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 (1:03 PM)
Hello all. Want to say thanks to all the fine folks in Arkansas. Had a great time out there and think the Hogs are going to be strong again in 2011. What's on your mind?
Matthew (Greenwood, SC)
With Garcia being suspended from the team indefinitely, do you think Connor Shaw will step up and make the progress over the summer for South Carolina to have a 10+ win season?
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
In Spurrier's mind, Shaw was going to play some this coming season anyway. I'm not sure who would have started. That was still to be determined. But now, if Garcia isn't back, that lessens the margin for error. If Shaw gets hurt or doesn't perform well, there's not another proven guy to go to. I still think the Gamecocks are strong enough in the defensive line and good enough at the playmaking positions that they will be the favorite in the East and have a shot at a 10-win season.
Mark (West Columbia)
Chris,I know you spoke to Spurrier recently. Many of us here are so done with this Stephen Garcia saga. I wish him the best, and hope he straightens up, but not on the football team. This is suspension number 5. Couple of questions for you. 1. Do you think this is it? Remember. Hyman suspended him once before and told him he was on his last chance. 2. Who do you think would make the final decision, and when? Spurrier, Hyman, or Pastides?3. Do you think Spurrier will in a way be relieved it's over if he goes?Thank you.
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
We'll see what all comes out of this latest deal and if there is another side to the story. Several of Garcia's teammates are defending him and not leaving him twisting in the wind. Ultimately, I think you're right. It's just too many times that he's embarrassed the university. I think Spurrier, Hyman and the university president are all in agreement on this one.
Chris,What does Duron Carter mean for Bama's receiving group? Is he good enough to grab that #3 spot, or do you think it'll be someone like DeAndrew White, Brandon Gibson, or Kenny Bell?
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
Carter has great size and some serious tools and will get a shot once he arrives. But in talking to everybody at Alabama when I was there, it sounds like DeAndrew White is the guy they're most excited about.
Stephen Garcia may be a knucklehead, but he is our best chance to maybe/hopefully do something huge this year. The players are still behind him so I am still behind him.
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
I understand that argument. After all, the Gamecocks did get to the SEC championship game with Garcia as their quarterback, and he played the best game of his career in the win over Alabama.
Mr. Low. Excited to see you have some help, now you can take Presidents day off with a clear conscience. Seriously, we are all excited to have two Blog writters now. Its our new SEC status symbol. I do hope, however, since I really do enjoy your work, insights, and articles, that this does not mean you are thinking of leaving us or moving on? Believe it or not, we would miss you.Sincerely,Concerned Gator in Pensacola
Chris Low (1:16 PM)
Nope, not going anywhere, Very excited to have Edward Aschoff aboard, a Gator by the way, and one fine journalist and writer. The idea is to give you even more SEC coverage as we go forward ... and we'll probably alternate President's Day holidays as off days from here on out.
hey chris! how are you doing? what do you think tennessee's chances are to compete in the SEC next year?
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
Probably a year early. I think 2012 may be the year that Tennessee makes its move in the East. The offensive line has a chance to be special, and Bray obviously has a lot of talent. They still need to get better up front defensively.
Mike (Baton Rouge)
I know it's a bit early, but any chance Vandy pulls the upset against OSU in 2013?
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
If they can somehow turn it into a bowl game, I like the Commodores' chances.
Should LSU fans be excited by Jerrard Randall signing with them? I don't know much about him.
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
Well, he's another quarterback, a very athletic quarterback. I think we've seen that you can never have too many of those guys. And with Jefferson and Lee both leaving after next season, the Tigers will need somebody other than just Mettenberger.
Ontario as AU's second 1000 yd rusher next year? Think if Cam didn't run so much last year. O would have had at least half of those yards.
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
Good call, because Malzahn told me they would lean hard on the run game next season. I think it will look a lot like 2009 with Ben Tate. Dyer will get the most carries, but McCalebb is one of the best breakaway threats in the SEC, which means he's going to have some 10-carry, 125-yard games.
Aaron murray made a point in the article you put up earlier that quarterbacks should be measured by championships more than stats. Your thoughts?
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
Championships are always what set quarterbacks apart. But I also don't buy the theory that a guy can't be a great quarterback if he never wins a championship. Look at Dan Marino. I still say in my lifetime that Marino, looking at it from a defensive perspective, would be the quarterback I feared most.
