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, everyone. Hope you had a good weekend. Let's get to some questions.
BigT (Gamecock Country)
What dose South Carolina need to do to win the East, I know win the rest of the SEC games.
Edward Aschoff (12:03 PM)
Make sure those defensive holes at linebacker and in the secondary close up. Also, that defensive line has to put more pressure on opposing backfields. That unit has underperformed so far in my eyes. Florida and Georgia also need to lose more.
Charles (St. Louis Metroeast)
There has been very little talk about Missouri Tigers this year after them being such a disappointment during their inaugural SEC season due to a plethora of injuries. What is your unbiased opinion of them now after their dismantling of the Hoosiers this past weekend?
Edward Aschoff (12:04 PM)
I know Indiana isn't a team that scares anyone, but that was a good road win for the Tigers. Like I said in the power rankings, this team had no excitement last year and now it has a real offense to work with. If Franklin can stay healthy, this team will have a chance against the big three. I want to see this defense against SEC offenses though, especially the defensive line.
T (Camp Lejuene)
i am a huge supporter of driskel but i wonder if he doesnt take enough chances on his recievers. the throw that murphy made to dunbar i dont think driskel would have even attempted it. thoughts?
Edward Aschoff (12:05 PM)
I do think that Driskel hesitated on some of his throws, especially deep ones. Still, I saw some improvements here and there. Nothing that told me he'd be great, but enough to know that he was learning. Sad to see a guy who worked so hard end his season like that.
Scott G (Tampa, FL)
Realistically, what do you think of the Gators chances moving forward with Murph behind center? Like everyone else watching the UF-Tennessee game, I was excited to see the spark he brought when his number was called. Do you think that will carry over into the heart of the Gators SEC schedule?
Edward Aschoff (12:07 PM)
I don't know if the offense will be anymore explosive with a quarterback in who never attempted any passes before Saturday. The running game has to produce more going forward against better defenses. Tennessee's defense isn't anything special. Life without Driskel won't be easy. He has gone through the SEC. Murphy hasn't. Those receivers have to step up.
Mike (Baton Rouge)
Ed, How good is this LSU squad? Everyone down here has been cautiously optimistic, but after seeing them tear up Auburn in the rain (stiff dew?) on Saturday night, they look like a team that can make some noise at the back end of the season. With Alabama looking mortal and A&M fielding a joke of a defense, can the Tigers make a title run (assuming they get by Georgia on Saturday?
Edward Aschoff (12:10 PM)
I really like this LSU team. I think the defense has to play more disciplined at times and I was surprised that the defense gave up more than 200 yards on the ground to Auburn. I really like this offense though. It has been in the 200/200 club rushing and passing all season. Jeremy HIll and Zach Mettenberger are getting it done and that's a scary thing for defenses. This weekend will tell us a ton about LSU's defense. It's gonna be a great one. I think this team can make major noise and if there's one team that could beat Alabama right now ...
Would Vanderbilt ever consider leaving the SEC for say the ACC? I doubt it due to the $$ involved, but I don't see Vandy ever being an upper echelon team against all those state schools with big money, but they seems like a much better fit in the ACC.
Edward Aschoff (12:12 PM)
Why? The SEC is more than just football and it' getting paaaaaid. Is Vandy going to have anymore success in the SEC if it can't tell players that they'll get to play in the SEC for four years and receive a fantastic education? Nope.
Mark (Jackson, MS)
What are your thoughts on the matchup between Ole Miss's defense and Alabama's offense?
Edward Aschoff (12:13 PM)
I really like what Ole Miss is doing on offense right now and I think that read option will make things difficult for an Alabama defense that has struggled to stop the pass the last two weeks. The read option really opens up the pass and when you have Moncrief, Treadwell and Sanders coming back, that could be rough for Alabama's corners. That defensive line has to bring a lot of pressure Saturday.
Any chance Kentucky can stay with the Gators this weekend?
