Chat with Greg Ostendorf
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's SEC blogger Greg Ostendorf will stop by to talk some college football.
Ostendorf joined ESPN.com in 2012 covering the Southeast Conference and Alabama football for TideNation.
Send your questions now and join Ostendorf Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Greg Ostendorf (1:01 PM)
Hey all, welcome to the chat. I'm filling in for Chris Low today, so send me all of your SEC questions.
opp al [via mobile]
HOW DOES TIDE KEEP MANZIEL IN POCKET AND PREVENT HIM FROM SCRAMBLING
Greg Ostendorf (1:02 PM)
It's not easy. Alabama found that out last year. The Tide used C.J. Mosley to try and spy Manziel, but that was a tall task, even for the All-American LB. Expect more of the same, but don't be surprised if Alabama tries blitzing more, too.
do you think gators can make it to the bcs national championship this year, with their loaded defense
Greg Ostendorf (1:05 PM)
It all depends on the offense. Quarterback Jeff Driskel is going to have to take the next step this year, and they need a healthy Matt Jones at running back. Games on the road at LSU and South Carolina won't make it any easier.
Was The VTech game the best possible outcome for the Tide? Easy win. Ran a very vanilla offense as to not show TAMU much, d-line got good push all game and secondary was amazing to boost their confidence before facing JF and the o-line faced a great defense so CNS can coach them up all week while the Aggies D is nowhere near as good?
Greg Ostendorf (1:08 PM)
I agree with most of that. I think the struggles of the offense were troublesome, in particular the offensive line. Also, Logan Thomas is no Johnny Manziel. Alabama will have its hands full with the A&M quarterback. The most important thing was that nobody got hurt. The Tide will also welcome back Geno Smith from his suspension.
Do you think bamas offense will wake up aganist Texas a&m?
Greg Ostendorf (1:11 PM)
They're going to have to. It starts up front with the line, but an extra two weeks of practice will help with the chemistry. I wouldn't worry too much about the Alabama offense, too many playmakers.
Tiger man (AR)
Mizzou not getting a lot of print or coverage. What's your take
Greg Ostendorf (1:13 PM)
I'm not sure what to make of Missouri yet. I don't know that they're a bowl team, but I'm intrigued with the return of James Franklin at quarterback and Henry Josey at running back. We'll know more after a trip to Bloomington in two weeks.
It was very obvious in the VT game that the Freshman RBs at Alabama have a lot to learn about pass protection. How does this effect the depth chart?
Greg Ostendorf (1:15 PM)
If the freshman RBs want to play, they're going to need to learn pass pro. That's what separated T.J. Yeldon a year ago, and Saban won't put up with anything less.
Is UF vs UM bigger for Gators or Canes?
Greg Ostendorf (1:16 PM)
That's tough. I think it's bigger for Florida because of the high expectations this year, but Miami has more to gain. If the Hurricanes win, that's a statement victory. It could be a catalyst for their season.
What did we really learn about TAMU from the Rice game? TAMU Defense had too many suspensions to take the 31 points seriously. Rice defense giving up 50+ isn't a story either.
Greg Ostendorf (1:19 PM)
We didn't learn much. Like you said, the defense wasn't at full strength, and Manziel sat out the first half. The bigger storyline from the game was with Manziel and Sumlin. They're going to have to get that worked out going forward.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Bama snatched Cameron Robinson out of Louisiana. Will the Tide be able to the same with Fournette?
Greg Ostendorf (1:20 PM)
My gut says no right now. I think if Fournette had to pick today, it would be LSU. But that could change by the end of the season.
Phillip (A stadium near you)
Greg, who has the most important game this week and why is this the case?
Greg Ostendorf (1:22 PM)
I think it's either Georgia or South Carolina. For Georgia, they can't start 0-2. With such high expectations for this season, it would be devastating. On the flip side -- for South Carolina, it could catapult them into the BCS title talk. Spurrier hasn't gotten over that hump yet with the Gamecocks, but this could be the year.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Will Clowney's performance against UNC finally put a rest to the Heisman discussion, and allow him to just play without having to think think, or talk about it. If Ndamukong Suh didn't win the Heisman after his dominant season, no way Clowney does. Plus, Jadaveon lacks Suh's consistent motor.
Greg Ostendorf (1:24 PM)
I agree that it would be nearly impossible for Clowney to win the Heisman, but if he has a monster game against Georgia this weekend, his name goes right back in the mix.
Why is Arkansas getting very little pub? We beat a good football team handily (that had Florida beat last year)and have a good coach. This is a much better team than most realize. Yet, I have looked at ESPN articles online with no mention of Arkansas.
Greg Ostendorf (1:26 PM)
Arkansas was one of the more impressive SEC teams from week one. I think people, me included, thought it would take longer for Bielema to implement his system and there were questions of if it would work in the SEC. We'll find out Sept. 28 when the Hogs open the conference slate at home against Texas A&M.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Johnson and Ferguson will be more dominant than their predecessors in Baton Rouge?
Greg Ostendorf (1:32 PM)
I love Anthony Johnson. I think he's a dynamic player inside. It's hard to match LSU's line from a year ago, but I think he and Ferguson make a pretty intimidating tandem inside. Everybody was worried about LSU's defense losing so many players. They always have talented players just waiting their turn.
Mark (South Carolina)
Whats your prediction for the Georgia-South Carolina game this weekend?
Greg Ostendorf (1:34 PM)
I like Georgia at home. I know the defense had fits with Clemson's offense and the offensive line looked suspect in the opener, but I just like the Bulldogs to bounce back. If South Carolina wins, it could be a special season, though.
