Chat with Chris Low
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's SEC blogger Chris Low will stop by to talk some college football.
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 Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Chris Low (1:02 PM)
Is spring practice here yet?
RAYGORDONREID ( MIDDLEBURG FLORIDA 32068)
QUESTION TO CHRIS LOW AT 1.20 PM AUBURN QB NEXT YEAR
Chris Low (1:03 PM)
Barrett Trotter is the guy to beat. But as we get deeper into the season, incoming freshman Kiehl Frazier could have a chance to play some.
sweatervested1 (mobile, al)
Chris, since the SEC blog requires so much attention. (You will have 1000 comments in May about some BS topic ESPN has made up.) Have they thought about getting Andrea Adelson (Florida grad, I believe) to help you out? To take some pressure off of you. I think she covers the non-AQs now. Who the hell cares about the non-AQs?
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
Andrea does a great job. Honestly, the thing that's so great about SEC football is that it never sleeps. It's 365 days a year, and there's always something to talk about, debate or analyze. I will pass your suggestion on.
Weston (Huntsville, AL)
How high do you think Greg McElroy will go in the draft this year?
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
If he's drafted, probably in the sixth or seventh rounds. If I were a GM, I would take him with a late-round pick. He doesn't have the arm strength most NFL quarterbacks do, but is a computer back there in terms of knowing where to go with the ball and reading defenses.
How do you rank the SEC teams next year? Are there any teams that could be sleepers?
Chris Low (1:14 PM)
I did my early 2011 SEC power rankings a few weeks ago, which isn't necessarily how I think the 2011 season will finish (other variables such as schedule, injuries, etc. weigh in there), but the power rankings are how I would rank the teams in terms of talent, top returnees, coaching, momentum 1 through 12 going into the season. Here's what I came up with, in case you missed it:1. Alabama2. LSU3. South Carolina4. Arkansas5. Mississippi State6. Florida7. Auburn8. Georgia9. Tennessee10. Ole Miss11. Kentucky12. Vanderbilt
Chris, what is a realistic best-case scenario for the 2011 Vanderbilt Commodores football squad?
Chris Low (1:18 PM)
With 20 starters coming back on offense and defense, at least James Franklin inherits some guys who have played. Keeping backs Warren Norman, Zac Stacy and Wesley Tate healthy will be important. Even more important is getting more production out of the quarterback position. If Jordan Rodgers is fully over his shoulder issue, he may be the guy to beat. He'll certainly get every chance. I like the talent coming back on defense, especially in the secondary. They just have to find a passing game and be able to protect up front. Getting to four or five wins this first season would be a solid step in the right direction for Franklin ... and winning more than one SEC game.
I haven't heard many georgia fans talk about what it'll take this season for Mark Richt to keep his job. i know it's a grey area and opinions vary from person to person. but i want to hear your expectations on this season and what you think it'll take for CMR to keep his job? thanks.
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
First of all, Richt isn't naive. He knows how critical this season is. But he's also grounded enough as a person that he's not going to start making rash decisions. The East will again be pretty open, so getting to the SEC championship game would be the first goal. The other thing that could ensure his coming back would be getting to a BCS bowl. There are other variables as well, such as beating Florida and improving as a team from the beginning of the season to the end. To me, if he wins nine or more games, especially with the way this recruiting class is shaping up, he'll be fine. But losing four or more games in the regular season and not getting to Atlanta, especially if Florida and South Carolina beat them again, will probably signal the end of Richt's career at Georgia. Obviously, that opener against Boise State is huge.
Will Clowney have the impact on the SEC as a freshman like Lattimore or Dyer did last year?
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
Yes, I think he will. He's an absolute terror rushing the passer and is also incredibly powerful.
Chris, why are all the recruiting insiders so confident that Clowney will choose South Carolina over Alabama? Do they know something we don't, or is it just because it's his home state? What percent chance do you give the Crimson Tide?
