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 (12:02 PM)
Greetings! It's a little chilly here in the South, but that shouldn't stop us from talking some SEC football today. Let's get started
DASH,Swamp was bumping on Sat!!! Even though it felt like 200 degrees in that student section that 2nd half was nuts!!!!! As a man in your position how much do you really think home field advantage plays in the SEC. I try to explain to my FSU buddies all the time but they just don't get it. I mean look at how crazy those gamecocks were on Sat night, that place was rocking too and I'm glad we get the Ole ball coach at home. I still think FL is too high at 4 and hope these kids heads don't get BIG and they stay hungry!!
Edward Aschoff (12:04 PM)
Well, that was a lot to take in right there. I think home field factors a lot in games. Those home crowds around these parts are insane. I have never seen atmospheres close to what I see in SEC stadiums. It's great. And when you have a struggling offense inside a hostile environment (LSU is a perfect example) the crowd can totally take a team out of the game.
Kyle Smith (Atlanta, GA)
Edward, will Ole Miss make it to a bowl game after the heartbreaking loss to A&M??? Is Ole Miss good enough to pull an upset on LSU in Death Valley?? Do you think the coaches take full responsibility for the loss?
Edward Aschoff (12:07 PM)
Ole Miss has the offense to make it to a bowl, but those turnovers are so costly. This team just can't afford to give the other team the ball as much as it does. The defense is better than it was last year, but it's still struggling in key situations. But games against Auburn, Vandy and Arkansas still remain. It wouldn't shock me if the Rebels were favored in all of those games. I'm not saying Ole Miss will win all three or make it to a bowl, but this team certainly has a good chance to do it.
How 'bout those Gamecocks! I was there Saturday and it was electric! Here's my question: Can Steve really keep the team focused and think one game at a time? We can beat LSU and UF if we play the same way, but I'm worried about looking too far ahead...thoughts?
Edward Aschoff (12:08 PM)
Focus has always been an issue with this team after big wins. After beating Alabama a couple of years ago the Gamecocks lost to Kentucky the next week. That loss to Auburn last year crushed the Gamecocks' SEC championship hopes as well. This team certainly won't be overlooking LSU, but it has to feel a little more confident now than it did a week ago against the Tigers. I think this coaching staff will keep this team grounded as much as it can because it's been through this so many times.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Who's got the biggest problems: Auburn, Arkansas, or Missou?
Edward Aschoff (12:10 PM)
A week ago I was saying Arkansas. Now, I'm saying Auburn. The Tigers can't move the ball at all on offense. And when they did last week they turned it over. It's really hard to watch that team play. Arkansas had the SEC's worst defense heading into the game, but Auburn couldn't capitalize on it at all. Things are worse on the Plains than I expected. I'm eating crow now because I thought Auburn would be much better than it is. MUCH better
Jacob (Texas )
Are you stunned by the complete opposite trajectories that Mizzu and A&M are taking this season so far? What are A
Edward Aschoff (12:12 PM)
I am. I thought Missouri would compete for the East title. Nine wins wasn't out of the question to me because of all the leadership coming back and the talent on offense. But this team has been pushed around against SEC teams. I know this team has been banged up, but there are too many good skill players out there for Missouri to look this bad. Just a really disappointing team and things will only get worse with Alabama up next and James Franklin injured. A&M hasn't missed much of a beat replacing all of that talent and Johnny Manziel is probably going to be the freshman of the year in the SEC.
Dash,Does a special teams coach ever instruct the returner to call "fair catch" no matter what? There were a couple in that UF game that drove me nuts!! Is that coming from the sideline to prevent a possible turnover and run more clock for an extended drive or are these guys calling these "fair catches" on their own? I'm about to throw Debose into the most overrated Gator coming out of high school since Brantley, he is nonexistent now and thats sad with all his speed.
Edward Aschoff (12:14 PM)
I was watching a few of those and trust me, the coaches didn't call for all of them. That one by "Pop" Saunders had everyone in the press box confused. As for Debose, when you talk to people at Florida about him it sounds like he just can't get anything done in practice. He has a lot of talent, but his head isn't in it.
Is it too soon to place Jadevon Clowney as the #1 overall pick in the 2014 draft
Edward Aschoff (12:14 PM)
Yes. He's great, but he has to learn to play for 60 minutes. He's too inconsistent with that.
