Chat with Edward Aschoff
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com's SEC blogger Edward Aschoff will stop by to talk some college football.
Aschoff joined ESPN.com in 2011 after spending four years covering the University of Florida for The Gainesville Sun. He grew up in Oxford, Miss., before attending UF, graduating with a B.S. in journalism.
Send your questions now and join Aschoff Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Edward Aschoff (3:59 PM)
Greetings. Glad you could all make it to my new time slot. I'll be chatting with you guys from now on at 4 p.m. on Mondays. This way, Chris and I can give our two cents even more! I look forward to interacting with you guys even more now.
Trey Fowler (Little Rock,AR)
Where do the Arkansas Razorbacks fit in this year in the SEC. With all the talent returning at the skilled positions do you think they can win there division?
Edward Aschoff (4:03 PM)
I really like Arkansas' offense. I know coach Bobby Petrino has said that the quarterback spot hasn't been decided, but I'm going with Tyler Wilson being the starter this fall. He's got a rocket arm and showed during last year's game against Auburn that he's got the composure as well. He had a great spring, which says a lot because the Razorbacks defense should be much improved this season. But having Knile Davis in the backfield and receivers Greg Childs, Joe Adams and Jarius Wright will make the Razorbacks offense one of the most exciting to watch in the country this fall. There are a few holes on the offensive line and I want to see how improved this defense really is, but I think the Hogs will compete for the West title. The only thing that really hurts them is that they play Alabama and LSU on the road. That schedule is anything but easy this season.
Nathan Pass (Birmingham, Al)
Edward, who do you think will have a bigger impact on the Tigers running game? Mike Dyer or Onterio Mccalebb?
Edward Aschoff (4:06 PM)
Both will be relied on a ton this fall. Without having an experienced quarterback and having question marks at receiver, Auburn's running game will have to be productive if the Tigers want to succeed this year. It's hard to say which guy will have a better year. Mccalebb is the home run threat and he's the shifty back, but Dyer will pound his way through defenses. I'm going to go with Dyer because he can run on any down. The Tigers will need him to get them out of sticky situations this fall.
Edward, welcome, can you give us your take on Florida recruiting in 2012 and, totally different topic, on the Jim Tressel/Ohio State brewing NCAA storm?
Edward Aschoff (4:10 PM)
I think Muschamp has gotten off to a great start. All 10 of the commitments he has are guys that fit into both his offensive and defensive systems. He wants to recruit Florida, then the southeast, then nationally. He's got great ties in the south and he's using every single one of them well. The question will be if he wants to stretch back into Texas or even Louisiana to recruit. I don't think he has to because he doesn't want to compete with Texas and LSU. While he's competing with just about everyone in the southeast, he has the advantage of being able to go and see kids who have been to Florida or at least know the history of the program. I think Muschamp will have a top-rated class this year. The thing that could hold him back is if Florida struggles this fall. With the talent returning, it won't look very good if he struggles in his first season as a head coach. As for Tressel, I don't see how he can even be considered the head coach at OSU right now. I'm not sure how he still has a job. And I'm not sure he'll have one at OSU at this time next year.
Houston (Birmingham Al)
First of all thank you for opening up another Q&A session great idea. Who do you think will have the biggest breakout season on the Auburn roster???
Edward Aschoff (4:11 PM)
Thank you for joining! I love the potential in Trovon Reed. He can be an absolute stud in Auburn's offense. He'll play in the slot to start with, but can move all over the field. Don't be surprised if he ends up playing some wildcat quarterback this year. The Tigers need playmakers and he is a guy the coaching staff wants to see touch the ball a bunch in each game.
Stens (Tampa, FL)
There's a lot of talk about UF not having a power running game with an every down back and that being a huge concern for the offense. But it seems to me that there's a nice stable of running backs available to Weis. Gillislee has shown the ability to run up the middle and break tackles. Demps has unbelievable speed. Rainey is as shifty as they come. Brown may have a little bit of everything. Why do they even need an every down back with that line-up? That sounds like a pretty nice set-up for run the ball by committee, especially when you add Trey Burton to the mix.
