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 everyone. I hope you all had a great weekend. Let's talk some SEC ball shall we
Mike (Crawford, TX)
As far as A&M and Missouri go: In the SEC the players are very proud. Do you think there will be a bit of trash talk before the game involving the words "You aren't real SEC teams"? Both the Aggies and Mizzou have shown a real respect for the other teams and I hope we receive the same.
Edward Aschoff (12:02 PM)
Of course there will be. This is D1 football!! They'll have to earn respect on the field just like everyone else but because they are new to the league you better believe they'll receive trash talk from teams. I'm sure it will just add some motivation for players. I'm sure they're ready and welcome it.
Tyler (Augusta national )
The bulldawgs have a completely new strength and conditioning staff led by veteran joe T. Whats te attitude coming out of Athens about the changes? Should I expect much bigger faster and stronger athletes this year? Will we be able to finish the drill in the fourth quarter?
Edward Aschoff (12:04 PM)
I know that players have been pretty pleased with the progress. Aaron Murray said that the weight staff has really made diet very important for players. It' hasn't been all about lifting and running, it's been about totally changing their bodies from the ground up. Malcolm Mitchell said he used to be a candy fiend before the the strength staff had a few words with him. He's totally changed his diet and said he can already see his endurance improving.
Hello mr. Aschoff. I have a question. Have you seen a balanced offense without a running game. Well bring in Tennessee. They have 3 receivers who are very deep threat wr who all 3 could be the star wr on any other team. With tyler bray at qb and a couple of TE. In riveria and cam clear this offense can be a better balnced offense without a run game. We can go deep or little fade routes. Don't forget both of the running backs can catch and run. If you don't agree then you would have to agree that this can be a very difficult offense to stop even with the best defense. The O. Line should be a lot better. More experience and depth. Your thoughts please.
Edward Aschoff (12:07 PM)
You can't really be balanced if you're one dimensional. It just doesn't work that way. But there's no question that Tennessee has a pretty good passing game on paper. If Bray and Hunter and healthy and Rogers comes back mentally ready this will be fun passing team to watch. Also, Paterson is expected to compete very early, giving Bray yet another target. He should have at least four solid receiving targets to work with, but without a running game they almost mean nothing. There has to be some sort of running game for Tennessee's offense to improve.
With the announcement of the new SEC-BigXII bowl game, is more realignment coming?
Edward Aschoff (12:08 PM)
I certainly don't think that we've heard the last of realignment. Not even close. And I think this game made things that much more interesting. You better believe it will make Florida State more interested in the Big 12. The SEC won't be left out if there is more movement. I expect more to come all over the country.
Is Arkansas one of the most overrated teams in the conference this year? They lose A TON of talent to the NFL on both sides of the ball - including their big time WRs and defensive playmakers - and now with no Petrino (and a thinning WR roster), I don't care if they have Bama and LSU at home or not. They almost lost to Ole Miss and Vandy last year with a BETTER team than they have now.
Edward Aschoff (12:09 PM)
I don't think you can call this team overrated because a lot of people aren't picking them to win the West. Even before losing Petrino, a lot of people, myself included, had them behind LSU and Alabama in the West. I think people are rating them just about the same now that they are down their head coach.
Craig (Langley AFB, VA)
What are your thoughts on the new Big 12 - SEC Bowl game? I'm really excited about it. I think it'll be in many ways better than the Rose Bowl, even if it is relatively new. It's too bad the SEC will only ever send their second or third best, because the best will be playing for the National Championship.
Edward Aschoff (12:11 PM)
I wrote about it Friday, but I think it's a great idea for both leagues. It will challenge the Rose Bowl and will bring even more money to the conference. It also helps highly-rated SEC teams that don't make it into the four-team playoff. It was a wise move by both conferences and will bring the SEC even more attention. We get a marquee matchup at the end of the season that we'd love to see during the regular season. But it's better than nothing. I think it has a chance to have a great following and tradition.