Hey Ed...exciting game in Oxford this past weekend. Couple of Qs for ya. First, I've seen some questions about the possible "safety"on Johnny Football. I think the correct call was made. Your thought? Second, SIX TURNOVERS...if this was last year, no way A&M comes back. How do you think a game like this will impact the rest of the season for the Aggies? Finally, is A
Edward Aschoff (12:17 PM)
I didn't see the safety play, so I can't help you with that one. I think this game will help this team realize that it can't live life on the edge in the SEC. Six turnovers won't win you many games in this league. It's certainly a learning experience for Texas A&M. I've been very impressed with this team so far. Surpassed my expectations for sure.
Seriously Dash, where is the love for Mississippi State? We continue to win in easy fashion, and ESPN just refuses to talk about us. I understand that our margins of victory have been less than impressive, but I really think we are better than 18th in the polls right now.
Edward Aschoff (12:19 PM)
I guess that story I did on the secondary last week just went unnoticed. Hurts, man. Hurts bad. I still think the jury is out on this team because of those sluggish victories and because of how bad Auburn is. Getting a win over Tennessee will certainly help the perception of this team. I can't wait to watch that secondary take on Tennessee's receivers. I think this one will be very good this weekend.
It's still early with Franklin but with Vandy having top 25 recruiting classes the last two years, can they become a consistent bowl contender?
Edward Aschoff (12:20 PM)
I think this team has to make it to a bowl game this year before we start talking about the Commodores being a consistent bowl team. This team still needs help with depth in certain areas and it needs quality depth. Not like what it's had in the past. Make it to a bowl this year and we'll talk more about the subject.
Ed, If the Vols keep improving with the running game like they did over Ga and Bray, Hunter and Patterson make the plays they are capable of.....what chance do you give the Vols Saturday night at Miss State?
Edward Aschoff (12:22 PM)
A balanced attack is what the Vols need because they can't put everything on Bray's shoulders. If this team is going to beat Mississippi State, it has to run the ball because the Bulldogs have the best corner tandem in the league in Banks and Slay. You won't consistently pass the ball against this team. Those two haven't been scored on yet. Tennessee has to run the ball well and Rajion Neal has really impressed me this season. He's the kind of pounder the Vols have needed.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Who's seat is the hottest: Chizik, Richt, or Dooley?
Edward Aschoff (12:23 PM)
I still think you have to go with Dooley because of how this season has started and the fact that he probably needs eight wins to stay. He's had a rough, rough ride with the Vols, but this sport isn't about feeling bad for people. Results are No. 1. Chizik's seat certainly is getting hotter, but you have to remember that he lost SO MUCH from that national championship team. He needs a quarterback first and foremost.
Will (Baton Rouge)
Did it seem to you that LSU was playing out of their game Saturday? LSU is a great running team, but they went on the road and passed it 50% of the time. They had 13 pass plays to 11 run plays just in the first half. Their leading rusher only touched the ball 4 times. They tried to run on 3rd and 25 with 3 only men rushing. No shots deep until the 4th quarter? All of the playcalling seemed completely backwards and against what LSU does best. I felt like they were playing Bama for the BCSNC again. I know some of it had to do with the players, but they playcalling doesn't make sense.
Edward Aschoff (12:26 PM)
Yeah, I was surprised at how many times they threw the ball. This is a team built to run, but Florida stuffed it all day. I think once the staff realized it couldn't run the ball it went to the air, which wasn't effective at all. The Gators weren't scared of that passing game at all because they were in man all day. And it didn't even matter because LSU took just one shot the whole day. If you are going to have your QB take over the game he has to throw the ball down field. LSU didn't. Some really questionable calls there by LSU's staff in regards to how Mettenberger was used.
Jacob (College Station)
Should the Longhorns finish 3rd in the Big 12, would the Cotton Bowl pick A&M over one or two other SEC teams in the bowl pecking order to get the big rivalry game?
Edward Aschoff (12:27 PM)
That would be pretty cool. I think it would add a little more to that game, but I don't think the Cotton Bowl would pick Texas A&M just to pick it. It wants the best teams in there and if the Aggies don't win enough, they won't be in that game. It would be cool to see those two play, but they won't sacrifice a chance to get a higher ranked team.
Ed, what do you think is going on with Jarvis Jones? Are teams keying on him and UGA doesn't have enough other defensive playmakers to make them pay for paying too much attention to him? Contrast Jarvis with what happened to Clowney, where they couldn't stop him when they assigned three blockers to him, and when they could, South Carolina's other players like SUtton, Taylor, etc made them for paying so much attention to Clowney.