Trent (Vero Beach, FL)
How do you think will muschamp will do at florida this year factoring in the schedule and installing new schemes on defense and offense? Even if it is just a guess or gut feeling
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
If Brantley comes on and plays the way he has this spring, I think the Gators will be in the East race. I think a 6-2 record will win the East next season. The key stretch for Florida obviously starts with that Alabama game in Gainesville on Oct. 1. Then comes LSU and Auburn on the road, and after a bye, Georgia in Jacksonville. That stretch has 2-2 written all over it (at best). And with a trip to South Carolina still looming in November, I'm not sure that will be good enough to win the East.
I'm not sure about crowell yet, he looks incredible but he reminds me of caleb kings. I also dont think he'll come in and start immediately. Washaun seems to be walking around campus with a new attitude when i see him, he doesnt seem nearly as carefree as he did last year this time. I think washaun keeps the starting spot. your thoughts?
Chris Low (1:35 PM)
If Ealey is made of the right stuff, he'll work and practice harder than he ever has the rest of this spring and the summer. Ultimately, I think all of those guys will get their carries, and whoever takes it and runs with it will end up being the guy. That's really a good situation to have. All three are obviously talented.
What will Chris Relf need to do with Mississippi State this season to get any national recognition as a top tier run/pass threat?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
He took a big step in that Gator Bowl. The big thing with Relf is that he looked so much more confident throwing the ball the second half of last season, and that's going to make him even more effective as a runner. Before, people were playing him to run. Now, it's a lot harder to do that.
Devin Patel (Tuscaloosa, AL)
We all know Trent Richardson is going to be the go-to guy in Bama's backfield, but who will the be #2 guy when the first game starts?
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
Probably Lacy, but Dee Hart could end up passing him before the season is over.
Scott (Columbia, SC)
Yes or No? Will Marcus Lattimore win the Heisman in 2011?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
Bruce (Columbus, Georgia)
Which is a bigger event right now in SEC territory, the Masters or spring football practice?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
Easiest question of the chat so far ... spring football practice.
what is your impression of Spurrier's future plans? how much longer do you believe he will continue coaching the Gamecocks?
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
I think the Head Ball Coach will stay around as long as Lattimore is there, so probably two more years. He's been rejuvenated with this crop of players they've reeled in the last two or three years.
Kelly (Birmingham, AL )
whos your pick to win the SEC next year?
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
Alabama. I think it comes down to that Alabama-LSU clash in Tuscaloosa and don't see the East producing a team that can beat either one of those teams (or even Arkansas) in the SEC championship game.
With nix having maybe his job on the line. do you think ole miss defense will be better this year? and if so how much?
Chris Low (1:43 PM)
First of all, I don't think Nix's job should be on the line. Look at what his defenses did at Ole Miss his first two years there. They were young last season in the secondary and had some injuries (Lockett) that killed them. They added some speed in the secondary and will be be more experienced back there, and getting Lockett back was huge. I think you'll see that defense take a big step in 2011 and get back closer to what it was in 2008 and 2009.
In your opinion, would you give Garcia ANOTHER chance, especially since his teammates are standing behind him?
Chris Low (1:46 PM)
Not knowing everything that went down, I'd lean toward cutting him loose. I've always enjoyed talking with Garcia and admire his toughness on the field. I just don't think you win at the highest level with your quarterback doing bone-headed things like that all the time.
Will Tyrone Mathieu be playing corner, safety, or both for LSU this year? He seems like he will be really good.
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
Mostly corner, but where I think he's at his best is that nickel spot, allowing him to blitz, roam and make big plays. He just has that knack for forcing fumbles.
Will Tyler Wilson be able to run Petrino's offense as well as Mallett?
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
He'll be a different kind of quarterback than Mallett and will move around more and make a few more plays on the run. But he's got a big arm and is going into his fourth year in the program. He knows what he's doing. Plus, the guys around him are 100 percent sold on Wilson, which is key. I'm not going to predict that he's going to throw for 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns the way Mallett did the last two seasons, but I definitely see that offense being one of the more potent ones in the SEC with Wilson at the helm.
After spending some time here in the Ozarks, did you come away feeling differently or about the same for the outlook for the Hogs in 2011?
