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 noon ET!
Edward Aschoff (12:00 PM)
Greetings after two weeks of college football. We've had a fun start to the season. Auburn fans are sticking their tongues out at the league for doubting their Tigers. LSU fans could care less about offense at this point. We still don't know who the Gators are. And Vanderbilt has some personality. Too much fun. Let's get on to the questions!
Florivol (Fort Myers, FL)
how will the Vols stack up against your gators? Has Florida had enough "tune up" to get ready for the aerial attack the Vols will throw at them?
Edward Aschoff (12:04 PM)
You misspelled Rockies in your above post. That's fine though. I'll assume you're talking about Will Muschamp's Gators, so I'll answer your question. This Florida team is still has me scratching my head. The defense was incredibly aggressive in the first two weeks, but it didn't play anyone. The offense has been OK, not great. Chris Rainey is obviously the best player and John Brantley is managing the offense like Charlie Weis wants him to. Nothing really exciting about this team yet. Tennessee has a high-flying, fun offense. I think this is going to be a really fun game to watch. Florida's defense will really be tested and Tennessee's defense might, maybe? I don't know ...
Mike A. (Paris, TX)
LSU and Alabama are winning through defense. They have not had a true test of a balanced attack coupled with a strong offense. There is one team in the SEC that seems to be more complete, Arkansas. Watching Arkansas receivers after the catch is a scary thing for opposing defenses. How does Alabama and LSU defend the Hogs because they don't seem like either one will have the offenses to keep up on a shootout? I think Joe Adams is one of the most electric players in college....if he could only catch the ball on a routine basis....
Edward Aschoff (12:07 PM)
I don't think LSU and Alabama can keep up in shootouts, but at this point I don't see either having to worry about it. Both defenses have been dominate in the first two weeks. LSU's just flies around and forces the other team to make mistakes, while Alabama's just overpowers you. The Hogs do look the most complete, but how will they stack up against LSU and Bama? I think they get slowed down, but Arkansas has the coaching and talent to stay in if not win those games. I think you'll see upgrades to both offenses when playmakers like Russell Shepard and Duron Carter are injected into the offense. Neither team has had to win with its offense yet, so why try to be flashy?
Ed I just heard that MLB Christian Robinson is out for the Dawgs. Are things starting to go south for my Dawgs?
Edward Aschoff (12:09 PM)
Things don't look good right now, but this season is far from over. I said before the year that an 0-2 start doesn't knock UGA out of anything. But this is where vets and leaders shine the brightest. Can they bring this team back up and make it competitive? The first thing is this team has to win, has to get some confidence. It should do that this week and I think the trip to Ole Miss will work out in their favor as well. Things could be a lot worse. Georgia was competitive in both of its losses and really should have won the last game.
What do you think of Clowney so far?
Edward Aschoff (12:11 PM)
I can't tell that he's a freshman. Physically, he's a monster out on the field. He has great speed and strength and the way he just threw Aaron Murray around like a rag doll on that fumble was scary to look at. This kid was at his senior prom a few months ago and didn't even participate in spring drills. He's still learning and could improve in getting by defenders and his initial speed off the ball, but so far he's having an impact for the Gamecocks.
Jadeveon Clowney (Columbia, SC)
Big players make big plays in big situations. How did you like that demolition of Aaron Murray and Ingram picking it up for a TD?
Edward Aschoff (12:12 PM)
I'm just honored that you are on the chat. But shouldn't you be in class?
Is it too early for Lattimore for Heisman? Because he is dominating right now and I expect a huge game this weekend.
Edward Aschoff (12:13 PM)
Lots of South Carolina fans on the chat today. I think he's one of the top contenders and has been since the preseason. He just doesn't stop. I know I had Trent Richardson as the SEC's best running back, but Lattimore is outshining him right now. He's tough to bring down and is just busting through lines left and right and up the middle. He doesn't look like he'll have a sophomore slump at all.
Jeremy (Greenville, SC)
Nick Saban said "There is still a competition," when referring to the QB situation, and yes I'm sure Sims will get some time next week, but really? Isn't it time to name McCarron the primary QB tell Phil he's got some growing to do, and move alone with the season?