Chris Low (1:27 PM)
Staying close to home is important to his mother. That's the first thing, and South Carolina has also done an excellent job in recruiting him. Ellis Johnson has cleaned up in the Rock Hill area in terms of getting the best kids out of there, and I think Clowney to the Gamecocks has probably been done now for a while.
How do you feel about the recruiting class Derek Dooley is putting together?
Chris Low (1:35 PM)
Very solid with a chance to get a lot better if the Vols can close strong with the likes of DT Gabe Wright, DL Tim Jernigan, LB Lamar Dawson, OT Antonio Richardson, OT Cameron Clear and TE Brandon Fulse,
1. Will Patrick Peterson go #1 and Where do you see LSU finishing in recruiting?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
I don't think he will go No. 1, but definitely in the top 5. He's the best CB I've seen in the SEC in a long time, so strong, fast and equally explosive. I see the Tigers finishing solidly in the top 10 nationally in recruiting and in the top four in the SEC.
Do you see the rebels having a bounce-back season next year?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
There's no way they'll play as poorly on defense, and a lot will depend on what happens at quarterback. I could see them getting to six or seven wins, but not much better. That said, Houston Nutt is typically at his best when everybody is counting him out.
Matthew (Baton Rouge, LA)
I know you have LSU as second to Bama, and I know your rankings will probably differ by the end of the season, but when you look at the losses of players, shouldnt LSU be ahead?The slew of young players we have replacing last seasons stars is sublime.
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
I honestly went back and forth on those two. Maybe they should be 1A and 1B. Both defenses will be outstanding. Alabama also has a lot of young talent waiting in the wings. The quarterback deal will be key for LSU. If they get consistent play at that position, be it from Jefferson or Mettenberger, look out.
Nick (Canton, GA)
Auburn ranks last in all of FBS in terms of returning starters with only 7. I am not naive to believe that we'll be great next year, but I do think the backups were a more talented group of defenders all-around than our starters were last year. Also, if last year's recruits can do half as well as this year's OL I think we may have a chance at 3rd in the West. Thoughts?
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
As you know, the West will be a bear again, and Mississippi State should be even better than it was last season. Auburn has promising young talent on defense (Lemonier, Whitaker) and I think Bell and Thorpe will take a big step in the secondary. Gotta find a QB and hope a healthy Trovon Reed is the real deal at WR. You toss him into the mix with Dyer and McCalebb, and that's one explosive threesome. And, finally (and most importantly), a lot of new faces are going to have to come through on the offensive line.
Bloogarr (Carolina )
Do you see Spurrier starting Shaw over Garcia in 2011?
Chris Low (1:45 PM)
I think that depends on how they do this spring. If Shaw is the better quarterback in the spring, I think the Head Ball Coach will definitely think long and hard about starting him in the fall.
Matty (Baton Rouge)
What do you think of LSU's new hire, he's not the biggest name, but I hear he is very good at maximizing QB's potential. What are your thoughts?
Chris Low (1:46 PM)
You got it. One of his strengths is working with quarterbacks, and that will be a priority next season if the Tigers are going to make a run at a national title.
Mr. Low, enjoy your work. Why the sudden lack of interest in covering Florida? Can you give us some insight into whats going on in Gainesville, how the new coaches are doing, recruiting, what next year will be like?Concerned Gator Fan
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
No lack of interest. Just an entirely new coaching staff that has been out on the road recruiting. We'll catch up with them, and I look forward to being there in the spring. It doesn't sound like the Gators are going to close that strong in this class. That's not a huge deal, though, because they brought in so much talent the last few years. The quarterback issue is the thing that they have to get settled. Will Brantley play better in Charlie Weis' pro-style scheme or will Driskel step right in? I'd say Brantley comes back and has a solid senior season. The playmakers around him need to play better, too.
Bruce (Columbus, GA)
Chris: Since the SEC is 365 days a year, you already get 1 day off every 4 years. Why would you need Andrea's help?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
Hey Chris, have you heard anything about what Muschamp is going to do with Janoris Jenkins? He's my favorite guy on defense but he needs to clean up his off-the-field issues.
