Chat with Edward Aschoff
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at noon ET!
Edward Aschoff (12:03 PM)
Greetings, everyone. I'm glad to see you came out in full force after we missed out on chatting yesterday. Anything going on in this part of the country?
William Joy (Columbia, Mo)
How do you see Missouri doing in their first year in the SEC?
Edward Aschoff (12:04 PM)
That's tough to answer right now. I'm not sure how the Tigers (gosh, a new set of Tigers???) matches up. From what I've seen, I don't think Missouri will come in and compete for much early. This team is going to have to hit the southeast hard in recruiting soon. It's going to take some time before Missouri and Texas A&M make any sort of noise, in my opinion. They need the athletes on the line to compete first and neither have that right now.
Georgia has sat right around being pretty good to being pretty mediocre. Richt has a high winning percentage but just can't seem to reach that next level. With seemingly good recruiting going on what will it take for Richt to hoist that crystal football? Is it a coaching problem or a player problem that's keeping the Dawgs on that second tier?
Edward Aschoff (12:06 PM)
It's tough to say. I think Richt has been just as up-and-down as his team. He hadn't been back to the SEC title game since 2005 and after the Bulldogs were there they fell off. I'm not sure if it's coaching or the attitude of players. It seems like once the team suffers a tough loss it goes into hiding. That didn't happen this year, but it has in the past. Will it happen next year when expectations are higher? Who knows?
Ed, is it just because the SEC is the current evil empire that so many are swearing that OSU should have finished #2? I remember when USC was the evil empire, people would dance in the streets when they lost to an unranked team because it meant they were OUT of contention!
Edward Aschoff (12:08 PM)
Ha. Evil Empire. That's a good one. I think people didn't want to see an all-SEC final and honestly, OSU played well enough in the last weekend to deserve some title love. But that loss to Iowa State was just too much. If Alabama loses to 6-6 Vandy, there is no way the Tide is even considered for the national championship. Maybe if the Big 12 had a championship game again ...
How big will a bowl win over Nebraska impact recruiting,in what is already a stellar season for the Gamecocks?
Edward Aschoff (12:09 PM)
I think it would be big for next season. It would give South Carolina some nice momentum heading into the spring and would certainly help in recruiting. This team will lose some pretty good players on defense and probably Alshon Jeffery, so ending the season on the right note will go a long way. Plus, it will keep that fan base energized.
Beth (Johnson City)
Hey handsome,All this Penn State chatter bores me, lets talk some UT football. What have you heard in regards to Little Dooley losing control of his lockerroom?Secondly does it seems as if the all-world Bulldogs freshman running back Isiah Whats-his-face is on a crash course to medocrity ?Third how long a leash does Muschamp have with the Gators, will he be bounced after he produces another six win effort in 2012 ?
Edward Aschoff (12:12 PM)
While I'm flattered by your opening, you sure are negative today Beth. I think that Derek Dooley has had a lot on his plate this year. From Lane Kiffin to depth issues to injuries, it's been tough for him. But that loss to Kentucky was embarrassing. I'm not sure if he's lost his team, but you can't lose that game. More will be expected from him and UT next season. I think Isaiah Crowell just wasn't ready for the SEC load. He showed that he can be fragile and times and just wasn't in proper shape. With that said, he still ranked in the top 10 in rushing and was third at one point. I think he has major maturity issues, but what freshman doesn't at some points? It's still early but a fire needs to be lit under him. Finally, I don't think Muschamp is close to be on his way out. He had depth and youth issues as well and it truly doesn't look like Urban Meyer left him with all the treasures people thought he did. He'll have time to get that program back.
Ed, is Bama about to be decimated by player losses after this season? On the flip side, does LSU lose ANYBODY?
Edward Aschoff (12:14 PM)
Alabama's defense will take some hits and I think it's safe to assume that Trent Richardson is gone. LSU loses its quarterbacks, and I think Mo Claiborne is gone as well. Out of the two, I think LSU returns much more than Alabama next year.
Can Spurrier still coach 'em? I know they lost Lattimore this year, but even last year we saw awe-inspiring performances against Bama, and then desperately horrible performances against many others.
Edward Aschoff (12:15 PM)
Yes. He lost his starting running back and quarterback this year. Had an underachieving offense for most of the year. Yet, his team won 10 games for only the second time EVER. I think he still knows what he's doing.
Ed, What or who is going to be the biggest game changer in the NCG? Which team do you believe has the biggest advantage and in what area?
