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)
Greetings from the land of vacation and moving. You'd think moving down the street would be easy, but I haven't stopped since the process started Thursday. Well, at least I can sit and discuss what really matters: SEC football. Let's go!
Mike (Fla Gators)
How good will Florida be this year? Do they have a chance to win the East?
Edward Aschoff (12:03 PM)
Florida will be better than last year. After being around this team this spring there are more leaders and players are actually on board with Muschamp and his staff. I think the departure of Charlie Weis was a good thing and whichever QB wins the job should be more productive. The key is the offensive line. The defense will be fine, but the offense will only go as far as the line lets it. I don't see the Gators winning the East but they'll compete for it till the end.
Austin U (Fayetteville)
Hey Ed! Hows it going? How would you rank John L Smith as a head coach among other SEC coaches?
Edward Aschoff (12:04 PM)
It's still really too early to tell, but I'm not sure if I'd put him in the conversation with the most head coaches in this league because he's just stepping in for a year to help this team get by. How much control will he really have? I don't know. I think this will be about the coordinators and the players more than Smith to be honest. He was brought in to keep things together. I think he'll be a great quote and enjoyable to be around, plus who knows when he'll just go on a rant??
Sthrnchckx (Hastings Arms)
What is your prediction for Arky this year? How great do you see Tyler Wilson being? Can you pop that collar and give me a Wooo Piiiig Sooooie?
Edward Aschoff (12:07 PM)
With Petrino, this team was surely a national championship contender because of the offense. Now that he's gone, I'm a little more skeptical, but I should be. The head coach is gone and who knows how this team will react if it loses an early game? I still think this is the No. 3 team in the West, but I want to see how players and coaches react together without Petrino around. It's too early to really give a good opinion on how this team will do because I haven't seem Smith around players. The offense should be fine for the most part and I think Wilson will be at the top of the SEC list in passing yards. It's not like there isn't talent around him and he's a great competitor. No collar popping though :) Nice try.
Dash, what is your favorite type of music? How well do you see the newcomers doing. Also, who is your most favorite poster on the blogs *Pick me Pick Me Pick Me*
Edward Aschoff (12:08 PM)
Motown. I think Missouri can win nine games and compete in the East, while Texas A&M will have a tougher time transitioning this season. Both make bowls. Man there are so many great posters, how could I pick just one??? Probably the ones who think I "hate" Arkansas :)
bill (taking over one message board at a time)
there you go hating on john l smith and arkansas again. when we win the national title, will you apologize to tyler wilson in a hog hat on video for all the hating you and chris have made on all things arkansas? chris said on thrusday that he would. you game?
Edward Aschoff (12:10 PM)
Ha. I don't think I hated on him at all. How am I going to honestly judge someone who hasn't coached his team yet? Not even in practice? I don't think Tyler Wilson or John L. Smith need me apologizing to them. They'll be too busy celebrating to worry about what I have to say.
Lily (Athens, GA)
How do you see the Gamecocks doing this year? They have momentum from last year, Lattimore seems to be well on his way back to 100%, and a great quarterback with Connor. Schedule is brutal though. Are you worried about Vandy as the opener?
Edward Aschoff (12:12 PM)
Vandy is better. No team will overlook them anymore. But I still think South Carolina is a better team on paper. This team has what it takes to win the East, but it has to get past Arkansas and LSU as well. Tennessee and Florida have the talent to be better this year, so don't count those at automatic wins. If Lattimore comes back 100 percent South Carolina's chances of winning the East will be MUCH better. I think Connor Shaw improved a lot as the season went on, so if he continues to look to throw first, the offense will only get better, but he has to find a consistent receiving target.
Vince Dooley (Athens)
With the recent news of President Michael Adams retiring from the presidency at UGA, will the new president try and mend the relationships between me and the university? Could the new name of the stadium be Sanford-Dooley Stadium or possibly Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium?
Edward Aschoff (12:14 PM)
Naming it after Vince Dooley, er, you, would be a great start. I think that idea will/has been mentioned to Adams. Surely it has ...
Max (Fort Knox)
Georgia wins the SEC and the National Championship if? And UGA's biggest threat in your opinion is SC, Bama, or LSU?
Edward Aschoff (12:15 PM)
If the offensive line comes together, Isaiah Crowell shakes his issues and this team/coaching staff doesn't succumb to the hype. Since Bama and LSU aren't on the schedule, I'll go with South Carolina. Gotta get through the real schedule before you think about Atlanta.