Edward Aschoff (12:14 PM)
Force turnovers and figure out something on offense. Kentucky is void of legitimate playmakers right now. It could be an ugly game for both squads, but there are a lot of unknowns with Tyler Murphy running the offense. Kentucky has to bring pressure with that defensive line. That will go a long way.
ConcernedVolsFan (The Interwebs)
Should Vols fan be concerned about Coach Jone's game planning? Clearly, Petermen shouldn't have been in the game that long. And they didn't capitalize on the Gators mistakes. Also, should we be worried about the O-line coach Mahoney? Coach Pittman, last season, had them looking like one of the best O-lines on college football, and under the new O-line coach they have looked average, at best.
Edward Aschoff (12:18 PM)
I think the Vols just don't have the talent to consistently matchup with SEC talent right now. Granted, Florida might have the country's best defense, so that certainly played a role in the Vols' ugly offensive performance. Still, the quarterback situation is bad, there really isn't much of a running game and a lot of inexperience at receiver. The defense has too many holes as well. Things can get better, but I think it's more on the players than anything. Also, the offensive line didn't look great against Florida, but Florida has a very good pass rush and DLine in general.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
What do you think of Alabama TE OJ Howard's development? He's gotten more catches every game, and it looks like he's becoming one of McCarron's more popular targets.
Edward Aschoff (12:20 PM)
I really like him. He's a missmatch on the field because he's too fast for linebackers and too big for defensive backs. He's only going to get better. No way he's a true freshman, right?
James (Oxford, MS)
How much of a difference do you think it makes that the Ole Miss Alabama game is being played for a second straight year in Tuscaloosa instead of Oxford this year? Tuscaloosa is a place where Ole Miss has won just once. But hey, Ole Miss beat Alabama in 1988 on the weekend that the Paul W. Bryant Museum opened and it was Bear's 100th birthday earlier this month. Does history repeat itself?
Edward Aschoff (12:22 PM)
Well, I think it's a big deal because of that home field advantage. I also know that Hugh Freeze isn't too happy about that at all so that might be a motivating factor the Rebels. History could repeat itself, but that stadium is not to be messed with when it's an SEC game ... well, unless the Aggies or LSU is playing
Do you think UCF has a real shot at upsetting South Carolina at home?
Edward Aschoff (12:24 PM)
I had that as one of my upsets to watch before the season started. I certainly think that South Carolina has the superior talent all around, but that's a tricky road test. UCF is undefeated and is scoring more than 30 points a game. South Carolina can't take this team lightly.
Are LSU and UGA the most complete teams in the SEC right now?
Edward Aschoff (12:25 PM)
I think LSU is. UGA still has a lot of questions on defense. We saw improvement over the weekend, but North Texas isn't an SEC team.
Ray (Sunshine State)
Any word on Florida's secondary players being back for Kentucky? the scoring drive by Tennessee showed a weakness with missed assignments in the secondary for Florida with the starters out.
Edward Aschoff (12:27 PM)
Florida's secondary has a ton of depth and there was one drive where Cody Riggs blew an assignment. I think you're reading too much into that one. But Florida should be at full strength in the secondary Saturday. Brian Poole will have to sit out the first half of the game after getting flagged for targeting in the second half of the UT game.
bobbydylan379 [via mobile]
After your preseason top 10 safeties of the SEC list I contacted you with a grievance as I saw you left out Alabama safeties Vinnie Sunseri and Landon Collins. Has either or both cracked your top 10?
Edward Aschoff (12:30 PM)
I like what both guys have done so far. Sunseri has two pick-sixes while Collins has played pretty well in coverage and isn't afraid to mix it up in the box. I'd have Sunseri in there for sure. Might have both, but I'd have to think on it a little bit first.