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
I think Muschamp will take a hard stance with Jenkins. He has to, or everything he's said to this point about the "Florida Way" comes off as sounding hollow. I would look for Jenkins to miss at least one game. You can bet the other players on the team or watching to see how Muschamp handles this.
will any other team outside of bama be picked pre-season #1 in the SEC as long as saban is the coach, regardless of other factors?
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
No, I could see how some would pick LSU next season. The Tigers should be very good and very talented. Great opener with Oregon, too, in Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
Larry (Glendale, CA)
What did you think about Maurice Jones-Drew's tweet about Urban Meyer?
Chris Low (1:54 PM)
He said he didn't mean it the way it came off, but he's probably best suited to handle his own business.
Aside from better QB play, I think the next biggest priority for LSU on offense is maximizing the talent of Russell Shepard. Do you see a breakout season for him next season?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
Shepard needs to be more consistent this season in everything he does -- running routes, making the right checks, lining up properly. He has a world of talent and is a great kid. I think he knows this season is big for him, to break out and show the SEC just how talented he is and put that talent to good use.
Ryan Patrick (Boston, MA)
How does Auburn's receiving corp look for this season?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
Emory Blake and Quindarius Carr both return. I really like Philip Lutkenkirchen as a tight end and H-back. They key will be Trovon Reed bouncing back from his injury issues. He was something to see before getting hurt last preseason. And maybe this is the season Deangelo Benton breaks out. The Tigers need him to.
Jessica Liao (Los Angeles, CA)
Do you think John Brantley will have a breakout season under Charlie Weis and possibly win the Heisman?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
A good and/or solid season? YesHeisman Trophy? No
Admittedly, I'm a Bama homer. But other than the "home" aspect of USCe, how can anyone suggest the Gamecocks are the right decision for Clowney over Bama? He could slide right into Dareus' slot. Bama wins national titles, SEC titles, and makes NFL draft pics. USCe isn't associated with any of those three factors.
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
We'd all be floored if we knew the real reasons a lot of these kids choose schools. Remember, they're 17 and 18 and there's always pressure to stay close to home for a lot of them. South Carolina helped itself by getting to the SEC championship game this year and has stocked up on the top kids in that state the last couple of years.
Isn't getting arrested actually "the Florida way?"
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
There are more than a few schools in the SEC that can claim that "distinction."
anthony (north carolina)
how much better do you think that knile davis would have been had he had the whole load the entire season instead of basically just the second half
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
Great question, but I'd say we'll find out next season. Actually, if Dennis Johnson comes back healthy and Ronnie Wingo keeps improving, it may be one of those situations where the Hogs always have a fresh back in the game and can see to it that a rested Davis is on the field when it counts.
Alex (Rock Hill)
Chris, if you think Clowney to USC has been a done deal for a long time, then why is he possibly waiting until his birthday to declare where he's going? Does he just like the attention?
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
I'd say 98 percent of them don't just like, but LOVE, the attention. These kids are made out to be rock stars.
Just wondering why you rank South Carolina ahead of Arkansas in your power rankings. Arkansas has the best RB in the SEC (you can argue Lattimore, but Davis had better stats and hardly played the first part of the season). They will also have the best WR group in the nation. They also dismantled South Carolina on their field.
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
That's a fair question. The big reason is quarterback with Mallett leaving, although I think Tyler Wilson is going to be just fine. Both teams are very close. I think, especially if South Carolina gets Clowney, that the Gamecocks will be better on defense. Again, that's just an early ranking.
Dustin (Raleigh, NC)
Who do you see as the most explosive player in the SEC next season?
Chris Low (2:10 PM)
Trent Richardson followed by, in no order, Jeff Demps (if he's healthy), Greg Childs, Justin Hunter, Knile Davis and Marcus Lattimore. And my sleeper? Trovon Reed at Auburn.
Chris Low (2:11 PM)
Hey, gotta run. Thanks as always for the questions and hope everybody has a happy national signing day next Wednesday.
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