Colonel Sanders (Oxford)
Whats going on with the Academic issues at Ole Miss? Is there a possibility that they might lose some scholarships?
Edward Aschoff (12:17 PM)
It sounds like guys just coasted by for a few years. I think the classroom was at the bottom of the list for a handful of players. Some coaches let it slide and now Hugh Freeze is paying for it. He's sweating bullets about a few players, some pretty good ones too. I can tell you that he's changing that now. He's making sure players look at the text books before the playbooks. Scholarships could be taken away if things end up being worse than people thought.
Martin (Athens, Ga)
I think at this point it's best just to assume that an SEC team will be tbe national camps next year. What I'd like to have you to weigh in on is the possibility of it being from the East. Unfortunately, I think Lattimore and SC's defense could get them there, but I think, perhaps a little biasedly, that UGA, forgetting the schedule, is even a little more caapable. What do you think? SEC East National Champs? And'm not saying that beating either Alabama or LSU is a forgone conclusion, just a definite possibility.
Edward Aschoff (12:20 PM)
Those are the two teams that I think could do it from the East. Defense wins championships and both will be pretty good again there. Both have running games. Georgia has the advantage at QB and WR, but South Carolina's offensive line is better. Better Dline too. Georgia has the linebackers and at full strength I think you have to give UGA the secondary. Now coaching is up for grabs. Spurrier has been there before while Richt hasn't with the Bulldogs. Pressure is something both teams will have to deal with this season. The winner in that department will take the East. Then it's all about beating the West ...
Is this the first year in a while that a one loss SEC team might not get the benefit of the doubt over other conference's undefeated champs?
Edward Aschoff (12:23 PM)
You know I'd actually be surprised if that happened. Honestly, I think the SEC is stronger across the board because the East is stronger this season. I think Auburn will be better and so will Mississippi State. Getting through the SEC this year might be tougher than last year, so I don't see it happening. Last year certainly turned off many from outside the conference, but I just can't see a one-loss SEC team that wins the SEC championship not making it to the title game. Toughest conference, man.
Colorado Aggie (Colorado Springs)
How do you see A&M's first SEC game going in Kyle field against the Gators?
Edward Aschoff (12:24 PM)
I think it's going to be absolutely electric. First SEC game, come on! It's gonna be fantastic there. I've never been, but I hear game days there are pretty good. This one should blow the others out of the water. Florida will be bringing in a young quarterback and will still be looking to find proven offensive playmakers. Not the best first SEC game for the Gators. It'll be tough for them to escape that one.
Enough with the Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina questions! Will the quadruple group of Eddie Lacy, TJ Yeldon, Dee Hart, and Jalston Fowler make Bama's offense even more potent than it was last year with Trent Richardson? I know Trent will never be replaced but each of these guys can do different things and do them well. Thoughts?
Edward Aschoff (12:27 PM)
Trent was on another level. None of those guys you mentioned are in his class, in my opinion, but I think that Alabama's running game will still be very good. The people at Alabama are pretty excited about Yeldon and he'll push Lacy every step of the way, which should help him be even better. Hart provides some nice change-of-pace and will be used in the flats in the passing game as well. Fowler is a bruiser like Lacy so that's always good in this league. Like LSU last year, this team will be able to go four-deep every game and that's never good for a defense. You can just wear down opponents.
Are the lack of questions about LSU because there are no questions about LSU? Last year QB play was the only real hole and hurt us- very badly- If Mett plays slightly above average and we can replace Reuben Randle- are there any glaring holes in this team?
Edward Aschoff (12:31 PM)
Linebackers are thin of starters and you have to be replaced and Mo Claiborne was pretty good. Though the secondary should be fine. I think linebacker becomes the biggest concern for this team. Kevin Minter is back and the coaches think he'll be pretty good this fall, but there is inexperience there. Talent? Oh yeah.
Ed, After watching Auburn's spring game, I have to disagree with your assessment that they will be a team to watch in 2012. The DL looks pretty good, but the rest of the team has a looooong way to go before they are ready to compete with the upper echelon of the SEC. What exactly do you see in them that I don't?
Edward Aschoff (12:34 PM)
I see a pretty talented/deep running game, an improved offensive line, a new QB coach who will be able to help out Frazier and Moseley and improved youngsters. Nearly 70 percent of this team is made up of underclassmen, so the Tigers will still be young, but those youngsters played a lot last year. Maybe it's just a hunch, but I think this team will show a lot of improvement this fall.
