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 (12:01 PM)
It's Monday and it's time to chat about the SEC. Let's go!
Auburn's schedule is very favorable this season. With LSU facing 3 cupcakes prior to playing Auburn in Auburn, Arkansas loosing its HC, and Bama's hits to its defense. Wouldn't you agree that with an upset against LSU early places Auburn in the Driver's seat in the West?
Edward Aschoff (12:04 PM)
Well, I think this Auburn team will surprise some people this year. But I'm not ready to say this team will be LSU. Just not sold on the QB position yet, but it's still early. Plus, I think LSU will enter the fall as the SEC's top team. IF Auburn were to beat LSU I'm still not sure the Tigers would be in the driver's seat. Alabama won't fall off too much and Arkansas still has a team that can win the West. Georgia will be tough, Vandy is on the road (and we know that team has improved) and Alabama is on the road.
Davey (Decatur, AR)
Edward, I was wondering how you evaluate Arkansas' season next year after having seen their spring game. Does the game show that their will still be able to have the dream season we all hoped or is it doomed to fail without the head coach and primary play caller. Thanks
Edward Aschoff (12:06 PM)
I always say that it's tough to really evaluate teams after spring games because they really are glorified scrimmages. I think you get to see players have more fun and obviously scoring points makes the crowd happy. With that said, I think Tyler Wilson continues to show why he'll be the top SEC quarterback entering the season and Cobi Hamilton might be the top wide receiver. That offense will score points, but we all already knew that. I want to see improvements from the defense and we won't really know what that defense will be like until the season get underway. Finding a head coach is key now, but the talent is there to be successful.
Mike (Atlanta, Georgia)
Richt follows a 1st in East year, with less wins, all 4 times so far. Looking at 8 or 9 wins, agree?
Edward Aschoff (12:08 PM)
His numbers after a successful year aren't great. That's no secret, but I think that this team will be more focused when the season gets underway. Even with those players suspended. Ten or more wins is what I expect, especially when you look at that schedule and all the talent that returns on both sides.
atl-olemissreb-terrell (atl airport)
Hey Ed, Robert Dkemniche & Antonio Connor was on campus for our spring game, if we could sign them with along with a host of hidden gems how soon could we challenge bama
Edward Aschoff (12:10 PM)
Getting those players would be great for Ole Miss. No question about it, but this is going to take time. It's going to take more than just top recruits. It's going to take discipline and smart coaching. Ole Miss is lacking depth now in most areas, so it's going to take a couple of recruiting classes to help this team out. Challenging Bama? Not anytime soon. Just focus on getting more conference wins.
We all can agree that Spurrier has brought South Carolina to new heights as a program.If he can take his team to Lousiana and come away with a win does that put the gamecocks up there with Bama and LSU?and by extension in the National title convo?
Edward Aschoff (12:13 PM)
That would be a pretty big win. No question about it. I think that win would certainly give the Gamecocks more national attention. South Carolina could be in the national title race this season. Winning the East would certainly help, but it will come down to Atlanta in December. getting that win early would definitely help the Gamecocks out.
What's up with Spurrier suggesting we don't count East vs. West games in conference records? That just makes those games out of conference games. The worst part is Spurrier saying he was sticking up for poor ole Tennessee and Florida. It's funny how he didn't suggest this when Georgia had to play Alabama, LSU, and Auburn in 2008.
Edward Aschoff (12:14 PM)
Let's not beat around the bush here. Spurrier is upset about what happened to his team last year. Sweeping the East wasn't enough to make it in the SEC championship game and he's upset. No problem with him being upset, but I don't know if Mike Slive is ready to change his format.
James (Richmond, Kentucky)
How many wins should we expect from Joker Phillips this year? Looking at the schedule it looks like maybe 3 or 4. Will this be his last year?
Edward Aschoff (12:17 PM)
This is not a favorable schedule for Kentucky. Playing at Louisville to start the season will be tough and the Wildcats have to go to Florida, Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee. At this point, I don't know how many wins Kentucky will have, but for a team that couldn't do anything offensively last year, it looks like 2012 will be another tough one.
AUTiger0325 (SEC Blog)
Dash...I have Mizzou winning the East this year...do you think that would be bad or good for the conference considering they are new and only play 2 teams that are not in an AQ conference?