Edward Aschoff (12:17 PM)
That's a tough one. There are so many players that can change the game for either team. I think AJ McCarron has to come out and play his best game, but I also think Jordan Jefferson has to play like, well, not Jordan Jefferson. Tyrann Mathieu is always and X factor. I think it has to be Mcarron at this point. LSU wins despite poor QB play, but Alabama couldn't beat LSU last time with just Trent Richardson. Alabama has to be able to pass the ball.
How Long will it take for Hugh Freeze to get the Reb's in a BCS bowl game ?
Edward Aschoff (12:18 PM)
I think there is a lot of work that needs to happen in Oxford before you can start talking about the postseason. The talent is there in certain areas, but the QB situation is still iffy and Ole Miss has to get more out of its running game. Depth is a major issue and so is discipline. It takes more than just talent to win in this league. Ole Miss has to find some confidence.
Ed, How do you like Bobby P's move on hiring Paul Haynes? Do you think he will be able to turn our defense into a top tier unit and if so how long will it take him?
Edward Aschoff (12:21 PM)
He did pretty well at Ohio State. This is a different league and there is a lot more speed on offense. But there is also a lot more speed on defense and I think he'll be pretty happy about that. I think the first order of business is depth and coaching up those youngsters. That's where Arkansas has really struggled under Petrino.
Blues (SEC Blog)
Dash - is that really you replying on the comment section on your blog, or do we have an imposter posting comments?
Edward Aschoff (12:22 PM)
I do occasionally. You guys help to keep me in check :) ... Didn't know there were so many American Horror Story fans!
Great job covering the College Cup! Which team From Tennessee has better season next year and why?
Edward Aschoff (12:23 PM)
That's tough because the schedules aren't out. Vandy will lose a lot from this team. There were a lot of seniors out there, but a lot of offensive playmakers return. Tennessee has the makings of being a team that can challenge Georgia and South Carolina in the East. Not sure yet. Right now, I give the edge to Tennessee because the Vols return more on both sides of the ball, including Justin Hunter and Tyer Bray.
Paul (New Orleans)
Will the Mad Hatter show up versus Bama, will he fake a punt , use the Honey Badger in the wildcat or open the game with an on-sides kick ?
Edward Aschoff (12:24 PM)
EVERYTHING you just said will happen and then some!
Who you got Ed and why? NCG
Edward Aschoff (12:24 PM)
Still early, man. You know better than that! I will pick the SEC in this one, though.
Hope you're doin' fantastic Ed, I was wondering what your thoughts were on the upcoming OC vacancy at Bama. Any candidates that come to your mind? Also, what're your thoughts on assistants leaving their current position upon being hired as hc of another program, particularlly in a championship situation like Coach McElwain at UA?
Edward Aschoff (12:26 PM)
It's obviously very early in the process, but I wonder if there will now be an OC battle between Florida and Alabama with both of those schools having openings. Should be fun. Mike Shula did coach at Alabama, so it wouldn't surprise me to hear his name pop up for either job. I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing for the team that is losing the coach. This is one last chance to work with these guys and help them finish what they started. Now, for the school that is getting the new coach, it hurts recruiting, so that can be a pain.
We saw UGA improve a lot from last year to this year. With a good defense returning, and a young offense next year, can the Gators improve by 3 games next year?
Edward Aschoff (12:28 PM)
I think it depends on the offense. The defense will be fine. Special teams will be fine. The offense? Who knows? Running back is a major issue, so is offensive line, oh and so is receiver, and yeah QB too. No one on offense has proved anything for Florida. It's gonna be tough to see a major step forward unless players step up early.
How good could Kenny Hilliard be by his junior season? And do you think Mettenberger will be as good as advertised, especially with Steve Kragthorpe developing him?
Edward Aschoff (12:29 PM)
I like both of those players. I think Hilliard is someone we hear about for many years to come. He's an absolute beast and can run inside and outside of the tackles. Metterberger should be fine. He has a cannon for a right arm and is probably the most talented QB LSU has.
Blues (SEC Blog)
Dash - you don't really think that Mike Shula would even entertain the idea of returning to Alabama as OC after the way he was ushered out, do you?
Edward Aschoff (12:29 PM)
Stranger things have happened ... like Charlie Weis going to Florida and then Kansas.
George Davison (Little Rock)
Do think AD's will ever write wordage into coaches contracts that says if you're playing in the NCG you can't take another job till after the NCG?
Edward Aschoff (12:30 PM)
No. These coaches have to look out for themselves as well.