Ed, moving sucks...doesn't matter how far. Much ado about LSU QB Zach Met. Obviously seems like an upgrade in skills. Will he be able to figure out a Nick Saban defense? JJ and JL certainly couldn't do it...
Edward Aschoff (12:38 PM)
It's always longer than you think it will be! As for Mettenberger he'll have to because his feet won't get him out of bad situations like Jordan Jefferson in Game 1 last year. He's going to sit back there and sling it around, so he'll have to figure out where the holes are in Saban's defense before he steps out on the field (which every QB does for every game). I also think that LSU can still lean on its running game with all those backs returning. It will help that the secondary won't be as seasoned as last year's.
Dawgfan_1977v8.0 (Fort Benning, GA)
Ed, how do you see the first few games with a depleted secondary shaking out for GA? Will the defensive front 7 make a big enough impact to cover the slack or are we gonna be sucking and having to play shoot-outs?
Edward Aschoff (12:41 PM)
I think Georgia will be just fine in the opener against Buffalo. Having issues there, regardless of who is in, is a problem in itself. As for Mizzou, it'll be tough, but it would have been tough with those starters in. This is Mizzou's first SEC game and it's at home. I'm pretty sure those fans will be pretty pumped. Mizzou will look to exploit that beaten up secondary early and often and James Franklin is looking to be a pass-first QB. There are plenty of receiving weapons for Georgia to struggle with. That one will be fun to watch, but you have to remember that Mizzou's line is smaller than UGA's and I think that's a big advantage for the Bulldogs. I still like Georgia in this one. I think UGA can go 4-0 without those starters.
Jason (West Park)
Ed, I believe that the best combo of OL and DL wins the championship...SEC and National. If I'm correct, who breaks the crystal football this year?
Edward Aschoff (12:43 PM)
Seems to work, huh? I think LSU is right up there. Everyone on that offensive line has good starting experience and the defensive line will be one of the best around. Sam Montgomery is a first-round draft pick, Barkevious Mingo is very underrated. Bennie Logan is someone John Chavis says will be even better this fall and Anthony Johnson is a freak ... like his nickname implies.
Who is your spoiler for the East and West this year?
Edward Aschoff (12:45 PM)
Well, I might as well get ready to hear the "homer" calls but I'll go with Florida. If the offensive line helps the QB and running game, the Gators will be pretty good. LSU is at least at home and so is South Carolina. Plus, when was the last time Georgia beat Florida twice in a row?
How exactly is a new QB coach going to help Frazier and Moseley out when Gus Malzahn (offensive genius) could do anything with them? You're really reaching here, Ed, if you're counting on QB play to get AU over the top.
Edward Aschoff (12:46 PM)
Scot Loeffler is a pretty good QB coach last I heard. Hey, bring on the haters. I like my "team to watch" pick. If you don't, it'll only make me look smartererest.
Also, Ed, 14 of AU's 22 projected starters are Juniors or Seniors. I wouldn't exactly call that a "young team"
Edward Aschoff (12:47 PM)
Gene Chizik said it himself. He said nearly 70 percent of the returners were underclassmen. Not sure what else you want.
Eric (Charleston, SC)
It seems like Tennessee's offensive line/running game turned a corner during spring practice. If they have a productive run game, how good can this offense be?
Edward Aschoff (12:49 PM)
It'll help out a lot. Tyler Bray can throw. He has weapons. We all know that, but we don't know a ton about the offensive line. And what we do know is that neither were very good last year. I think getting a guy like Antonio Richardson in the starting rotation is big because he's so athletic and the coaches think so highly of him. Now finding someone to run the ball is the next step. Marlin Lane was much better this spring, but let's see what he can do against opposing defenses. This offensive can't put EVERYTHING on Bray's shoulders. You have to be able to run the ball in the SEC or you're not going to make it. Tennessee proved it last year.
Chad ( prattville al) [via mobile]
Have you heard anything about Duron Carter's status at the university of Alabama?
Edward Aschoff (12:50 PM)
Still has to earn the right to return. Sounds like it's gonna take him changing things outside of football. In short, nothing has changed.
Phil (From the Hill)
Soooo... the arkansas D (the only thing we've needed to break through to the elite for a while now)... Should I be overjoyed that the first D smothered the 2nd team O.... or concerned that the second team D was destroyed by Wilson and Company. I mean... it's possible that Wilson and Company are just that good.... but a 65-0 flop.... should I be nervous or no?