Edward Aschoff (4:15 PM)
Florida has always done well statistically with its stable of running backs. Last year was the exception under Urban Meyer, but Florida one the national title in 2008 without an every-down running back. But the Gators also had Tim Tebow. He was the short-yardage back. Florida didn't have one of those last year. I'm not sure the Gators have one now. Both Brown and Gillislee fit the mold, but neither was healthy this spring. Rainey and Demps aren't going to be asked to do it and true freshman Mike Blakely was injured. If Florida wants to run out of the I-formation, a bigger back needs to emerge. Right now, I don't see one. I see a very shifty runner in Rainey, who will be dynamic in any offense, and a speed demon in Demps, who can't handle the workload of being the feature back. I think Gillislee or Brown needs to step up and take command of the position.
Dan (Tupelo, MS)
Hey Edward,What do you make of McShay having Lester and Kirkpatrick over Hightower, Upshaw, and Barron as Alabama players taken in the first round next year? Granted, Lester and Kirkpatrick are both becoming great players, but they seem like reaches compared to those three. What do you think his thought process was behind that? Who do you think will be taken out of Bama next year?
Edward Aschoff (4:18 PM)
It might have to do more with needs for the teams he has pegged in his certain order for next year's draft. I was surprised to see Kirkpatrick go so early. I was surprised Trent Richardson went so late, too. I think the injuries to Upshaw and Hightower might be a little bit of a concern. I'm sure he'd like to see them go through the fall healthy. Also, Barron was injured this spring as well. I would definitely have Upshaw and Hightower high in my mock draft, but that's not my area of expertise. Ha. I think both guys will be top prospects at the end of next season.
Aunteryo Malcom (Monroe, Georgia)
Your season predictions on the LSU Tigers?
Edward Aschoff (4:22 PM)
I really, really like LSU's defense. I don' care that it's young. The Tigers have tons of speed and athleticism out there. This defense truly is reloading, not rebuilding. I think Spencer Ware should be very good this season and I think the receiving corps should be solid as well. So where are my concerns? The middle linebacker spot hasn't been filled and I'm just not sure what to expect from quarterback Jordan Jefferson. Yes, he won 11 games last year, but his mistakes were blatant. I expect teams to take full advantage of them this time around. Lady Luck might be on coach Les Miles' side, but I see at least one loss this fall and that loss will be to Alabama ... leaving the Tigers out of the SEC championship game. I'm sure that will go over well with the LSU fans out there ...
Chris Hughes (Evans,GA)
Do you think South Carolina winning the Sec East Last year was a fluke? Which of the big 3 Florida,Georgia,and Tennessee has the best chance of winning the Sec East this year?
Edward Aschoff (4:25 PM)
No I don't. If Stephen Garcia was coming back today, I'd put pen to paper and pick the Gamecocks in as the No. 1 team in the East. South Carolina has a strong defense coming back and Marcus Lattimore will battle for running back supremacy in the SEC this season. Florida and Georgia have a bunch of questions heading into the season, while Tennessee is more of a wildcard for me. I like the positive thinking in Knoxville, but do the Vols have the talent to back it up? Because of Aaron Murray throwing the ball at Georgia, I'd go with the Bulldogs to be the favorite to challenge South Carolina this fall.
Jadeveon Clowney...for real or all hype?
Edward Aschoff (4:28 PM)
I saw him at the Under Armour Game in January. Better yet, I saw him in the practices leading up to the game. No one was able to consistently block him. No quarterback even thought about sitting in the pocket when he came around the corner ... and they were all in non-contact jerseys. He's got great speed off the edge and is incredibly strong. His football knowledge is impressive and his technique looks like the stuff of college veterans. Physically and athletically, he's the real deal. But I want to see him deal with college life. Ronald Powell looked the same way a year ago and he struggled to adapt to life in Gainesville. There are distractions everywhere, so it won't be easy for Clowney, but when I met him he seemed like a pretty grounded individual.