JAD80 (Mobile, AL)
Why does it seem like Les Miles still doesn't garner quite the same "reverence" from the media as Saban, Meyer, or even Mack Brown. Just seems like people allow his goofy statements to overshadow his very impressive onfield results (including 3-2 against the great Sabantor).
Edward Aschoff (12:32 PM)
I think you just answered your own question. There is no doubt that we think Miles can coach. He's proved that over and over again. But the quirkiness is there and so it can sometimes be held against him. I love it. I like how he's different. Just like how I liked Lane Kiffin being in the SEC. He added great storylines.
TEBOW!!! Proud of him?
Edward Aschoff (12:33 PM)
I'm happy that he's doing well. Always enjoyed covering him because he was very genuine. Also, I like that his team is winning after everyone assumed that he would never play in the NFL. How about you let the guy actually fail before you say he will. I don't like it when athletes are treated like that. Give the player time before we crown them a savior or a bust.
Ed, What do you see for the Gators on Offense next season?
Edward Aschoff (12:34 PM)
Improvement. It can't get any worse, right? Also, I think there will be less outside pressure without a figure like Weis being there.
Josh (Perry, GA)
If UGA wins their bowl game in January, do you think they will be a preseason favorite?
Edward Aschoff (12:36 PM)
In the SEC East? Yes. Nationally? Not sure. I think this team has the talent to be a preseason top 10 team, but I think the past will hurt the Bulldogs. But what do preseason polls show anyway? Just win baby.
Kristy (Jackson, MS)
When will Mississippi teams keep their own players in state?
Edward Aschoff (12:36 PM)
When LSU and Alabama stop pursuing them. So, never.
In 2008, during five hours of meetings, Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive presented a plan for a plus-one format, matching the No. 1 team in the nation against No. 4, and No. 2 vs. No. 3 in the marquee bowl games. The winners would meet about a week later in the BCS title game. The plan also called for creating a sixth BCS game.In the end, only the SEC and ACC wanted to even continue the discussion of the plus-one.Do you think the other conferences will agree to a +1 now?
Edward Aschoff (12:37 PM)
Do you hear that? It's the sound of pens writing apology letters to the SEC and ACC. A plus-one would sound pretty good right about now, wouldn't it?
mobilematt (SW FL)
Does Bama open the season in the top 5 next year?
Edward Aschoff (12:38 PM)
Hard to say right now. I think the Tide takes some big hits on defense, but there is good young talent there. Offense should be better with more experience, but Alabama will probably have to replace Trent Richardson ...
With James Franklin's new contract giving him a pay rise and facility improvements, is there any reason to believe that Vandy can keep a hold of him if his success continues?
Edward Aschoff (12:41 PM)
You have to be realistic about this. Can Vandy REALLY compete for an SEC title? Can Vandy be a BCS school? Probably not. But can Vandy be competitive and frustrate people? Absolutely. So, if you're a young head coach what do you want to do? Do you stay somewhere that will be competitive at times with good recruiting classes or do you want to move up to a school that has a legitimate chance of competing in the BCS? If he wins at Vandy it will be hard for other bigger schools not to pursue him.
Jeff (Baton Rouge, LA)
Did Clowney live up to the hype this year?
Edward Aschoff (12:43 PM)
No, but that's only because the hype was enormous and crazy. I think he had a great year for a freshman defensive end. He had 10 tackles for loss and six sacks. That's pretty good in your first year, especially with the talent on that line. I think he'll be just fine.
John (Hot Springs)
Will Knile Davis make an impact next year?
Edward Aschoff (12:44 PM)
If he returns, which it sounds like he will, there is no doubt that he will. He will be right up there with Marcus Lattimore as the SEC's best running back. Before his injury he was arguably the most complete running back in the league and helps take pressure off of Arkansas' passing game. With the Hogs losing three good receivers, the passing game will need some pressure off of it.
Any more trash talking from Jarvis Jones since SECCG? He spouted off about how thier defense was better than LSU and never said a word after the game.
Edward Aschoff (12:45 PM)
I think he said that Georgia was as good if not better. He was never downing LSU at all and UGA's defense played better that LSU's in the first half. That running game just took over like it usually does. Jarvis has a lot of respect for LSU.
Over/Under of 31 points for the LSU/Bama rematch?
Edward Aschoff (12:45 PM)
Over. You will see at least two touchdowns in this game from both sides. Yeah, I said it.
Kori (Baton Rouge)
The option worked great for LSU against Alabama November 5th and probably won them the game. Do you see the Tigers having similiar success a second time with the option or will the Tide and Saban be more prepared for it now?