Edward Aschoff (12:16 PM)
You need a good backup in this league. You never know what is going to happen. Plus, why crush the spirits of Sims? Would you honestly tell him that he didn't win and he should just accept it? Come on. You need him to continue to challenge McCarron, who I think is the starter until he messes up. having two quarterbacks in this league is huge and Alabama has that right now. Both quarterbacks need to do some growing, but McCarron has done a much better job.
Orange Pants (Knoxville)
Can I survive going through the air against the rest of my conference matchups, or do I have to establish a consistent run game?
Edward Aschoff (12:17 PM)
You ALWAYS want a consistent running game in the SEC. Look at the past five national champions from the SEC. The running game was a major factor in their successful seasons. These games are won in the trenches. Never forget that my friend.
Casey S. (Starkville, MS)
Do you think that MSU still has a chance to make something of this season after the loss to Auburn?
Edward Aschoff (12:20 PM)
Yes. One loss won't kill the Bulldogs, but more poor defensive showings will. I was really surprised at how bad the defense, especially the front seven played. Those guys were just thrown around by Auburn's offensive line and the running game racked up 235 yards. Dan Mullen called that "embarrassing" and he should have. The loss of Manny Diaz and those three starting linebackers is really starting to show. The defense needs to be more disciplined up front in order to keep the Bulldogs competitive in this league.
Ed, what gives with the cardiac cats nick name? I speak for everyone in the Auburn nation when I say, let's not refer to them as that anymore. It also seems everyone continues to underestimate Auburn. Will you pick against them this weekend @Clemson?
Edward Aschoff (12:23 PM)
Ummm, have you watched the last two games? Heck, they needed a last-second field goal to beat Oregon last year. This team is thriving on last-minute wins. Cardiac Cats until they prove otherwise. This team knows it can't survive on games like this forever, but it is proving that it KNOWS how to win. The youth is showing, but so is the heart, and I like that. And why would I pick against Auburn this week? Clemson? Come on. You're better than that. And why pick against a team that figures it out late? Seventeen straight wins. They'll make it 18 Saturday!
Will I be considered as a delusional fan for thinking AU can win 9 games? Wea??ll be favored in 4 more games: Clemson, FAU, Ole Miss, Samford. I think we are more than capable of beating Florida at Home and Georgia on the road. For all we know they may not even have a coach by then. Plus a bowl game.
Edward Aschoff (12:24 PM)
The Cardiac Cats could do it. But improvements need to be made on defense. I don't care who you are, you can't hold up for very long if you are having to live and die by last-minute drives.
Phillip (A stadium near you)
Edward,what was the biggest suprise and the biggest disappointment in SEC play this week?
Edward Aschoff (12:26 PM)
Mississippi State's defense was the biggest disappointment. The Bulldogs got Fletcher Cox back on the defensive line and allowed 235 rushing yards. That is unacceptable. My biggest surprise was Auburn being much more physical than Mississippi State, until I saw the way Vanderbilt battled back to beat Connecticut. Vandy was down seven and in years past that was a sign of a loss for the Commodores. Saturday, the team rallied, got a great TD from Casey Howard to tie it and then won with a field goal. Vandy scored 10 unanswered to win a game.
Honestly. What are the odds that a team NOT named Alabama wins the SEC West?
Edward Aschoff (12:28 PM)
Did you forget that LSU and Arkansas are both in the West and that Alabama has to play both of them? Sure they are both home games, but they are still on the schedule. Come on, this is the SEC. It isn't over until the regular season is and we aren't even done with September!
What's your prediction for the LSU @ Miss St thursday night game?
Edward Aschoff (12:29 PM)
I think it will be a good one because Mississippi State has something to prove. Was the defense that bad against Auburn? Can the Bulldogs run with the big dogs, especially after a loss? LSU's offense hasn't done much, but it hasn't had to. Mississippi State's offense will face a major test against the Tigers' defense, which has been the most fun to watch in the country through the first two weeks. I like LSU right now.
Deonte Thompson (Gainesville)
Ed! I caught my first career pass this weekend!
Edward Aschoff (12:30 PM)
Don't sell yourself short. You've caught a few more and some for scores.