Edward Aschoff (12:53 PM)
It's a spring game, so I wouldn't be too worried/excited by anything. There's no question that the depth on Arkansas' defense has to get better. It just wasn't there in those losses to Alabama and LSU. This unit vastly underperformed all year. Yes, there were injuries, but not ranking higher than ninth in any major defensive categories in the conference is pretty bad. With that said, I think Paul Haynes brings a more aggressive style and that will help this group a lot. It will make it tougher mentally and physically. Time will tell, but Haynes' style is something the Hogs are excited about.
Jason (West Park)
Ed, I personally believe that the current bowl-system is just fine. Easy recipe to a NC game appearance- play good competition and win all your games. Lose a game and you may be out or not. That sounds a lot like a single elimination play-off to me...
Edward Aschoff (12:55 PM)
Stop drinking the BCS Kool-Aid!! Every sport has a playoff, but college football. I get the bowl experience, but there are ways to incorporate it and still have a playoff. You're gonna make me type for days on this topic, but I think starting with a four-team playoff is a good start. I want more, but I'll be happy with this format for now.
The Goose (Athens, Ga)
Hi Sir Ed (you've been Knighted now by my drunken frat bros)Why does UGA struggle so much against UF? You being from the area, LOVE to get your unique perspective on 3 or 4 reasons.
Edward Aschoff (12:58 PM)
I'm watching Game of Thrones so your first comment makes me feel honored. I'm actually from Oxford, so I grew up in the middle of another pretty bitter rivalry, but I'll tell you that for the last 20 or so years it was mental a lot of the time in the 2000s. Yes, Florida had better teams for the most part, but there were some years when you though Georgia was going to win heading in and the Dawgs just fell flat. The 2007 game was one of the best football games I've ever seen, but there was far more emotion from Georgia that year than last year. I think it felt like relief last year but in 2007 it felt like a great rivalry win. I honestly think the mental side consumed Georgia for most of the years.
Big Sean (St Louis)
I guess Mizzou fans shouldn't expect to get any questions answered until July?
Edward Aschoff (12:59 PM)
Be persistent. There are like 200 questions coming at me. I look up and answer. Ask away!
PRT (Walking in Hooters)
Why does Bama get no respect from you? I mean there players, especully AJ. He should be on everyones watch list for the Hiesman this year yet no one even mentions his name. Am I crazy for thinking hes the best qb in the SEC by a mile.
Edward Aschoff (1:01 PM)
By a mile? Yes. He's solid. He has moxy and some arrogance. I'd take him if I were starting a team, but he was limited at times last year because Saban didn't fully trust him at times and he even told me that there are times where he still doesn't. He understands that McCarron is the most talented QB he's had at Bama, but he also knows that McCarron knows that as well. And he'll try to prove it too much at times. Saban keeps him on a leash still but I think he'll air it out a lot more this fall.
MIZZOU has a decent class already with 11 commits and all being 3 and 4 stars. We have done well here in-state and are looking to get an SEC footprint. Where do you think that is? GA? Also What stud players do you think we can get if any? MU over GA by 10. Just my opinion.
Edward Aschoff (1:03 PM)
Coaches told me that hitting Georgia is key to recruiting for this team. But you have to remember that a lot of high school players have never seen Missouri play, so those coaches will have to do a heck of a job selling their program to a relatively new area. I think Texas will continue to be Missouri's biggest recruiting ground, but there's no question that this staff wants to get into the South, especially Atlanta.
Scratches (Ft. Walton Beach, FL)
Hey Ed, I think Vandy has to get their big upset next season. Out of Carolina, Georgia and Florida, who do the 'Dores have the best shot at beating?
Edward Aschoff (1:05 PM)
Well opening the season against South Carolina will be tough, even if it is at home, so I'll go with Florida because it's at home and the Gators will be coming off the LSU game and could get caught looking ahead to South Carolina.
mshoggy (pachy's apartment)
Dash everyone in Fayetteville thinks you are a dream boat. Can I get a wooooooo pig sooooooie. How does anyone think they can contain the Hogs offense and with a new DC we are a lock for the natty. Thoughts?
Edward Aschoff (1:07 PM)
Well I do appreciate it. The offense will be good. No question. But there's a new man in charge and this isn't his offense. Bobby Petrino orchestrated it the best, so I could see a little bit of a dip. Not enough to crush this team. Defensively, the jury is still out. I think Haynes is an upgrade, but I want to see the depth of this team. It wasn't there last year. It has to be for this team to get by Alabama and LSU.
Edward Aschoff (1:07 PM)
OK guys, I'm out. Great chat today. Good convos and we even shared some laughs. Well done. See you all next time.