooley is doing it his way and doesn't care what anybody else thinks ... media, fans, donors, etc. I think that's a good start, because it's his program and he has a steep hill to climb. This won't be a quick fix. He knows it, and his staff knows it. These next two recruiting classes will be critical. Now, I don't know if that's good news. But he's getting some things under control there that needed fixing and he's not going to coddle players. See Bryce Brown. I do believe that Tauren Poole will be one of the surprises of the league. He should have been playing over Brown last season.
What is your take on Kentucky's QB competition this spring?
Chris Low (12:37 PM)
Well, Hartline has the most experience. Newton may be the most athletic and ended last season as the Cats' starter. But if Mossakowski's shoulder is healthy, and the word out of Kentucky is that he's throwing it well, then he may end up being the darkhorse. With Joker Phillips taking over, I'm betting that he goes with one of the young guys, either Newton or Mossakowski. Should be an intense competition.
Mike (Baton rouge)
How far off do you think LSU is from BAMA and FLA? What is the problem? Is it the coaching staff? Are expectations too high or what?
Chris Low (12:44 PM)
Not far. Look at last season. If LSU has any offense against Florida, they probably win that game. They were leading Alabama going into the fourth quarter and got some bad breaks. I do believe there has been some indecision offensively that has cost them both in games and bigger picture. For instance, what do they want to be offensively? They have to get that straightened out this year. But they have continued to recruit well and have talent in the program. Miles needs to beat more of the team that count this year. He's lost the last two to Alabama, the last two to Florida and the last two to Ole Miss. I think the Tigers will rebound this season. But if they do lose four or more games again -- depending on how it all happens -- then Miles could be in some trouble. It's just the nature of the SEC right now.
Cornelle (New Orleans)
Do you think Patrick Peterson has the ability to be the BEST CB in the nation this season? And how good of a season do you think Rueben Randle and Russell Shepard will have this season?
Chris Low (12:45 PM)
I thought Peterson was one of the top four or five last season. So, yes, he's right up there at the top going into the 2010 season. Shepard has a great attitude, is really focusing in on becoming a receiver and should be one of the Tigers' best playmakers. Randle is so smooth as a receiver. They didn't get him the ball enough last season. He and Shepard should make for a dangerous combo.
J T (B'ham)
Hi do you ever see a question here that is so good you take it for story later on?
Chris Low (12:46 PM)
All the time. You guys are my lifeline!
Roscoe (Columbia, SC)
Do you see Garcia finally getting things to click this year? He's got the talent at receiver and running back to support him. The O-line is still a big question mark but Garcia was partly to blame last year for some of the lack luster offensive performances the Gamecocks had.
Chris Low (12:48 PM)
Yes, he was, but he was also one tough cookie playing with the painful rib injury he suffered against Ole Miss and really made a lot of strides as a QB, I thought. If he improves that much again this coming season, the Gamecocks will be right in the thick of the East race. You're right, though. The offensive line is the key. It's been the key since Spurrier got there, and they've yet to get it fixed. Maybe this is the year.
Brian (Tampa Bay)
Chris, help me out here...planning to go see my first Gator game this season and I'm torn between the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville or to make my first trip to the Swamp to see them take on LSU. If you were in my shoes, which would you go with?
Chris Low (12:49 PM)
If you go to the Cocktail Party and get into the spirit of the Coctail Party, you probably won't remember it. So I'd go with the trip to the Swamp, which is easily one of the best atmospheres in college football.
Chris (Orange County, CA)
Chris, do you see Randall Mackey taking snaps this season? If so, will he truly be a threat passing out of the wild rebel given his height?
Chris Low (12:51 PM)
Yes, I think they're definitely going to use him at QB in different situations. I think you have to pass some in that Wild Rebel to keep defenses honest.
Chris Low (12:52 PM)
Sorry to do it, but I need to break away early. Going over to LSU's campus to see coach Miles. Thanks for the questions, and I'll give you some bonus minutes next week. Have a great week!