Clay (Birmingham, AL)
Ed, if Delany prevails and the 4 team playoff is conference champs only, do you see the SEC abandoning the divisional format and playing the SEC championship game between the conferences two best teams to avoid a team being left out?
Edward Aschoff (12:13 PM)
The NCAA states that in order to have a conference title game you have to have divisions. I think it's a very, very silly rule, but that's the way it is. Plus, I don't think Mike Slive would want to give up the conference championship. It basically ensures that the winner will play in the national championship. I don't see Delany's idea prevailing. It makes absolutely no sense to leave out the best teams.
James (Richmond, KY)
Is Joker Phillips the right guy for the Kentucky job? His performance over his first two years has been seen mostly disappointment. I understand that he has broken two streaks against South Carolina and Tennessee, but in most other SEC games his teams have been non-competitive. Is there any reason we fans should have optimism about the future of the program under his control?
Edward Aschoff (12:16 PM)
He lost a lot of key players heading into 2011. That really hurt that team last year. I think you'll see improvement, but that schedule is going to be tough to navigate. I think things are heating up around him because it's the SEC and everyone wants to win. Seeing Vandy have that success last year didn't help, but remember Phillips took Kentucky to a bowl during his first year too. The players love him, but if the results aren't there again this year, I think he'll feel the pressure, especially if Vandy continues to win. I think if he can get his offense together, he'll get back to bowl games, but there are still a lot of questions on that side of the ball.
Answer please!!!! Who do you see taking the West granted theres a three way tie with Alabama Arkansas and LSU all with one loss, to one of forementioned teams.
Edward Aschoff (12:18 PM)
We went over this time and time again last year. It comes down to divisional record and BCS rankings and then more BCS rankings because you look at who at how many spots a team is ranked behind the other if the lower-ranked team beat the higher seed. Man my brain hurts just thinking about it ...
So do you think that South Carolina's D can be better then Alabama's or LSU this year? I think we could with all the talent coming back, I know we lost a lot (Ingram, Allen, Robertson, and Gilmore) but we have so many great players coming back like Devonte Holloman, Dj Swearinger, Clowney, and Taylor. I aslo think the rest is solid with a good line, a few fresh feet for the DBs but they have shown a lot of potential?
Edward Aschoff (12:20 PM)
The secondary concerns me, but other than that I think South Carolina will have one of the best defenses in the SEC, if not the country. I still rank LSU's ahead because the defensive is probably the best in the country and that secondary will be tough to throw on. Alabama has holes, but there is talent and maturity there, so watch out. Georgia returns nine starters, but I wonder how much this defense will suffer with four missing the early part of the season. Holloman might be X-factor on this defense because of his versatility. He'll be important for this team.
David (College Station)
IF A&M beats Florida in a close game in its first SEC contest. What happens first.A) everyone in the SEC calls it a fluke B) "The refs made them win" C) they earn some respect D) Baylor fans (A
Edward Aschoff (12:22 PM)
Florida is taking a young quarterback, unproven running backs and receivers on the road in the second game of the season to play a team that will be playing in its first SEC game with a fan base ready to explode. Is Florida one of the top teams in the SEC? No. So you can't call it a fluke at all. They'll earn some respect in the fact that they won their first SEC game, but it's a long season. Win away from home and get consistent. Long way to go after the second week in September.
Barkeviious Mingo (Bayou)
Clowney and Taylor have been receiving a lot of hype down in Columbia. But aren't Sam and I the best defensive end duo in the conference, as well as the nation?
Edward Aschoff (12:24 PM)
Well "you" and Sam are projected to be top draft picks next year and I tend to agree with that. I think it's going to be great to watch "you guys" go up against Clowney and Taylor for the DE combo title. Playing in ATL would make it even better. Right now I give the edge to you, but we'll see what the season has in store.
Back to my question... I understand it all comes down to BCS, but my question was who do you see getting the call, if you had to pick right now.
Edward Aschoff (12:25 PM)
I picked LSU once the title game was over and I'm sticking with it.