Andre (Monticello, FL)
Hi Ed, who will be the 14th member of the SEC. Now that the ACC has implemented increasing the exit fee what other programs to maybe interested in joining the SEC.
Edward Aschoff (12:32 PM)
Good question, but the SEC has to get its 13th team first. Texas A&M isn't officially in yet and who knows when that will happen ... The West Virginia talk is heating up, even after I thought that wasn't gonna happen, and Missouri is still having its name thrown out there. One school to look out for is Maryland. You get the DC audience and the school does well in a lot of sports. However, those football uniforms WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN!
What do you think of Auburn's Special Teams?
Edward Aschoff (12:33 PM)
The Tigers kicked very well and executed in all phases. Oh, and Tre Mason makes kick returns look easy. Special teams hasn't been an issue for this team yet. Onside every time should be the motto.
Saying an SEC team makes it to the NC game, who would you like to see them play? Personally I would like to see an LSU or Alabama team play Boise.
Edward Aschoff (12:35 PM)
Oklahoma. The Sooners are the No. 1 team in the nation. If the SEC is going to play in it, it should be against the best, and right now, Oklahoma is the best.
Whats the biggest challenge facing your Gators against Tenn?
Edward Aschoff (12:36 PM)
Great name by the way. I think it's Tyler Bray. The secondary has been without its top corner in Jeremy Brown for the first two games. Will he be healthy enough to play and be effective against Bray? Who is the free safety for Florida? Josh Evans and De'Ante Saunders have switched off there. And when/if Brown comes back, who is the second corner? Bray has put up video game numbers through the first two games and with that offensive line, Florida's defense will have its hands full.
Coach (Columbus, MS)
Could you explain why Auburn was awarded a first down on their last drive (4th down conversion) when it appeared that the ball was short of the marker? Also, why was the play by Ballard (the dive to the end zone) not reviewed?
Edward Aschoff (12:38 PM)
The SEC said that the 4th-and-1 was called correctly because the nose of the ball hit the first-down yardage. I'm actually not sure why Ballard's play wasn't looked at upstairs. When I saw the replay it didn't look like he got in on the jump, but who knows what the ref would have seen on replay?
Ed, how do you feel about Alabama fielding a NFL defence and a high school offence.
Edward Aschoff (12:39 PM)
Alabama hasn't need to be flashy on offense. And I'd also like you to find a high school running back with the size, strength and speed of Trent Richardson. Or offensive lineman as big and smart as Bama's? That isn't a high school offense. It's one that hasn't needed to do much, so I won't come close to calling it anything less than a college offense.
So do you believe in Brantley and are just being cautious or is there fear he just might not be very good against SEC opponents??
Edward Aschoff (12:41 PM)
If Brantley can step into his throws and not fold under pressure he can survive in this league. He has been effective and has taken what the defense has given him. That is an improvement from last year, but I want to see what happens when SEC speed comes after him. How will he react to a sack or a blitz? I don't know. Does he even know?
Ed, Miss St lost this past weekend to Auburn. After looking at the way Arkansas St beat Memphis (47-3), do you think Miss St may be a little overrated??
Edward Aschoff (12:43 PM)
I don't think Mississippi State is overrated, I just think that the defense is going to struggle more than we thought. The offense is strong in the running game, but the receivers need to get better separation. State has the talent, and I think the Bulldogs buckle down here, but I think a loss like that might have taken some of their confidence.
Joey (Charleston, SC)
LSU actually reached the 200yd mark in passing (albeit 2 different QB's). What will be the biggest challenge for them to get the W in Starksville on Thur night?
Edward Aschoff (12:45 PM)
Throwing the ball. Mississippi State has a tremendously athletic and aggressive defensive backfield. Turnovers in a hostile road environment are a bad thing. LSU needs to be careful with the ball in the air. Establish the running game because Mississippi State couldn't do much against Auburn's rushing attack.
but calling them the cats?! It sounds like you are taking a shot!
Edward Aschoff (12:45 PM)
Tigers are cats. Trust me, I'm an animal nerd. I know these things.
Ed, Auburn has been out gained in total yards in both of their first two games. Can they keep that up and expect to win?
