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 (4:03 PM)
Hey, everyone! It's time to start off your week with some SEC football chatter. SEC media days are gone, so football is almost near. Hey, the NFL is back and college football practice starts next week. Truly is Christmas in July!
Edward, I noticed during the SEC media days Houston Nutt was asked about State's "this is our state" billboard campaign, seeming a tad miffed, he dismissed it as meaningful. Concerning that, the many Ole Miss friends that I have, are not only irritated by this, along with the numerous jabbing (friendly, jabbing of course) from Coach Mullen, but actually get angry. In my opinion, this kinda of dialogue is not only good for my beloved bulldogs, but also good for the rivalry as a whole; perhaps the reason Coach Nutt "finally understands the UM/MSU rivalry". I just wanted your thoughts on the matter. Thanks Ed, keep up the good work.
Edward Aschoff (4:06 PM)
I love it. This adds so much to a rivalry that has gone Mississippi State's way these last two years. You could tell Nutt wasn't too happy about it and Brandon Bolden has to look at it every time he goes back home. The Rebels don't want it there and the Bulldogs love rubbing it in their faces. It's not a violent way to miff the Rebs, either, so it's cool. I'm sure there will be a lot of discussion about it leading up to the Egg Bowl, which should make things a bit chippy. But one thing to remember is Nutt out-recruited Dan Mullen in the state of Mississippi last year, so maybe he's upset because he's owed part of that sign as well. It helps the rivalry, just like you said. Now, if we can just get the Egg Bowl back on TV on Thanksgiving night ...
Dylan (Gainesville, FL)
What do you see the punishment being for Matt Elam after being cited for alcohol possession yesterday?
Edward Aschoff (4:09 PM)
This is the second time in a year he's been cited for being a minor in possession. Yes, it's college and minors drink all of the time. I get it. It's no government secret, but Muschamp has no choice but to punish Elam some way. I'm sure he will having him running until the coaches puke because why Elam is walking around with a drink in public is beyond me. Muschamp should discipline him for not using his head. As far as game time, I'm not sure what Muschamp might do. It was handled internally last time when he and Solomon Patton were cited last summer, but because this is the second time, his punishment could be a little more severe.
Jon (Hernando, Miss.)
Hi Edward, just down the road here from your hometown! Driving into Miss from Tenn there is a huge billboard from Miss State claiming this is "our State." After SEC media days, what impressions did you come away with about the Bulldogs? Is this a "now or never" year for them to make some noise or is the rest of the field just too good?
Edward Aschoff (4:12 PM)
I don't think it is "now or never" for the Bulldogs. There is a lot of young talent in Starkville and Dan Mullen has everyone there pretty excited about this year and beyond. Dylan Favre should be fun to watch at quarterback and LaDarius Perkins is solid young running back for the Bulldogs. There is also a ton of receiving depth. Defensively, the secondary will lose a couple of vets, but the linebackers will be young this season. I think another 8-9 wins is in the cards this year and could be next year as well with the young guys coming back.
C-Los (Miami but wishing i was in Gville)
You put Georgia ahead of the Gators? How? Offense is ready, and Gator Defense is going to be top 5 in the Country, remeber this. One Bad year and people think we are bound for a avergae season. Gators win East this year and likely SEC. Mark it Down.
Edward Aschoff (4:16 PM)
Likely SEC? You are putting them up against the stallions of the West? OK. More power to you. Gotta love the confidence, that's for sure. But I put Florida behind Georgia because I think there are too many questions on offensive for the Gators. The offensive line is very young and inexperienced and even though it was banged up this spring, it looked really bad in the spring game -- against players it sees every day. Charlie Weis will make the offense better, but that line will have to grow up in a hurry. Defensively, the front seven should be very fun to watch, but who will play free safety? And how confident is the secondary without Janoris Jenkins? Georgia has offensive line depth issues and running back issues, but the defense is more accountable right now and Aaron Murray is arguably the best quarterback in the league. Georgia's line is solid, for now.
LSU's compliance program seemed to be given two thumbs up in the NCAA's report last week on the Akiem Hicks recruitment violations. Doesn't it seem kind of unfair then if they got punished? According to the report they did everything right - they diligently pursued an issue, didn't let the player play, and then fired a coach? Isn't the team then being punished for rogue player/coach? If they compliance program worked as it should why punish?
Edward Aschoff (4:19 PM)
Listen, if one of your coaches is blatantly violating recruiting rules, something has to happen. Someone should have known what was going on, and for that LSU needed to be punished. In this case, the Tigers cooperated to the full extent and the punishments weren't too severe. They'll be fine, but at the end of the day you're responsible for your entire program and one bad apple does spoil the bunch.
Otter (Birmingham, Alabama)
Hi, Edward. What's the deal with this Tuscaloosa menswear store featuring Alabama players in advertisements and actually having signed jerseys by players such as Trent Richardson prominently displayed in the windows? Isn't this a violation of NCAA rules a la Ohio State and Jim Tressel? And is there really any difference between the two?