Edward Aschoff (12:46 PM)
I think Alabama's defense is itching to get back out and play that LSU running game. That was the only team to do anything on the ground against the Tide. LSU shouldn't change anything with how it approaches the run game, but I think you'll see more energy out of that Alabama front seven.
Bill (Greenwood SC)
How do you see the Capitol One Bowl shaking out this year? Do you think the Carolina defense can contain that quick ground ground game Nebraska plays?
Edward Aschoff (12:48 PM)
Right now, I like South Carolina more. The Gamecocks are riding some nice momentum from the regular season and I think South Carolina's defense matches up well with Nebraska's ground game. The question is if South Carolina's offense will play like it did against Clemson or Mississippi State.
Mr. Maze had some has some really strong statements about his team and LSU after the first game, but do you really thing he has stepped into that top WR role like they hoped?
Edward Aschoff (12:50 PM)
Honestly, I think the coaches expected more out of him this year. He caught 50-plus balls, but only scored one touchdown. I think the passing game as a whole was pretty wide open, but a dominant receiver was needed. He can still make the clutch catch, so Alabama will needed him against LSU.
Average Joe (Southern College Small Town)
What should I do from mid January to mid August?
Edward Aschoff (12:51 PM)
Watch college basketball/pro basketball. Then turn on baseball and get ready for the NHL playoffs. Sooner or later summer football practice reports will be up and the season will be back.
Tammy (Homewood, AL)
Shouldn't Alabama's kicking game improve in the Dome?
Edward Aschoff (12:52 PM)
Nick Saban sure hopes so. It was awful against LSU and has been iffy all year. You have to wonder how much those two are still thinking about those kicks ...
Ed, what do you believe are the chances of Saban making a move to Texas following the BCS NC Game? His OC is gone and Kirby Smith will remain to run the program...
Edward Aschoff (12:52 PM)
Lateral move, don't you think?
Dilly ( Ft Meyers)
Does Gator nation know that the U will own Florida for the next decade under Al Golden
Edward Aschoff (12:54 PM)
This is more of a statement for Heather. Owning the state of Florida ain't saying much these days, so congrats.
I have been reading about the over rated SEC here. I am picking Mich. St. to destroy UGA! Can you feel me???
Edward Aschoff (12:54 PM)
Destroy is such a strong word, but I like the confidence. I disagree, but I say keep the faith!
Why won't one of the top tier SEC schools schedule a home and home with Southern Cal (e.g. Alabama, LSU)?
Edward Aschoff (12:56 PM)
My own selfish ways want this. I wish you could only schedule one non-conference cream puff a year if you're in a BCS conference. I want to see Texas-Alabama in Week 1. LSU-USC. Georgia-Michigan. Let's make this happen people!
Richard (The Cockpit)
Brandon Wilds of SC didn't make the top 15 freshman? What gives?
Edward Aschoff (12:57 PM)
Tough call, man. Not everyone can make it, but he did have a heck of a second half. Maybe this will motivate him. I doubt it, but he did do well.
In a steel cage match who would you take Tim Tebow or Cam Newton
Edward Aschoff (12:59 PM)
Man, that's tough. Tebow did run head-first into a brick wall, so he has that. I honestly don't know the answer to this one.
Ed, Bama will lose a lot on D next season, but with the exception of Richarson, Maze, and Vlachos, the offense returns everybody. The D will still return starters Williams, Square, Johnson, Mosely, and Lester. LSU returns more, but those hoping for Bama to fall completely off the map will be disappointed.
Edward Aschoff (1:00 PM)
Yeah, I don't think Alabama will fall off. Not sure the Tide will be on LSU's level, but this team won't lose five games or anything like that.
Ed in the list of top SEC freshman Isaiah Crowell above Malcome Mitchell. Crowell performed well on the field, but had some off the field issues. The both had some injury problems that probably affected their overall numbers. However, I felt Mitchell impacted the Dawgs more than Crowell. He became the face of the Dawgs' freshman receivers, of himself, Bennett and Conley. At the end of the season it was those three that played an large role in Georgia's offense. What's your take?
Edward Aschoff (1:01 PM)
I'd take Mitchell over Crowell any day. Malcolm works hard and he didn't let little injuries take him out of games. But, hey, the league voted Crowell frosh of the year ...
Edward Aschoff (1:01 PM)
Well, that will do it for today, guys. Great time as always. Talk to you again soon.