Edward Aschoff (12:29 PM)
Offenses really have figured out ways to take him out of the game. They are putting extra guys on him and directing plays away from him. He just hasn't been a real factor the last two weeks. That's great coaching by his opponents. But Jones is a great talent, so he has to figure out ways to make plays. His coaches have to find ways to put him in positions to do that as well. And he needs help. They are keying in on him because they feel comfortable taking on all of georgia's other defensive players. Someone has to step up and take the pressure off of him.
Johnny Football (Saving Kittens)
My o-line is giving me enough time to read a book and take a nap during snaps, can this o-line hold up against a tough LSU defense?
Edward Aschoff (12:32 PM)
A celeb in the house! Welcome! And saving kittens? Excellent. that line will certainly have its hands full against LSU's defensive line. I think people are writing off this LSU team and forgetting about the defense. Yes, the offense is bad right now, but that defense is still fierce and it can force turnovers. A&M's offensive line is very good, but LSU's front is tremendous. The Aggies had no success in the second half against Florida's line, and LSU's line is just as talented as Florida's.
Ed, MSU fan here who believes that Chris, you and the others at ESPN have been very fair in covering my Dawgs. I like this MSU team because that tend to put in non-flashy workmanlike performances. Taking care of the ball is the key to winning SEC games. One nitpick is that I don't think people understand how talented Tyler Russell is. What are your thoughts on his season so far and what do think his upside is?
Edward Aschoff (12:34 PM)
Russell is much better now than he was last year. He's way more comfortable out there, but he can get sluggish at times. And if he's forced to run he's in trouble. Statue might be too nice to describe his rushing ability. But he's been tremendous at managing games this year. But we'll see what happens when he plays better defenses and more pressure comes his way.
The only reason Clowney hasn't played consistently for 60 minutes is bc he is not on the field the entire game (pulled in the 4th quarter). Also, you're one of the few (maybe only) journalist in the United States that doesn't believe Clowney will be the 1st pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Heck, he possibly would be the 1st pick taken this year if he was eligible. Barring major injury, Clowney will only get stronger, faster, and more intelligent...SCARY!
Edward Aschoff (12:35 PM)
Just look at the first games of the season. He goes from spectacular to almost invisible on plays. He's an amazing talent but he doesn't always give his all out there and relies on skill too much at times. He's gotten much better as the season has gone on, but if he's going to be the top player taken he has to be more consistent. he's still young as well, so let's let the guy grow some.
Anil (Pensacola, FL)
Hey Ed, why doesn't florida throw the ball downfield down the sidelines.. i mean sure we don't have receivers that are capable nor is Driskel ready to throw downfield yet, but even we throw two or three incomplete passes downfield, it keeps the opposing defense stretched a bit and then receivers could get some space instead of press coverage always.. What's your take on it???
Edward Aschoff (12:37 PM)
That team doesn't need to throw the ball deep right now because it's running the ball so well. I also think the fact that it has no consistent receiving targets outside of Jordan Reed is a major factor as well. But I'm not sure how confident Driskel is in some of this throws. He got sacked on a couple of plays where he had guys wide open down the field. He's thinking too much out there at times.
Greg Mcgarity (Athens)
Ok I will rephrase. Why shouldnt UGA fire Mark Richt? He hasnt won a big game in some time.
Edward Aschoff (12:40 PM)
Mark Richt has a lot wins at Georgia and just one losing season. He hasn't won a national championship and winning in Atlanta just hasn't been there like fans have wanted. But I just don't see him getting fired if this team wins nine or 10 or more games this year. I mean the SEC isn't out of reach. In fact, Georgia has the easiest road to Atlanta. The pressure is off Georgia. South Carolina and FLorida still play each other, USC plays LSU and UF plays UGA. The Bulldogs' biggest threat right now is Florida and who knows what shape that team will be in when it gets to Jacksonville. This firing Richt talk is beyond silly.
Cocky (Columbia, SC)
what do you think of reports of Aaron Murray's house getting egged and TP-ed?
Edward Aschoff (12:46 PM)
It's really sad. I guess Christian Robinson thought it was angry Georgia fans and if that was the case it's just despicable. Egged their house because they lost? Get over yourselves. Plus, they couldn't have done it to two more respectable players. I'm all about holding players and coaches accountable, but to do something so juvenile is really sad and stupid. But hey, I guess those people felt they needed those players who actually went out there and did something productive over the weekend to apologizing for not making their lives better.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Carolina's D-line vs. the Tide's O-line. To quote Jim Carrey, "this is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object." Who would you rather have?
Edward Aschoff (12:47 PM)
It's hard to pick against Alabama's offensive line. It's the best one in the country and might be one of the best Alabama has ever had. South Carolina's defensive line is great, but it hasn't faced anything like Alabama's line. It would be fun to see in Atlanta. I'd take Alabama right now.