Edward Aschoff (4:21 PM)
At this point, Alabama hasn't found any wrongdoing. The school sent the cease-and-desist letter in December and ruled that the players didn't knowingly sign items that were going to be sold later. The Ohio state players were getting benefits from their signed memorabilia. So far, Alabama's players haven't been found to have profited from this. But with everything going on in the world of college football, like the issues at Ohio State, I find it hard to believe that the NCAA won't get involved. Not because they think Alabama broke the rules but because they have to make sure everything is as it seems.
Michael (Charleston, SC)
Will the Georgia vs. South Carolina matchup determine the SEC east champ in your mind, and do you think the gamecocks will face a tougher challenge against the 2011 bulldogs in athens than last year?
Edward Aschoff (4:25 PM)
It very well could. I think it's the most important East matchup of the year. The loser of this game has never gone to the SEC title game. Florida-Georgia/Florida-South Carolina should be big as well, but Georgia needs to make an early SEC statement. A loss to Boise State hurts, but it doesn't end the season for the Bulldogs. Now, starting 0-2 will really sting, but again it won't take the Bulldogs out of the SEC. I think it's important for Georgia to get that early home victory. As for South Carolina, a lot of people feel like South Carolina is the overwhelming favorite in the East, but we've seen what happens when they have the hype. Last season, the Gamecocks beat No. 1 Alabama and lost to Kentucky the next week. Can South Carolina get past the hype and get an early lead in the SEC?
Jay (New Orleans)
Edward, is this the year that Jordan Jefferson puts it all together and leads LSU to the SEC and BCS championship games or do you see him having another TERRIBLE year at QB.
Edward Aschoff (4:27 PM)
After talking with Jefferson in Hoover, Ala., I can see why the players and coaches are pumped to see him on the field this fall. Jefferson has way more confidence this season than he has ever had and that's because Steve Kragthorpe's offense suits him better. He wanted to work in more pass-friendly system and he's certainly doing that now. His technique is better and he understands the game more. I still have Alabama winning the West, but I think Jefferson could very well lead the Tigers back to a BCS bowl game.
Donnell (Baton Rouge)
Edward, why is the media predictions for the SEC West so one sided and do u think that Alabama is that much better than LSU or Arkansas.
Edward Aschoff (4:29 PM)
I don't think any of those teams is far off from the other. Alabama has the defense that everyone likes and a prized running back. LSU has arguably the most athletic team on both sides of the ball. And Arkansas has the most high-powered offense and a much improved defense. Any one of these teams could win the West. Alabama appears to be more stable. The quarterback position is a concern, with a young, inexperienced player taking over, but Trent Richardson is a beat at running back and the offensive line is one of the best in the country. There are no superstars at wide receiver, but it's a solid unit. Plus, Nick Saban is one of the best in the coaching profession and giving him all that talent is scary.
Tom (Class in Knoxville)
Happy Monday Edward. What do you make of the recruiting surge UT had last week? 8 commits in a week I believe.
Edward Aschoff (4:33 PM)
And to think, no one thought Tennessee would even get five commitments in this class. Just goes to show you that coaches have a plan. It might not always work out the way you'd like, but there is always a strategy, especially with recruiting. I think it's good because Tennessee needed some sort of momentum. This is a great way to go into the fall portion of recruiting. Derek Dooley said the Vols fell below the Tennessee standard last season and he doesn't want to fall below it again. It's a good sign that kids are still very interested in Tennessee and means that players have faith in Dooley's plan.
How do you think Arkasnas's Offensive line will fair this year with True-Freshman Brey Cook competing for a starting postion?
Edward Aschoff (4:37 PM)
Petrino raved about Cook last week. He's a smart, strong and athletic lineman, who really impressed everyone this spring. That's good because the Hogs are replacing three starters from a year ago. Having Travis Swanson and Alvin Bailey back helps, but this will be a group that has to learn on the fly this fall. The underclassmen will probably fill most of the spots here, so they'll have to get used to a major change in the style of football they play. This offense should still be exciting, but it could be slowed by the line at times.
With Dennis Johnson coming back and having Ronnie Wingo and Knile Davis, do you think Arkansas has the deepest running back depth in the SEC?
Edward Aschoff (4:38 PM)
Yes. All three are solid backs and each will help the other. There is no reason for Arkansas to ever have a tired running back on the field and that has to be a scary thought for opposing defenses.
Taylor Sellers (Murrells Inlet, SC)
Do you think Marcus Lattimore has a legit shot to win the Heisman Trophy? Or atleast make it to New York to be with the final few?
Edward Aschoff (4:39 PM)
He certainly has the skill to do it. But he won't surprise anyone this fall. Everyone knows who he is. Defenses are going to stack the box against him, which could cut into his production. Alshon Jeffery's numbers could hurt him as well, but Lattimore might be too strong and he's hoping too durable to let an extra defender or two lessen his impact for the Gamecocks.
How would you rank the SEC coaches, based on who you would want on your sideline?
Edward Aschoff (4:40 PM)
This would take too long for a chat, but I'll save this for another time ...