UGa is 0-6 against ranked teams in September since 2008 and the only "quality" victory in the last 4 years was 2012 Florida (which was nothing but ugly). Why the Hype for Clemson after the win? It was completely expected.
Greg Ostendorf (1:35 PM)
I think it's still rare for the ACC to beat the SEC. I think people expected Georgia to dominate physically, but that wasn't the case. Clemson is legit this year.
Keenan (Atlanta, GA)
Is Saturday's game the biggest of Aaron Murray's career? Both for his lindividual legacy and for the team goal of winning a title?
Greg Ostendorf (1:37 PM)
The biggest game was last year's SEC championship against Alabama. Murray played well, but came up short. I don't think a win against South Carolina on Saturday makes up for that, but it's a must-win if Georgia has any thoughts of winning a national championship.
Clayton (Houston, TX)
As an Aggie, I am excited for the Alabama game, but I am more excited that we don't have to tackle Eddie Lacy. Is Yeldon or Lacy better? It seems to me that Lacy is way more dominant.
Greg Ostendorf (1:39 PM)
Lacy is harder to bring down, but I think Yeldon is the more complete back. He's good in pass protection. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. And he's a phenomenal runner. I expect him to have a better game against Texas A&M.
Chip (Nashville, TN)
The TENN vs WKU game this weekend is lining up to be a much better game than originally anticipated with many picking WKU for the upset win. With the blowout win over Austin Peay last weekend using a plain vanilla game plan, I think TENN comes out with the guns loaded to shutdown critics and blows WKU out of the water this weekend, what are your thought about the game?
Greg Ostendorf (1:41 PM)
Let's not get too excited. It was Austin Peay. I like what Butch Jones is doing on the recruiting trail, but I just don't know if he has the players this year. The same can be said for Bobby Petrino at WKU, but he did knock off Kentucky last week. I still say Tennessee, but it will be close.
The parachute pants have been coming out of the closets down here in the sunshine state this entire week, look out bc the U is back, lol. Greg how do my Gators put the parachute pants back in the closets this Saturday?
Greg Ostendorf (1:44 PM)
Slow down Duke Johnson. Ultimately, I think Miami is going to score, so Florida needs Matt Jones to be healthy and for Driskel to have a solid game. Turnovers will also be key, so the Gators have to protect the football.
Do you think Oregons spread offense will work in the SEC?
Greg Ostendorf (1:46 PM)
Will work? I didn't know they were coming to the SEC. But no, I think Oregon would have success in the SEC. Would they win every game and be in the BCS title hunt every year? That's a different story.
Mark (South Carolina)
After seeing the Clemson D-Line blow past Georgia's O-Line many, many times...do you think SC's defense will use lots of different blitz packages to pressure Murray all night?
Greg Ostendorf (1:47 PM)
If South Carolina can get pressure from the front four, specifically Clowney, they won't have to blitz. But I do expect the defensive coordinator to dial up some blitzes in key situations. They just can't get burnt when they do.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Greg, Murray always comes up short, that's his problem. But if he doesn't win Saturday,then isn't his chance for redemption in Atlanta lost? And the choker label etched in stone?
Greg Ostendorf (1:49 PM)
Not yet, especially coming off the Clemson loss. Don't get me wrong, Murray's a great quarterback. The choke label is a little much, but the only way he redeems himself is by getting another shot at the SEC championship game.
The thing that I think the media is missing is the fact that Chaney and Pittman run the offense for Arkansas. It was stated by Bielema when he was hired that he thought the offense he ran at Wisconsin would NOT work in the SEC. Thats when he hired Chaney. The guy who once threw the ball 83 times in one game. Now, with that being said we will run the ball quite a bit. Probably a good bit more than we pass but we can and will throw the football. The media just assumes he will run the same system he did at Wisconsin. I guess no one listened to his Press Conference when he was hired.
Greg Ostendorf (1:51 PM)
I think the big question mark in the passing game is Brandon Allen. He looks better this year, but we all remember what happened last year when he had to step in against Alabama.
any indication on whether or not Kenyan Drake will be able to move into the rotation next week?
Greg Ostendorf (1:54 PM)
It wouldn't shock me. I think he's one of the more talented RBs on Alabama, and it's going to be hard to keep him off the field. With that said, they do have a lot of good young backs coming up.
Give me a score for my Gator game....please.
Greg Ostendorf (1:55 PM)
Florida 28, Miami 24. I think the Hurricanes score a late TD to cut the lead to four, but Florida wins.
Why is the SEC more physical than other conferences?
Greg Ostendorf (1:57 PM)
That comes from recruiting. Top to bottom, the SEC has outrecruited the other conferences in recent years. They're getting bigger, more physical players. Just look at Alabama's offensive line class this year.
Hey Guys! If Georgia loses to SC, how warm does the seat get for Richt?
Greg Ostendorf (1:59 PM)
He bought himself some extra time with last year's run, but Kirby Smart won't be at Alabama forever.
In 2010 Tennessee dominated UT-Martin in the opener 50-0, then went on to a stellar 6-7 season. So isn't it fair to say that Openers against terrible competition (Missouri vs Murray St, Arkansas vs Lafayette, TAMU vs Rice, etc) are only meaning full if the "home team" looks bad?
Greg Ostendorf (2:01 PM)
Even if the home team looks bad, you can make the case that they weren't up for the game. Openers against terrible opponents really do nothing more than add a win (in most cases) to your record. It's not a great indication of how good/bad a team is.
Greg Ostendorf (2:01 PM)
That's all I got time for this week. Thanks for stopping by. Chris should be back next week to answer your questions.