Chat with Edward Aschoff
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com's SEC reporter 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 (12:03 PM)
Greetings everyone! I guess I should stop picking against Georgia. Or maybe I should keep picking against them for the fans because I'm 1-2 against the Dawgs ...
Greg (Fayetteville, Ar)
Do you see Arkansas winning any games the next three weeks? Also how do they make up the schedule? I mean come on... A&M, Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama in four straight weeks!
Edward Aschoff (12:05 PM)
Hey, sometimes the schedule gods can be cruel in this league. It's going to be really tough for this team to pull off a win during the next three games, but I think the South Carolina game is the most winnable. I'm not sure Arkansas can move the ball against Florida, and that fan base is pretty fired up about Tyler Murphy. That's a night game in the Swamp ... South Carolina is at home and I think the Hogs can move the ball against South Carolina's defense. But can the defense slow down Mike Davis? I think we might have 600 total rushing yards in this game ...
Nice call on LSU's defense Ed. Do they pay you do this?
Edward Aschoff (12:07 PM)
Too much apparently. I even talked to a draft scout who told me not to buy into LSU's defense, especially the front seven. I should have listened. The Tigers just got outplayed and pushed around. The secondary has major issues. The defensive line didn't even show up. I don't see me picking against the Bulldogs anytime soon and I'm not as high on this LSU defense BUT that UGA offense is pretty darn good so we still have a long way to go.
Charles (St Louis Metroeast)
Hey Ed. Welcome to a new week! Mizzou is 4-0 and heading to Vandy this weekend. Right now the line has Vandy by 1. Last time they played each other Mizzou won by one with a decimated O-line, injured QB, and question marks for RB. They're all healthy at this point. That being the case, do you see the line for this game the same way or way off in Mizzou's favor?
Edward Aschoff (12:10 PM)
Actually, Vandy won 19-15 last year against Mizzou. I think Vandy has every right to be favored in this game because it's played a tougher schedule. I really like what Mizzou has done to this point, but you have to consider the competition too. We really don't know what to expect from the Tigers right now. But they are confident and healthy. That wasn't the case this far into the season last year.
Mike (Baton Rouge)
Ed,Whats with all the talk about the demise of SEC defenses? The idea that there is some culture shift in the SEC is ridiculous. These defenses don't look great, but look at how many SEC defenders went in the first two rounds of the draft. Also, AJ McCarron, Zach Mettenberger, Johnny Manziel, and Aaron Murray are all legitimate pro prospects. How good are these guys? Its the end of week 5 and each of their teams still control it's own destiny, within the conference and nationally. Once the veteran quarterbacks leave for the NFL and these young defenses have time to mature, we'll once again hear chatter from the national pundits that there is no offense down South.
Edward Aschoff (12:12 PM)
I actually agree with you about the offenses right now. The play at QB has been superb, but I think you'll see the defenses rebound next year. THink about how young UGA and A&M are on defense right now. Then think about the veteran QBs throwing the ball. Manziel and Mettenberger had their best games of their careers in losses this year. That's crazy. The defenses will be fine. This is one year where Florida must be kicking itself for not having an intimidating offense. Just look at THAT defense.
What a great saturday! Saw you at the game, and I told you Georgias D would hold up the run pretty good and that Zach was going to have a field day, and there were a lot of wide open recievers. If Georgia tightens up in the secondary do you believe theu become a good defense? And how about Harvey-Clemons and Lenord Floyd, they played great
Edward Aschoff (12:13 PM)
The Bulldogs have all the talent to be good on defense, but man is it bad right now. There were some big players here and there, but Mettenberger did almost anything he wanted to do against that unit. But does it matter right now? The Bulldogs proved they can win a shootout so it might not matter what that defense looks like. The rest of the schedule isn't daunting at all.
What's your thought on the Auburn/Mississippi
Edward Aschoff (12:16 PM)
I think it's crucial for both teams. If Ole Miss is going to improve on what it did last year, it has to win this game. Losing this after the way it lost to Alabama could be devastating for this team's thought process ... especially with A&M and LSU next on the schedule. For Auburn, this game could mean a lot in the bowl outlook for this team. Alabama, Arkansas, AM and Georgia all remain on the schedule. I think it's crucial for both teams as far as the rest of the season is concerned. Plus, it's a chance for both teams to make some strides on defense, especially stopping the run.
Ed, this has not been the season I was hoping for, but the one birght spot for Gamecock fans is the emergence of Mike Davis. He's a bad bad man. Would you put him as one of the top 3 backs in the league based on his performance through the first 4 games this season?
Edward Aschoff (12:19 PM)
I think you have to. I still think Todd Gurley is the nation's best running back but I'd put Davis right behind him and then it's tough between Alex Collins and T.J. Yeldon. We've seen more production from Collins, but I still think Yeldon is a special player. Right now, Davis is behind Gurley on my list. He leads the SEC in rushing yards per game (127), is second with 508 yards and is averaging 7.2 yards per carry. Wow.
Phillip (A stadium near you)
Edward, were you surprised that Ole Miss didn't score, was that great defense on Bama's part or did the coaching staff of Ole Moss need to take some FG shots to at least get on the board and try to change momentum?