Do you think that Connor Shaw has what it takes to be a top QB in this league? I am not comparing, but a few years ago Cam Newton ran the ball extremely well and threw the ball well... is it possible to see Shaw develop into that kind of a serious dual threat? Could he be a top 2 QB in the SEC?
Edward Aschoff (12:27 PM)
I think he can be a top QB because he has that dual-threat ability, but he's learning to be more of a passer and that's huge. Spurrier doesn't want to see him take off with the ball. He wants to see him throw more and get more comfortable as a passer and it sounds like that happened this spring. Now, he just has to have that carry over into this year and carry over into games where he'll have more eyes watching him and more criticism coming his way. Oh, and really good defenders coming his way as well.
atl olemissreb terrell (trapping at atl airport)
hey ed, the rebels recruiting is looking good so far, but if we close the deal with antonio connor, kailo moore, & dkemniche, could we take over bama
Edward Aschoff (12:28 PM)
In recruiting or in general? My answer is no to both because Alabama is always going to recruit well with Saban in charge and this program needs more than just a good recruiting class to move up in the SEC. Those players have done nothing in college and we've seen top recruits struggle plenty of times before. Getting on Bama's level is going to be VERY tough ...
Josh (Atlanta, GA)
Jarvis Jones receives a lot of national attention on the Georgia defense (rightfully so). One player who I am shocked has not received more attention within that linebacking corps is Alec Ogletree. You just don't see people with that size and speed. I know he had the broken foot against Boise State and was out until Florida because of it, but I have not seen a linebacker with his combination of size and speed in a long time. Do you think 2012 could be a breakout year for this former 5-star recruit?
Edward Aschoff (12:30 PM)
His suspension and his limited play last year obviously eat into that. I picked him to be a breakout player last year, but his injury kept him back. Now a suspension will keep him back. I think that's why you aren't seeing him get a lot of offseason attention.
How much of an effect do yo think Florida's new strength and conditioning coach will have on the program? It sounds like the team has undergone a complete transformation.
Edward Aschoff (12:32 PM)
One example is that Xavier Nixon, who has always had weight issues is up like 30 pounds or something. That's a lot, but it looks like he's actually keeping the weight on. He's incorporating a lot of clean and jerks to hit every single major muscle. The players look a lot bigger, especially the offensive line, but skill players aren't sluggish because of it. I think it will help this team be much more physical this fall.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
How big of a blow is the loss of Braswell to the Ole Miss hopes of having a successful season?
Edward Aschoff (12:33 PM)
He's someone that could contribute in the return game, receiver and corner. The good thing is that Ole Miss feels good about it's corner depth and had a couple of guys really step up at receiver this spring, but there's no question losing an athlete like Brassell will hurt this team. It's another body a team with very bad depth all around won't have.
John Jenkins (Between the Hedges)
Is the year I blow up the SEC, Terrence Cody style?
Edward Aschoff (12:36 PM)
If you don't let Kwame Geathers take your spot and you make strides from last year, I could see it. Teammates said you really improved this spring, but you're still getting pushed by Geathers.
If realignment starts again, which teams do you see the SEC going after? Other than ACC and Big XII teams, I don't see many attractive options near our footprint. I'd say VA Tech and UNC, but I'd have to think UNC and Duke are a package deal if the ACC implodes.
Edward Aschoff (12:38 PM)
I think UNC would be very attractive to the SEC now. Maybe not so much last year with all of the drama, but you have to think getting into the Carolina market would be big, plus you get great academics and some pretty good athletics too. Va Tech has always been rumored with the SEC, but would it leave without Virginia? Would the SEC take Virginia over UNC? I don't see Clemson making the cut and I'm skeptical about NC State. Slive has made it clear that he isn't looking to 16 but you have to believe he has some on his mind if he needs to expand.
Bryan (Roswell, GA)
Ed, here in Atlanta I've seen a lot of Aggie and Mizzou shirts around. I am just noticing them more because of the conference movement? How much of a fan base in Atlanta do you think the two have vs. the other schools in the league?