It is a little early to crown Bama the West champion, but doesn't this year SEC championship game look more even than ever, when it comes to the play of SC or Florida? Who would give the Tide the most fits?
Edward Aschoff (12:48 PM)
Right now I'd say South Carolina because that offense does a little more than Florida. But both these teams are very, very similar because they do the same sort of things out on the field. I know Mike Gillislee has been playing well, but Marcus Lattimore is an absolute animal and he's getting better and better this season after his injury. He's just so tough to take down.
Ed, what do you think a Bama fan should take from the games this past weekend when we were on a bye?
Edward Aschoff (12:50 PM)
I think realizing that Missouri's offense is in trouble is something that will help the Tide. That defense will hit the Tigers in its weak spots all day. Pounding away at that offensive line is goal No. 1 for Bama. And getting pressure on Berkstresser is only going to make the Tigers' day that much worse. Also, seeing that LSU doesn't have a downfield passing game had have put a smile on Nick Saban's face.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Ed, what's your take on the LSU-Carolina game now? This game has huge implications for both East and West races. Does LSU regroup, or does Spurrier keep rolling? Miles has a pretty good record coming off of a loss, right?
Edward Aschoff (12:52 PM)
LSU has to get Mettenberger going or this game will be lost just like the Florida game. The Gators had opportunities to score early but just couldn't get that passing game going at all. South Carolina will be able to take advantage of LSU's mistakes and pound away with Lattimore. South Carolina might just play like Florida did to wear this team down. It has all the offensive pieces to do that and might have better quarterback play from Shaw. This is a really tough one to pick because you just keep thinking that the offense will get it together and the home crowd will help
Albert (Gainesville, FL)
Ed, Any chance UF wins the LSU game if shoe was on other foot and we were playing in front of 90,000+ screaming tiger fans?
Edward Aschoff (12:52 PM)
Florida went into Texas A&M and Tennessee and won with more fans yelling at them ...
Dash, I hear you saying fire Richt is beyond silly, and sports writers are always the first to defend him...let's ask this a different way...would you want Richt coaching YOUR team?
Edward Aschoff (12:56 PM)
Why not? He's a great person and has a boatload of wins at Georgia. He's not the one overthrowing guys or missing tackles or dropping passes. Yes, he has to shoulder some of the blame but not all of it. If I needed a coach and he was available I'd take him.
Will (Macon )
Hey Ed what happens if there is a 3 way tie in the east. you know if Fla beats sc and UGA beats Fl.
Edward Aschoff (12:57 PM)
We almost had this same situation in the West last year. It's quite confusing, but I'll let the SEC describe what happens in its own words. This is what the league says would happen if all teams have just one loss at the end of the season: "The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series Standings following the last weekend of regular-season games shall be the divisional representative in the SEC Championship Game, unless the second of the tied teams is ranked within five-or-fewer places of the highest ranked tied team. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the SEC Championship Game."
Berkstresser consistently in 3rd and long situations - certainly he has to get over the nerves but receivers and perhaps coaches weren't helping him out much, no?
Edward Aschoff (12:59 PM)
How in the world is Missouri struggling so much on offense? That team has really good receiving talent and a ton of speed. That offensive line is playing poorly and it's banged up, but I think it's mental for this team. They just aren't tough enough. I know that's hard to stomach, but it just isn't. All that talk about being ready to compete and we just haven't seen it yet.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
How much of Auburn's problems are on Chizik? How much is on his coordinators and players? One Auburn player called out some teammates for not being "all in."
Edward Aschoff (1:01 PM)
I think everyone is to blame at this point. The right motivation isn't there. Players are being put in tough situations on both sides of the ball. Execution is awful and players just aren't buying in or giving 100 percent. I'm not saying every player isn't playing up to his potential, but too many aren't. This team is playing for pride at this point and it had to have the victory against Auburn. Nothing is working on the Plains right now.
I was in Knoxville when Dooley was hired. Seemed they hired him to weather the NCAA storm and ride out the sanctions, only to replace hiim once they were off suspension. Thoughts?
Edward Aschoff (1:03 PM)
I just think that everything he's been through is unfair for a coach. NCAA, bad attitudes and a ton of attrition. This is his best team, but it just can't close games out. It's tough in Knoxville. But I said this summer that Dooley deserved another year. Will he get it? I don't know. He has to get to 8 wins if you ask me. You just have to wonder if the team is still buying in at this point ...
Edward Aschoff (1:03 PM)
OK guys, that's my time. Great chat yet again. Take care and we'll talk again soon.