Edward Aschoff (12:18 PM)
Hey, SEC teams are notorious for playing cupcakes, so that won't matter at all. I don't think it would be so bad for the SEC. it will certainly help Missouri in the long run when it comes to recruiting, which will help the SEC and make it stronger. Will SEC teams be happy? Probably not, but in the long run I think it would help both parties because the SEC wants Mizzou to be successful.
Blues (The SEC blog)
Ed - you can't have a championship game without divisions (and round robin within the divisions) by NCAA rule. Does Spurrier not realize that?
Edward Aschoff (12:20 PM)
He knows that. I still wish that wasn't a rule. I think basketball does it right. Get rid of divisions. Then you don't worry about rivalries going away and you get the two best teams at the end of the season. Someone needs to talk to the NCAA ...
Matt (Columbia, SC)
Connor Shaw really seemed to settle in at QB last year, unfortunately he didn't get much time with Lattimore before he was out. I can only see this opening up the passing game more for SC, with 2 big running threats in the back field. Will Ace Sanders and Shaq Roland be able to make an impact facing more man coverage?
Edward Aschoff (12:21 PM)
I think it will help. Having Lattimore back on the field helps everyone because he's one of the best running backs in the country. Both of those receivers are so shifty and athletic that man coverage is always going to benefit them.
Clyde (St Louis)
Ed, with all the UGA suspensions, do you expect Mizzou to be favored early over UGA?
Edward Aschoff (12:22 PM)
I still don't. I think Georgia will still be favored and should for that game. I like Missouri's talent, but I think Georgia is better. I think it will be a great game, regardless. Missouri beating Georgia wouldn't surprise me, but I think the Bulldogs will be favored going in.
Jort Mullet (Louisiana)
Will Jadeveon Clowney be the best defensive player in the SEC next year?
Edward Aschoff (12:23 PM)
He'll be one of the best. I think he might be the top defensive end in the SEC entering the season. Sam Montgomery and a couple others will challenge him, but I think he's really going to take a big jump this fall.
Robert (Salt Lake City)
As an Aggie I recall the Big XII being a power running conference when formed, now it's as pass happy as the PAC-10 ever was. With Mizzou's spread and TAMU's take on the air raid coming in, combined with spread option at Miss St, a pass happy Arkanasas (assuming it doesn't change with a new coach), and Freeze at Ole Miss... is the game changing in the SEC away from a power running / pro style?
Edward Aschoff (12:25 PM)
No. There are going to be teams with spread elements in their offense no matter where you go. The best teams in the conference last year were pro-style teams. Florida ran a spread when it won its two championships, but it had that power game with Tim Tebow. Auburn was the most legit spread of the past champions. You won't see this conference move away from being a power running, pro-style league.
Henry (Sumter SC)
What are your thoughts on the Georgia vs South Carolina game being moved back in the season? It seems to help UGA way more then SC and I like what Spurrier said about how it helps to play UGA early because they always have a couple key suspensions.
Edward Aschoff (12:26 PM)
I think it helps both teams and it helps from a viewing perspective. Having it later makes it more important. It'll be a bigger game in my opinion.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Hey Ed, how much havoc is Adrian Hubbard going to wreak next season? Is he the next Rolando McClain?
Edward Aschoff (12:27 PM)
Coaches and players have been really excited about him. I think he's going to be a real player in this league. Next McClain? Still too early for that, but he'll be pretty good.
Dean (St. Louis )
I've heard nothing but gloom and doom for my Mizzou tigers from SEC fans. I honestly think if James Franklin is healthy, Mizzou could give Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina and run for the East. But according to SEC fans ALL their D-lineman are 350 and run a 4.2 forty. With Franklin, Marcus Lucas, T.J. Moe, DGB, Sheldon Richardson and company, I think we get to 9-3 this season. What do you think?
Edward Aschoff (12:29 PM)
I think Missouri really will give each team in the East issues. I wonder if this team can hold up physically through the first season. It isn't used to the pounding the SEC delivers. That's not to say the Big 12 is a bad conference, but it's not the same. I could see nine wins, but I don't see an SEC East title.
Lou (college station) [via mobile]
What is the ceiling for A&M this year? With a coachless Arkansas is it reasonable to think the Aggies could hold down the 3rd spot in the west?