Edward Aschoff (12:41 PM)
Since I've lived here I've seen that this is a college city, actually more of an SEC city. It's not much of a pro city at all. This is an SEC hub. There are tons of SEC bars around here and I think that you're seeing more pride from MIzzou and A&M fans because of the SEC feel. They probably felt outnumbered before. While I'm sure they still are, there's a new sense of pride with those fan bases here in the South.
Matt (College Station)
The past couple of years, A&M has had a powerful pass rush and backfield penetration. Do you think this can continue in the SEC? Sean Porter is returning and it looks as though the other LBs didn't seem too shabby in spring practice.
Edward Aschoff (12:43 PM)
I really like Sean Porter. I think he's going to be a very good player in this league. I also think that Steven Jackson will do very well in the 4-3 defense. But you also have Damontre Moore, who moved to end. Moore and Porter combined for 18 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss last year. You have to have good pressure from the outside in this league and I think A&M has that. I like the Aggies' linebacking corps and I think it will really take some heat off of the defensive line.
Ryan Lee (Afghanistan)
Everyone is expecting Marcus Lattimore to enter the NFL Draft after this season. I don't see it happening. He is a team player 100% and a very hard worker. I see him sticking around for his senior year with Connor Shaw. Opinion?
Edward Aschoff (12:45 PM)
With that injury it's hard to see him not head to the NFL, especially if he comes back well this fall. Another injury could really hurt his draft stock. I think Spurrier understands that and would certainly help Lattimore if/when it comes down to that. I don't think we'll see Lattimore in the league next year if he's healthy enough to make a real impact this fall.
Who is Mizzou's best defensive player in your opinion?? EJ Gaines? Brad Madison?
Edward Aschoff (12:47 PM)
I really think that Gaines is a big-time player. Madison is good, but his shoulder held him back last year. I actually think he'll have some major competition in Kony Ealy this fall. Gaines is tough and has a great nose for the ball. He has great range for being a smaller corner. He broke up 16 passes last year and wll give QBs fits this year too.
Jessica (Lake Charles, LA)
I know everybody has been hyping LSU's new passing game but honestly, what do you think of it? Are they going to be as good as everyone is saying they are? I don't see it. We don't have a lot of veteran receivers on our roster and Les Miles doesn't even know that tight ends can catch balls too.....I mean Odell Beckham is good and Russell Shepard decided to stay but neither one of them has put up any numbers worth mentioning. Do you see them performing better with Mettenberger at the helm? Sorry that was two questions but we only have you for an hour!
Edward Aschoff (12:49 PM)
Look at what you had and now look at what you have. Mettenberger was easily the most talented QB on the roster last year, but he just wasn't mentally ready to take over. Plus, LSU did pretty well considering the QB position. Les Miles was very happy with Mettenberger's progress this spring and thinks the offense will be more balanced. I expect this to still be a run-first team with all those backs, but I think Mettenberger gives you a downfield passing game. Jarvis Landry should be pretty good and I think Beckham is real player. LSU's passing game will be better.
MikeDaTiger (Baton Rouge)
Dash, is it because Wing taunted your beloved Gators en route to a touchdown (whether it counted or not) that you didn't pick him as the top returning punter?
Edward Aschoff (12:51 PM)
I'm pretty sure it's because he averaged 44.4 yards per punt, while Arkansas' Dylan Breeding averaged 45.3. We did it by average per punt, not entertainment value. It's a statistical thing. Gotta read the intros my friend.
Patrick (Buckhead, GA)
Edschoff, if you had to choose between UGA or USC for the defense you'd rather have, who would you take? Why?
Edward Aschoff (12:53 PM)
Man, that's tough. I like UGA's secondary more (when it's at full health) and I like Georgia's linebackers more. But South Carolina's line is better. Ask me again in September. Yes, I totally dodged that one. Welcome to the life of a writer trying to get the real answer from a player or a coach :) Not so fun is it?
Who is Bama's top defensive player now w/ all those players gone?