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
The thing that sticks out to me about the Hogs is how much more talented and how much deeper they are in the defensive line and simply how much more they look like what you'd expect an SEC championship-caliber defensive line to look like, and that's with two of their top tackles not even practicing this spring. The other thing is that this is the most speed the Hogs will put on the field, by far, since Petrino has been there.
If the guys in the secondary end up playing well how scary does our Defensive unit look with big john jenkins, jarvis jones, and alec ogletree? As good as the Bama unit from 09?
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
I'm not ready to go that far. But, yes, Jenkins is the key. If he's the enforcer they think he will be in the middle (sort of like Cody), then that changes everything for this defense and opens up a lot of other things. Jarvis Jones is one of my early candidates for Newcomer of the Year in the SEC. He's a complete linebacker who can also rush the passer. My big concern remains that safety spot, and really, safety in general. The Dogs would also like to have another cornerback or two, although something tells me Boykin will have a big year next season.
Can you do a 'snapshot' preview of the Ole Miss - BYU season opener for us?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
The most obvious key is how much Ole Miss has improved against the pass. The Rebels couldn't stop anybody from throwing the ball last season and gave up a ton of big plays. They've added some speed in the secondary (JUCO cornerback Wesley Pendleton), and the pass rush should be better with Kentrell Lockett returning at end. But what Ole Miss will do on offense is pound away with that running game and an offensive line that should be one of the strengths of the team. Brandon Bolden is an excellent running back, and he's also a very good receiver out of the backfield. I'd look for Ole Miss to play multiple quarterbacks. If it's Randall Mackey, he's a terrific athlete who's improved this spring as a passer.
bearcatvol (Dalton, GA)
What team is in the most danger of taking a big fall this autumn? Likewise who is poised to perhaps make a big jump?
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
Auburn is probably the most obvious candidate for a fall. I'll go with Georgia making the biggest jump.
how do you think alabama will fare this year.. and who do you see being the starting qb?
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
I still think AJ McCarron is the starter, but Sims isn't making it easy this spring. My prediction on the Tide is 12-1 and SEC champions.
Scott (the Ham, AL)
How worse does it make it for Ohio State to announce they're gonna play Vandy in the middle of their implosion? It's like they're saying they know their win over Arkansas wasn't legit and to beat the SEC, they want to pick on one of the weakest teams?
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
You said that, not me.
Stuart (Little Rock)
What is the word in Fayetteville on the other running backs in the stable. Knile Davis certainly seperated himself but it was my understanding that a lot of the other guys were just as good and may be even better in certain situations like Green in a short yardage section.
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
The Hogs appear to have a running back for every occasion, and remember, Dennis Johnson is back from his injury as well. When you start looking at running back and receiver stables combined, I'm not sure anybody else in the country is better off than Arkansas.
bearcatvol (Dalton, GA)
Is Mark Richt in any real trouble if he doesn't make that jump? I'm a Vol fan, but he seems like a really classy guy.
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
He's extremely classy and the kind of guy any parent would want his or her son to play for. But, yes, I think Richt will be on very shaky ground if the Bulldogs end up losing four or more games again next season.
who do you see the team beating alabama?
Chris Low (2:09 PM)
If I had to rate the games Alabama has the greatest chance of losing, I'd go with LSU at No. 1 (even though it's in Tuscaloosa), at Mississippi State No. 2 and home against Arkansas No. 3.
Jonathan (Durham, NC)
What are your thoughts on Janzen Jackson's future with the Vols?
Chris Low (2:11 PM)
I'd put it at about 50-50 that he returns and plays football next season. He's stayed in touch and is trying to sort out his personal issues. I honestly could see it going either way, but the hope remains among the Vols' staff that he does return.
Matt (Atlanta, GA)
Chris - why so much hate for Ohio State from everyone? Also, why is it that "SEC" fans always like to pin Ohio State vs. the entire SEC? If that's the case, what's Arkansas record vs. the Big Ten in bowl games?
Chris Low (2:12 PM)
I'm just joking around, because I know the Ohio State fans get so upset. The Buckeyes easily have one of the best three or four programs in college football.
What's the latest on Auburn's QB race? And Dyer over 1500 this year?
Chris Low (2:13 PM)
Trotter is still a little bit ahead, and Dyer is certainly going to get his share of carries.
Chris Low (2:15 PM)
That's a wrap for me. Appreciate all the questions. Again, please welcome Edward to the SEC blog. You're going to get more coverage on college football's best conference than ever before. Have a great week!