Alex (Auburn, Al)
Thoughts on Auburn? Also I thought the comeback in the second half was a positive to take away from that game against LSU
Edward Aschoff (12:32 PM)
It was and I liked the running game against the other Tigers. I still want to see more from that defensive line. It has to generate more pressure on opposing offenses. Also, they have to cut down on the turnovers. Three against LSU just isn't going to get it done. But I have seem some development all around.
charles (St Louis Metroeast)
Ok. so I understand your skepticism when it comes to Mizzou regardless of the win this weekend. That being said, looking at the SEC East, where do you "really think" Missouri could end up ranked in the east by end of season (Crystal Ball time)?
Edward Aschoff (12:34 PM)
IF the offense looks remotely like it does now, I could see this team really challenging the Big 3. BUT it's still too early to tell. That's not a cop out though. Mizzou hasn't played any teams of real substance yet. Indiana was a good road win and I didn't think they'd win by that much but I think we have to wait until they play an SEC team.
I'm a dawg fan and I'm not to worried about lsu's run game, its the passing game that worries me. The way georgia plays that soft zone defense is going to help mettenburger pick appar t the D If we don't get some ptessure. Thoughts?
Edward Aschoff (12:35 PM)
Worry about that running game. Georgia's defensive line is still trying to develop and LSU has a great OLine. Oh and it also has a very good group of running backs. WOrry about that entire offensive in general.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Is the NCAA opening and investigation as to how Rutgers stole that game on Saturday?
Edward Aschoff (12:37 PM)
That was a rough loss for the Hogs. You can't go on the road and blow a 24-7 lead late in the third. Going into that game I said that Rutgers' defense would make plays late and it stopped the running game. If Arkansas can't run, I don't think it can pass, especially with Brandon Allen out. The defense really struggled against that passing game late too. Rough outing.
Was Bama's bad play this week a result of so many young faces getting playing time?
Edward Aschoff (12:38 PM)
I think people are overrating to Alabama's play. When has Saban tried to run things up against an old assistant or any cupcake in general? I wouldn't put too much stock into that game. Yes, there was some sloppy play, but I'd wait until Alabama gets back into conference play.
Lee (San Antonio)
Hey Kid, seems like nobody believes in UGA yet, even with the SC win. What kind of buzz can they get if they take care of a hot LSU team this week?
Edward Aschoff (12:42 PM)
If Georgia beats LSU, I think it's Georgia's East to lose. That is going to be the most physical team it plays outside of Florida, and even then we don't really know what to expect from Florida's offense. I want to see how his offense performs against a big-time defense like LSU's. We are waiting for this defense to stop a good offense and it will get its chance Saturday.
Casey (Fort Stewart, GA)
How exciting is it going to be to watch Murray and Mettenberger go toe to toe against one another?
Edward Aschoff (12:43 PM)
I think it's going to be really fun. Remember, some thought Mettenberger would be the guy over Murray at one point. I think this is going to be a very, very good QB matchup. Plus, both have pretty talented WRs to throw to.
Mark (Washington, DC)
Any chance Dan Mullen sticks with Prescott when Russell is fully cleared? Any hope for a bowl?
Edward Aschoff (12:47 PM)
It's hard not to right now. Prescott is really running the offense well and has been a monster to stop. He played well in the loss to Auburn. He certainly fits a spread offense better because of his ability to run. I think you have to go with the hot hand right now. As for a bowl, there are certainly two more games in which the Bulldogs will certainly be favored in (Bowling Green and Kentucky), then there's Arkansas (toss up). The rest is brutal. It's gonna be tough after losing that Auburn game.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
What's your take on Landon Collins? He's made a few good plays on defense, but his special teams play has been incredible so far. Do you think his mom realizes she was wrong when she wanted him to go to LSU?
Edward Aschoff (12:49 PM)
I think he's played really well. I like him in coverage and he isn't afraid to play in the box. I like that in my safeties. As for his mom, I never argued with my mom so I'm not going to argue with his.