Edward Aschoff (12:32 PM)
I still worry about depth on both sides and the quarterback position. Having Auburn, Mississippi State and Alabama all in a row and all on the road is going to be tough toward the end of the season. I think this team makes a bowl, but challenging for the West title? Not yet.
You think my Commodores can make it back-to-back bowls for the first time ever?
Edward Aschoff (12:33 PM)
If the attitude stays the way it is and Vandy gets more consistency from Jordan Rodgers, I think Vandy can do it. But teams aren't going to be shocked by Vandy this fall. I think the Commodores caught teams off guard last fall. They'll be taken more seriously this year.
Mack (Kansas City, Missouri)
Ed, if we Mizzou wins 10 games, tell me what must happen...
Edward Aschoff (12:34 PM)
Stay healthy. Don't get pushed around up front. Have balance on offense and make sure that front seven can hold up and play tough all year.
Ken Tidesnation [via mobile]
Hello Ed........which RB should we expect to see start the season? From being there at the A-Day game its looks like it's T.J. Yeldon jobs to lose even though he's inexperience but I think by him enrolling early and getting familiar with the offense makes his chance that much better.
Edward Aschoff (12:36 PM)
I still think Eddie Lacy is the guy, but he has to stay healthy. Yeldon will definitely get his chances to play this fall. Dee Hart will be a nice option in the flats. Jalston Fowler is another bruiser and he'll see time too. I think right now Lacy and Yeldon are going to be really fun to watch.
James (Conway, AR)
How do you view the Arkansas job nationally? Is it a Top 10? I tend to think we can get a coach of Petrino's caliber (with a lot better character) for the amount of money we can spend. We have a devoted fan base, resources for a big check, and a lot of money invested in football.
Edward Aschoff (12:40 PM)
I think it's a top 15 job, but I think it would be higher if the recruiting was better. Petrino proved how talented he was when it came to coaching offense when he put up good numbers with players that not a lot of people had ranked very high coming out of high school. I'm just not sure if Arkansas can consistently compete with LSU, Alabama, Florida, Georgia ... in recruiting. That area hurts because you have Texas and LSU right next to you. That might be a turnoff, but I think that getting a coach who can develop guys, like Petrino makes this a good job. Bring in an even better recruiter and I think it's a top 10 job. It's not like the area isn't fun to be in or nice to look at.
What current SEC quarterback do you think has the best shot in the NFL?
Edward Aschoff (12:41 PM)
I'd go with Tyler Wilson. Rocket arm and tough as nails. I think Aaron Murray might be the best quarterback when it comes to technical stuff, but Wilson can do so much. He can' run much, but he can take hits. You have to in the NFL.
Who ends up being the Gamecocks #2 RB? I think Kenny Miles but it very well could be Brandon Wilds. Either way they are stacked at RB with Lattimore, Miles, Wilds, Carson, and Davis.
Edward Aschoff (12:42 PM)
Can't forget about Brandon Wilds, man. He has a lot of heart and he's a hard worker. That will go a long way.
Will (Baton Rouge)
Assuming LSU wins the West and goes to the NCG, do you think LSU will run the table again in the regular season, or do you see a bigger chance for them to drop a game (SC or Miss. State) and still win it all?
Edward Aschoff (12:44 PM)
Having some of the toughest games at home is big. I could see this team running the table again. the schedule is as favorable as it could be for a West team, but Alabama is at home and so is South Carolina. Arkansas is on the road and that's not guarantee.
What are your thoughts on Spurriers take on the actual champion of a division going to the SEC title game? And also, with the SEC expanding, don't you think once we hit a 16 team conference, wouldn't this idea actually be probable?
Edward Aschoff (12:47 PM)
I say keep it the way it is. Overall conference record. Makes it easier. Also, if/when the SEC gets to 16 everything is up for grabs at that point ...
Brent (The Swamp)
Hey Ed, I was at the UF spring game - mighty fine coaching sir. On the topic of the Gators, what impact can you see them making in the next 2 years in the SEC? With recruiting shifting towards bigger and stronger backs, and the pro style offense developing under a couple of young QB's (not to mention a stout defense), can UF make a run at a BCS bowl in the next couple of years?