You chatting on the SEC?Is this like when I team with a starting QB drafts a new QB in the first round ? Is Chris feeling the heat and will there be a bloggers controversy ? LOL
Edward Aschoff (4:30 PM)
Chris is more like Tom Brady and I'm Ryan Mallett. He's got all the credentials and talent to keep his spot on the team for years to come. I'm just a talented rookie that will get some reps here and there :)
Phillip (A stadium near you)
Edward,glad we got a chat on Mondays now.With the inexperience at quarterback for Alabama but with an experienced offensive line,what's the chances we see another heisman at Alabama being carried by Trent Richardson?
Edward Aschoff (4:32 PM)
I think Richardson has a great chance at making a "run" at the Heisman. See what I did there? People around the program seem to think that he has more all-around talent than Mark Ingram. And I don't think Ingram wins his Heisman if Richardson isn't there to help him out and give him a breather every once in a while. Eddie Lacy will help Richardson there. Not only is Richardson a tough, fast runner, but he'll get plenty of passes out of the backfield and when he has space he's really dangerous.
Bluespiano42 (Birmingham, AL)
Ed - great job last week filling in for Chris - what we REALLY want to know is...who would win a Celebrity Death Match between you and Chris?
Edward Aschoff (4:33 PM)
Well, I'm not a celebrity, so I guess the nod goes to Chris. However, I have the agility of a cat after my 20-plus years of soccer.
Jack (Montgomery, Al)
What team is going to shock people (good or bad) ex.- Ole Miss and Auburn last year?
Edward Aschoff (4:35 PM)
Mississippi State could be a team that takes a spot in the BCS this season. But would it really be a shock with all the attention the Bulldogs are getting? Yeah, I think so. State returned all of its offensive playmakers, has a quarterback ready to explode with his arm, a tough running game and depth at receiver. The linebacker situation concerns me, but I really like the secondary. Talk about playmakers. This team won't sneak up on people, but it has the talent to stay in games with the "big guys" of the conference. I wouldn't be shocked at all if State was in the thick of the SEC West race at the end of the year.
Ed, Do you think Clemson transfer Brandon Maye will be able to come in and have an impact with Mississippi State this year on defense? What do you think about the MSU/SC game?
Edward Aschoff (4:38 PM)
The Bulldogs need help at linebacker and Maye could come in this fall and contribute right from the start. He's a good athlete and he'll bring some leadership to the position. He'll have an impact at the position, but he'll also be able to step up and be one of the voices in the locker room.
Dustin (San Antonio, Tx)
What will Zack Mettenberger have to show Les Miles in the off-season to take the starting job away from Jordan Jefferson? Is his lack of experience in the big game the only thing holding him back, or do you feel that Les truly thinks that Jordan Jefferson is the best man for the job?
Edward Aschoff (4:42 PM)
Honestly, it might be what Jefferson doesn't show that gives Mettenberger the job. No one is hiding from the fact that Mettenberger is the more talented quarterback. He's got the better arm, but Jefferson won 11 games last season. As bad has his passing numbers were a year ago, he won 11 games. Would LSU have gone undefeated with Mettenberger? Who knows? But Mettenberger's record probably wouldn't have looked any different than Jefferson's. I think Miles will stick with Jefferson as long as the Tigers are winning. It wouldn't shock me in the least bit if he turned to Mettenberger after the first loss (if there is one). He knows the talent Mettenberger has, but he's going to give his senior a chance. Jefferson did very well this spring and he proved that the starting spot is his to lose.
Chris (New Orleans)
Do you think Dee Hart is too small to survive a season in the SEC?
Edward Aschoff (4:45 PM)
No way. Smaller backs certainly have a disadvantage in the SEC, but he's a tough, tough runner. When I saw him in San Antonio for the US Army All-American Bowl, he tried to run over defenders. This is a guy who can jump to the outside and he was taking on linebackers head first. Of course, that was high school. It's not the same at this level, but I think he'll be just fine in the SEC. He'll be a great complement to Alabama's current backs and when the offense is eventually handed over to him, he'll be fine. He'll have to toughen up (which sounds weird), but I think he'll succeed in this league.
k.dub. (sparkle city)
What up with the Rockies? They started of hot, now they're slumping. Can they win the division?