Hey Edward, I haven't heard that much about the Gamecock Linebackers. How good are the linebackers and how do they match up with the rest of the SEC linebackers?
Edward Aschoff (4:43 PM)
This group has the potential to be pretty good this fall. The return of Shaq Wilson was huge for the Gamecocks. He's a great leader and is the quarterback of the defense. DeVonte Holloman should make a great addition to the box players playing the hybrid spurt position, and Damario Jeffery and Quinn Smith will compete for time outside as well. There are some unproven players at linebacker, but the coaches feel pretty good about the athleticism. It might take these guys a few games before they are really comfortable together out there.
Which team brought the 3 most physically imposing players to Hoover last week?
Edward Aschoff (4:45 PM)
I know I'm just adding to the Alabama love, but it doesn't get more intimidating than Trent Richardson, Dont'a Hightower and Mark Barron. Guys were huge. Although Ole Miss' Bradley Sowell and Kentrell Locket towered over me. Makes me wish I could trade in my genes ...
Parker (Orlando, FL)
Was there any discussion at SEC Media Days about expansion. Namely, are Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Florida State and Clemson on the radar for the SEC in the future?
Edward Aschoff (4:47 PM)
Within the media, yes. the Longhorn Network is apparently raising some eyebrows at Texas A&M and the Aggies were a team mentioned with the SEC when all that expansion chaos went on earlier. Oklahoma is also a team people linked to the SEC. You won't see Florida State because Florida will block it and I'd count on another ACC before Clemson. North Carolina was once a hot name, but recent incidents have surely cooled that thought ...
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
I say there is a 10% chance that Urban Meyer comes out of retirement to coach Ohio State in 2012, what percent would you put on it?
Edward Aschoff (4:47 PM)
WAY more than that ...
Michael (Lake Burton)
Ed, I know you will likely have a different take on this than I do, and I see this as a product of continous 24hour sports coverage/news coverage, but I vehmently disagree with the need for national news/sporting news coverage on Bobby Petrino's son's legal issues. If he is not B. Petrino's son, no one reports a story like that nationally. His son is not a public figure, and unless he does something that in and of itself is national news, I find coverage of such a personal matter for him and his family to be both reproachable and inappropriate. You will not sway me in my opinion of this, but would you care to give the counterpoint?
Edward Aschoff (4:51 PM)
You made my point for me by saying it is Bobby Petrino's son. And it's not like this wasn't a big deal. He was charged with with driving while intoxicated, possession of marijuana, illegal possession of prescription drugs and possession of paraphernalia. That's sorta serious, don't you think? It's not like the media is out to get him or to write something because it's a slow day. He is the son of one of a coach in the conference that we cover and it is newsworthy. When you are attached to a public figure, you face those consequences.
Marcus (The Hill)
What are your thoughts on bobby Patrino saying they are expecting a national championships? Not all the coaches in the league don't have the Bold confidence that he does! WPS!
Edward Aschoff (4:53 PM)
Hey, he has the talent to compete for one this year. By all means, say what you want Mr. Petrino. It's way more interesting when coaches are honest. He should expect it, he coaches in the SEC.
Steve (Columbia, SC)
ED,Nice blog here. How about the Gamecocks? Can we do it? Can we win the SEC?
Edward Aschoff (4:56 PM)
I really hope this is coach Spurrier ... The talent is there, but are the Gamecocks mentally ready for all the pressure? Can Stephen Garcia stay on the field? Will defenses catch up to Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery? This team has the pieces to win, but it has to have the attitude as well.
Edward, do you think UGA QB Aaron Murray has the talent to be in the heisman runnings in the next few years?
Edward Aschoff (4:58 PM)
He can if he can continue to grow as a quarterback. Last season, we saw his raw ability. This year, we need to see how he takes to more attention from the media, fans and opposing defenses. We need to see what he can do without A.J. Green. He'll have to find another playmaker and he'll be carry most of the offense until the Bulldogs can find their running back. A lot will be asked of him this fall and for him to get into the Heisman race, he has to show that he can put up numbers better than last year and carry the Bulldogs to a winning season.
The South's Champion (Hammond, LA)
Dash, any update on russell shepard? How big of an impact can he have for LSU.. he really hasn't put the numbers up that we corndogs have wanted him to.
Edward Aschoff (4:59 PM)
I talked about Shepard earlier, but because you referred to me as Dash, you get a place on the chat. Well done, sir.
Edward, with Dee Hart about to miss his freshman year, do you see brent calloway possibly becoming that third down back that is so important in Alabama's offense.
Edward Aschoff (5:03 PM)
Alabama will have to look somewhere and Calloway was an absolute stud in high school. He rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and had almost 30 touchdowns as a senior in high school. He's 6-2, 217 pounds and will be a welcome addition to the offense. Alabama needs another body in the backfield and Calloway could be an option. He'll get his chance during summer practice to show that he can make an impact, and Alabama wants to get another quality back in the rotation this fall.
Edward Aschoff (5:03 PM)
Thanks for all the questions, guys. I hope you all have the countdown going for practice next week.