Edward Aschoff (12:54 PM)
Jesse Williams. I think he's going to be a beast this year and will be the anchor for a defensive line that will have to play well this fall. Williams could be a top draft pick this year if he has the season that a lot of people think he'll have. He's strong, athletic and mean on the field. I love watching him play.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Is Mark Richt back on the hot seat if the Dawgs don't make it back to Atlanta given there more than favorable schedule for the second year in a row?
Edward Aschoff (12:56 PM)
Sadly, in this league and this sport I'm sure he'll get that question. The dean of SEC coaching faces it every year and there's reason for it, but sometimes it's pretty silly. Some Georgia fans wanted him gone after the first two weeks, and felt the same way after the Bulldogs lost their last two games. It wouldn't shock me at all if he started hearing the same thing if he doesn't make it back to ATL.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Is a healthy CJ Mosley the next Alabama superstar at LB? Or is Trey DePriest ready to step up for Coach Saban?
Edward Aschoff (12:58 PM)
I think Mosley can be a really, really good player. Remember he was third on the team in tackles as a freshman two years ago and now that Hightower is gone he'll get a lot more time on the field with Nco Johnson. I expect him to have a big year. He's fast and can hurt people with his strength.
How many wins would Mizzou need to have to make you say you under estimated them? And what % would you give them on making it?
Edward Aschoff (1:00 PM)
Well, I've said since Day 1 that I think Missouri can compete for the East title, but I'm also concerned about James Franklin's health. The entire offense is riding on him. Plus, both lines are pretty small compared to the rest of the SEC, so I wonder how much they can hold up. Still, I think Mizzou could win 9 games this year, if everything comes together. I guess 10 wins would make me feel like I underestimated them.
Clint (Hoover, AL )
Who do you think will prevail in Auburn's QB battle?Frazier just doesn't seem to have "IT" and Moseley is definitely not our man. Any chance will see Zeke Pike this year?
Edward Aschoff (1:01 PM)
If I were a betting man I'd go with Frazier. I think Moseley most valuable time this spring and the coaches think Frazier has a lot of potential. He's much more athletic and has become more confident in his arm. That's pretty big. Scot Loeffler really helped his game develop more this spring and I think that will go a long way. You have to think this coaching staff has been grooming Frazier to be the guy.
mshoggy (The Ozark Mountains)
Do you think Arkansas can lure Les Miles or Nick Saban to Fayetteville?
Edward Aschoff (1:04 PM)
No. Would it be a better job for either? Miles and Saban are very, very comfortable with where they are and they are winning where they are. Would they make the move just to prove a point? I don't think that in this day and age a coach can do that, especially in the SEC. Now, if either wasn't in the SEC now, I think they'd listen. But to lure them away from LSU and Alabama isn't happening.
Randy (Kuwait (Florence, SC))
Will Tennessee and Florida ever step their game back up? Don't get me wrong, I love South Carolina finally contending for the SEC East crown every year, but I want for them to contend for it fair and square. Do you ever see the East being the pride of the SEC again?
Edward Aschoff (1:05 PM)
Yes. I think that both teams have what it takes to do that this season. If both make positive strides this year than 2013 could be very good for both programs. You have to remember that both schools have endured coaching changes and have lost some good players over the years. This happens all the time in sports. These programs won't be down forever. I actually think the race in the East will be more exciting than the race in the West this fall.
Explain to me the difference between the current Cotton Bowl and the newly announced SEC-Big12 Bowl. The Cotton Bowl essentially already takes the best teams form each conference not playing in the BCS, and this past year took the best teams from each conference not ranked in the top 4.
Edward Aschoff (1:08 PM)
More money. More attention. More branding. More meaning. The Cotton Bowl won't be taking the next best teams anymore. That will go to the new bowl. The Cotton Bowl got that matchup last year because it could. You won't see that anymore with this new bowl game. This bowl will get much, much more national hype to it. Oh, and I don't know if I mentioned it, but there will be a lot more money involved too. This game might not be played in Dallas either. It's a completely different game.
Edward Aschoff (1:08 PM)
OK guys, I'm out. Great talking to you as always. See you next time.