Edward Aschoff (4:46 PM)
You know, I was in a great mood until I read this. No clutch hitting and poor relief pitching. It's driving me crazy these days. Thank goodness there are still 100-plus games left ...
Who do you think will step up in the receiving core for UGA? Marlon Brown? King? Charles?
Edward Aschoff (4:48 PM)
King has stepped up. He's the go-to guy in this offense and he's doing it in A.J. Green's old spot. He obviously isn't the athlete that Green is, but he's going to cause defense to double him at times, which should open up the offense. Brown really started to come on toward the end of spring, but no one is quite sure what athlete they'll see out of him this fall. He's got tons of talent, but hasn't showed it during his career at Georgia. I think Orson Charles will be the guy Aaron Murry keys on after King. He's almost like another receiver out there with his size and speed. He's a playmaker at tight end and will be a matchup issue for defenders.
Roger (Bryant, AR.)
I keep hearing that the defense here at Arkansas is much improved. Is it safe to say that this is the year we actually have a "good" SEC defense or are we still just middle of the pack?
Edward Aschoff (4:51 PM)
I say good SEC defense. I think Jake Bequette is going to have a good season this fall. He doesn't get the credit he deserves at defensive end. I like Jerry Franklin at middle linebacker. He can really fly around the field and Jerico Nelson is going to play linebacker and safety. This defense has a lot of speed and it's really hungry. It was a soft spot on this team last year and the players know it. That's great motivation heading into the fall.
mac (houston tx)
Edward, i find it funny how people keep on thinking that south Carolina will suspend Garcia you know this is South Carolina we are talking about. i mean even if they suspend him it will only be for the first game. He will play against Georgia i guarantee it.
Edward Aschoff (4:53 PM)
I don't know. Garcia has had PLENTY of opportunities to turn things around and he just keeps messing up. It won't surprise me one bit if Steve Spurrier cuts ties with him all together.
Bill (Summerville SC)
Who do you think gets the nod if Brantley falters for the Gators? Driskel or Murphy?
Edward Aschoff (4:56 PM)
Brantley. Brantley. John Brantley. It sounds really weird, and no one ridiculed his play as much as I did a year ago. But here's the thing: he's the most experienced quarterback and he knows all the checks and plays like the taste of stadium grass (because he was on the ground so much last season). Driskel struggled to pick up the pro offense this spring and while Murphy was a pleasant surprise for the coaches, his knowledge of the offense is still behind Brantley. I think Charlie Weis changes the way Brantley plays the game this fall. He's got to find some confidence, and Weis has done a good job in that department. Forget the spring game. Judge him after the first couple of games. I know I will ...
Great to have you here, already a big fan of yours. Will there be 2 SEC chats now per week? 1 from you, and another from Chris?
Edward Aschoff (4:57 PM)
Yes. I'm Monday and Chris is Thursday. I believe Chris has the 1 p.m. ET time slot again.
Chris would not make the mistake of "University of Auburn". If he did, he would apologize.
Edward Aschoff (5:00 PM)
Well, it only makes sense to end on this comment. I do apologize to all the Auburn fans out there -- and the university in general. I did typed "University of Auburn" in one of my posts. It was a terrible mistake. It's been cleared up, but I'll live with that mistake forever. One because I hate that I did something so careless and two because I know Auburn fans won't ever let it go. That's fair. I hate it when people pronounce my name AScoff. Or ASHcoff. OR ASHCROFT!! There isn't even an "r" in my last name! So I am deeply sorry for my mistake. I hope that Auburn fans can find it in their hearts to forgive me.
Edward Aschoff (5:01 PM)
Thanks for chitting and chatting with me today. It's time to get the Gym part of Gym, Tan, Laundry done with today. See you guys next week!