Edward Aschoff (12:46 PM)
Like I said earlier, I don't think any team can. Youth, old, in-between, no team can. If things don't change it's just inevitable that it will catch up with this team.
Edward Aschoff (12:48 PM)
Lacy has been really good. He has 20 less carries, but just five less yards. Richardson is the work horse of the backfield, but Lacy is a great complement. I'm not ready to call Lacy better than Richardson, but I think having him there is huge for Alabama's offense.
McCoy (Columbus, MS)
Ed, Through the first 2 weeks does Eddie Lacy seem to be the best back in the Alabama backfield?
Edward Aschoff (12:49 PM)
And I answered this before posting your question ...
Ed, What's with all these Arkansas fans talking about being a complete team? Who have they played? At least Bama and LSU have both played against real live D1 teams, away from home. The Hawgs seem to have forgotten what happened to Mallet when he made his first career road start in BDS two years ago. Tyler Wilson has no idea what he's walking into. Bama wins BIG.
Edward Aschoff (12:51 PM)
Those are fightin' words my friend! Arkansas does look more complete right now, despite who it's played. But things will be different for both teams when they play. It's how it goes. Arkansas should look good and just because they do doesn't necessarily mean the Razorbacks are overrated. They are handling teams like they should.
Drew Jenkins (Alabama)
How do you and Low NOT have Dre Kirkpatrick as one of the 35 (top 25 plus the additional 10 who almost made the list) players in the SEC? Really? Janzen Jackson and like 5 other DB's, including about 4 different CB's are ahead of a guy NFL scouts have predicted as a top 10 pick. Makes zero sense how a guy that coming into the season had LITERALLY never started a game (Tyler Wilson) makes the list, but not a potential 1st round draft pick. Awesome logic.
Edward Aschoff (12:53 PM)
Things like that happen. We also didn't have more than one player on LSU's team on the list. Vick Ballard wasn't on the list. Marcus Lattimore wasn't No. 1. Things change and we thought other players would have better season's than Kirkpatrick. So far, he's played very well. No one is perfect, but I'd like to think that because we didn't put him on the list he's playing even harder ...
Clint (Auburn, AL)
Who would you say are the top contending teams in the SEC right now based on the games played so far?
Edward Aschoff (12:54 PM)
Alabama, Arkansas, LSU. I think the East still has a bunch of questions right now, so I like the West teams going forward.
Any chance you can respond to that first post? Also, I noticed Mike Dyer is above Trent Richardson in performance too.. vs better competition to date.. any comment for Mike?
Edward Aschoff (12:58 PM)
Not sure what the first post was, but Dyer had just 57 yards against Utah State and then 150 against Mississippi State. He certainly turned things around, that's for sure. I've never been down on him. I think he's a tremendous back and I like how he battled against Mississippi State. Auburn needed him to get that yardage and needed him to play like he did. Does that work?
Ed, I am a little worried about Tyler Wilson after watching the game Saturday night. I saw a couple erratic throws and passes that were forced into double and even triple coverage. Against Bama and LSU those would be pick sixes. Reason to worry or still adjusting to the offense?
Edward Aschoff (1:00 PM)
I would be more concerned about the concussion-like symptoms. It sounds like they weren't serious, but a concussion is nothing to take lightly. He's still figuring things out. Growing pains happen with a new quarterback, but he has the weapons around him to help him out. I think he'll be fine, as long as he's healthy. He still has another game to improve before heading to Bama.
What have you thought of the Hogs so far? I haven't been overly impressed with them but they have performed to expectations against significantly weaker opponents.
Edward Aschoff (1:03 PM)
Arkansas is blowing out opponents it should blow out. The Hogs are still fine tuning things on offense, but the defense has looked pretty good. I don't care that they are playing far lesser talent, the defense has been dominant. It should be and it has been. Things will obviously look different against better talent, but that's to be expected. I think this is a very complete team on offense, but the rushing yards could be better. It's still early.
Edward Aschoff (1:04 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. Enjoy the rest of the week and get ready for another weekend of fun in the South. UF-UT should be great to watch Saturday and we get things started with LSU-MSU Thursday. Fun times. See you all right back here next Monday.
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