Lee (San Antonio)
So SC is not a "big time defense- which UGA put up 530+ yds against? I dont worry about the Offense. Its the defense that scares me. We havent't stopped a power running team since Granthams first year. That's the only way LSU slows Murray and O down - play ground and pound keep away. Agree?
Edward Aschoff (12:50 PM)
South Carolina isn't a big-time defense this year. Come on. I was wrong about South Carolina's defense this year. It can get better but I thought it would play much better in that game. I think LSU's offense can throw and run on this defense because of the weapons it has. But I also think UGA can do the same. This will come down to which defense can make the stop late.
Mike (Baton Rouge)
How much of the LSu defense's performance can be attributed to the weather and being up 21-0 in the 2nd quarter? My natural inclination is to make excuses, but these defensive lapses won't get it done against the premier offenses in the conference.
Edward Aschoff (12:52 PM)
They won't. The discipline has to get better going forward. The athletes are certainly there though.
Lil Wayne (Atlanta, GA)
Why are people saying LSU dominated Auburn? If you look at the stats the numbers are almost identical. You say LSU was in the 200/200 club well so was Auburn. People mention Hills 154 yrds rushing well Mason had 132 yards of his own. The leading receiver of the game was on the Auburn sideline. Difference in the game was the 14 points off turnovers. Despite all that Auburn was still in the game until that questionable onside kick call. End if the day a loss is a loss but dominated? Numbers say otherwise.
Edward Aschoff (12:53 PM)
I didn't say LSU dominated. I said I was surprised at how well Auburn ran the ball and I mentioned that turnovers by Auburn weren't going to get it done.
I know anything is possible, but is it realistic that Butch Jones can put Tennessee in a position to "upset" a Georgia, South Carolina, or the like? Or, can they even expect to have a winning season next year?
Edward Aschoff (12:56 PM)
Listen, this is the SEC. Anything can and will happen. Right now, there is a talent deficiency in Knoxville. It looks like that is changing with the recruiting class Jones has, but the talent has to get better before the record can. As for this season, it's all about growth mentally from here on out. Experience will help, but this team has to stay together now.
Concerned Gamecock (Chicago)
Ed, I'm worried that my Gamecocks need a banner year or else their recruiting woes of late will continue to worsen and they will slip back into mediocrity. Convince me I'm wrong...pleeeease!
Edward Aschoff (12:57 PM)
As long as Spurrier is there, this team won't be mediocre. No way. He'll still recruit and his staff will still develop guys. Now, he has to consistently compete with Florida and Georgia more. It's not going to be easy, but he's done it so far. South Carolina has a much bigger name these days and we all know how much that helps in recruiting. Oh, and the Gamecocks are also winning!
Do you believe Hugh Freeze's spread offense and the mixture of mobility at the QB position (Wallace and Brunetti) will make life difficult for the Bama defense? Saban has had issues with mobile QBs in the past.
Edward Aschoff (12:59 PM)
Yes. I think that the entire offense will give Alabama fits here and there. I really like what the Rebels are doing offensively right now. Alabama's front seven is in for some real fun on Saturday.
LWgator (Lake Worth, FL)
Pre-season speculations by the media and coaches really challenged the Gators receiving corps. Do you think the recent success of Patton and Dunbar indicates that the group is heading in the right direction?
Edward Aschoff (1:00 PM)
Those guys are getting better but this team needs Demarcus Robinson to turn things up (and not get suspended). It needs those freshmen to grow up. It needs a tight end who can catch. Trey Burton has done well to, but the Gators need more.
Sally (Tampa, FL)
Why isn't Aaron Murray being at least talked about for the Heisman? He has had a fantastic year so far. I think he should at least be mentioned? What do you think?
Edward Aschoff (1:01 PM)
If he beats LSU I think he will be. That loss to Clemson is hanging on him. I know he beat South Carolina, but a win over LSU will throw him into the mix. Well, if he has a big game.
Edward Aschoff (1:02 PM)
OK guys, that's my time. Get ready for a good weekend of football!