Edward Aschoff (12:49 PM)
I think that if a quarterback really emerges, most of the top defenders return and the depth at running back works out, Florida could be a team in the hunt for an SEC title in 2013. People around there think that will be the big year for Will Muschamp and his squad. It'll be a very veteran team with a lot of good working parts.
So it seems like the Arkansas Head coach is coming sometime this week...What is your prediction?
Edward Aschoff (12:50 PM)
Honestly, my gut says interim. Win this year and see what happens after that. It's going to be tough because of the interim coach wins 11 games, do you keep him? Or do you look at the amount of talent returning? it's just such a tough time of the year to find a real head coach. Not the best situation for Jeff Long.
Ed, quick answer, Marcus Lattimore doesn't get hurt next year, plays lights out as usual, could he possibly be the first back in years to go number 1 in the first round of the draft. (If he goes pro)
Edward Aschoff (12:52 PM)
If he comes back 100 percent and plays like he did as a freshman I don't see him staying. No point, really. Top pick? Not sure. Depends on what team is picking first.
JBF (SEC Blog)
At this point, wouldn't it be in Arky's best interest to promote from within for a year like Ohio State last year rather than hire a new coach with different philosophies and coordinators?
Edward Aschoff (12:52 PM)
That's what I would expect.
Rod (Tuscaloosa) [via mobile]
Hi Ed, keep up the good work buddy.....how do you think the WR's will do for us this year? The freshmen AC and CB looks pretty good in the spring game. Do you think that this is the best group of WR's since the departure of Julio and company(Hanks&Maze)?
Edward Aschoff (12:54 PM)
It'll be better. If DeAndrew White is fine, and Saban told me he expects him to be, he could be a real deep threat in this offense. One thing that will really help is that McCarron is older and better. I'm interested to see which freshmen step up and see more time.
Isaiah Crowell said he wants to win the Heisman, but his main goal is to be a better teammate and help Georgia win the National Championship. Is this attitude for real? Because if Crowell gets his head on straight, the kids gonna be good.
Edward Aschoff (12:56 PM)
It sounds like it. his coaches and teammates are pretty excited about it. We won't know until we see how he performs in a big game. Can he stay healthy? Can he stay focused when more attention comes his way?
With the new and returning quarterbacks at the top SEC schools (Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger, AJ McCarron, Connor Shaw, etc.) and the running backs (Isaiah Crowell, LSU's group, Bama's group, Marcus Latimore, etc.), do you feel the SEC could have one of it's best years in a while, considering these teams will be even stronger on the defensive side of the ball? What if no one can get through undefeated?
Edward Aschoff (12:58 PM)
I think the offenses will be much better overall this fall. There will certainly be better quarterback play this fall and there are some good running backs returning. Not like last year, but there should be some really talented backs in this league. Did Alabama go undefeated last year? Did Florida those two years? Did LSU in 2007? Don't worry about that.
Punch (PC )
Ed. Can you tell my good friends on the blogs that Bama is going to be throwing down the field a lot more this year. A lot of people seem to think the only thing we do is run and they tend to forget we were the only SEC to rush and pass for more than 200ypg
Edward Aschoff (12:58 PM)
I know Saban wants to and he feels better about doing it this year with McCarron back. That offensive line helps and the young talented receivers will help. I expect to see more of a vertical game from the Tide this fall.
A few years ago, it looked like Florida and Alabama would win their respective divisions forever and now its LSU and Alabama. Which team will knock these two teams off and level the playing field?
Edward Aschoff (1:00 PM)
I think you have South Carolina and Georgia first off. No one is quite sure what Arkansas will do after this season because we don't know who the coach will be. Florida will be back and if Tennessee can get things going this year it could help them get back on track for the future. Also, Auburn isn't going away. 2013 could be good for those Tigers.
Ed, your thoughts on Tennessee you biased Gator you?
Edward Aschoff (1:03 PM)
We have a comedian! I've said it before and I'll say it again; I think this team has the talent on both sides to compete in the East, but both lines must improve and the attitudes have to improve as well. Adjusting to all of those new coaches is going to be tough. I don't care what's been said so far. Can Da'Rick Rogers make it through the entire season? Will Tyler Bray become more of a real leader? Will there be a running game? There are a lot of questions entering this season, but there are talented bodies on both sides.
Edward Aschoff (1:03 PM)
Great hour of chatting guys. Talk to you all later!