Edward Aschoff (12:21 PM)
I was. I thought the Rebels would put more pressure on Alabama's defense, especially with that read option, but Alabama was more than prepared. Ole Miss had two weeks to get things right and didn't score any points. Bo Wallace gave Bama two points. You don't want to get into a game of fourth downs with Alabama and that's exactly what Ole Miss did. I'm always in favor of taking points ... even if I'm not a fan of kickers.
Frank (New Orleans)
Should Aaron Murray name be mention in Heisman talk?
Edward Aschoff (12:26 PM)
You know, he should. And I have to admit that I made a mistake when I put Teddy Bridgewater on my list instead of him this week. That was a major oversight on my part. Murray has been outstanding this year and people keep looking at that loss to Clemson. Now, people should be looking at his wins over South Carolina and LSU and the 1,338 yards and 11 touchdowns he has. Also, he has eight TDs and one INT in wins over South Carolina and LSU.
Joe Mathis (Vero Beach fl)
Is VH3 the best corner in the SEC or maybe even the nation
Edward Aschoff (12:29 PM)
He has three interceptions so far and is tremendous in coverage. When you talk to people at Florida, many think he might be the most talented defensive back on the team. Purifoy and Roberson could be first-rounders, but Hargreaves has a chance to be a top-10 pick in a few years. I don't want to jump the gun and say he's the best in the SEC or even the country, but he's tied for first in the SEC in interceptions (three) and passes defended (seven). He's second nationally in INTs and eighth in passes defended.
Is this new QB of Florida's legit? I mean how in the world didn't he beat out Driskel in the first place, or is it just a matter level of competition that is making him look so much better than Driskel. I am a dawg fan but I am more worried about UF now than when Driskel was the signal caller
Edward Aschoff (12:31 PM)
He has been solid since taking over for Driskel, but I think it's funny how fans are more excited about a QB putting up less stats than Driskel. He has been very good at managing the offense, and we know this is going to be a running team first and foremost, but there was a reason he sat behind five other guys during his career. There's a reason he was second string coming into the season. Let's see what he does down in Baton Rouge in a couple of weeks. I think they'll keep him protected against Arkansas this weekend.
Scratches (Bawlmer, MD)
Are there any SEC head or assistant coaches you think USC might be interested in stealing to replace Kiffin? Kirby Smart's name has been thrown around for several seasons as the next coordinator to become a head coach.
Edward Aschoff (12:33 PM)
If USC doesn't go after Kevin Sumlin, it's not doing its job. I think Sumlin has to be at the top of USC's list right now. Look what he's done with the Aggies and imagine who he could recruit to play at USC. The NFL and USC should be blowing his phone up right now ... or after the season.
Marilyn (San Antonio, TX)
Is the media world really as surprised as they seem that A&M was able to turn to a run game and succeed with Johnny in a small role? They have a great OL and deep arsenal of RB?s after all?
Edward Aschoff (12:34 PM)
I don't think anyone is surprised. I do think that this team still needs to find more consistency behind Mike Evans at WR. The running game was always going to be good and I like Manziel looking to pass more. It makes him that much more difficult to defend.
Edward, any possibility of a UGA letdown this weekend?
Edward Aschoff (12:35 PM)
It's the SEC. Upsets can happen at any time. Just look at 2004 when Georgia lost to Tennessee after beating LSU. Anything is possible, but I think Georgia's offense is just too good and Tennessee's defense is just too bad for the Dawgs not to come out on top. I think the Vols will score some points, but UGA will score A LOT of points.
Why are people so surprised about the Ole Miss shutout?
Edward Aschoff (12:36 PM)
Because Alabama's defense was struggling coming in. The secondary wasn't playing very well and Ole Miss was churning out yards and points. I didn't think Ole Miss would win and I even said that Alabama would prove why it's the best team in the country and that the defense would step up now that it was healthy. But I never saw a shutout. NOt with the way both teams were playing going into the game.
Zac Mettenberger's play this year has been astonishing. Do you think Cam Cameron was the best hire last offseason, and do you give more credit to the coach or the player for the big turnaround?
Edward Aschoff (12:37 PM)
I think it's a little bit of both, but Mettenberger showed signs of improvement late last year. He threw for 200-plus yards in every game in November after not throwing for 200 yards in consecutive games at any point in the season going in. He's just way more comfortable in the offense and it helps to have guys like Landry and OBJ snagging passes left and right. Also, that offensive line and running game have helped him open things up as well.
CWE (Dufnering in a town near you)
Hey Dash, are you heading down to AU this weekend to see the "home team?" you are from Oxford, yes? Also, was the LSU game the coming out party for Tre Mason? He looked stout with some good O line play.
Edward Aschoff (12:39 PM)
I won't be there, but I think Mason had his breakout year last season when he ran for 1,000 yards and averaged 5.9 yards per carry. He had a big game against LSU, but he just has to stay consistent with that. It'll come. I really like the way Mason plays
Casey (Fort Stewart, GA)
I wanna know what you think about Leonard Floyd's play so far and do you think he is a star in the making?
Edward Aschoff (12:40 PM)
He's been great and has looked like Georgia's best pass-rusher. Jordan Jenkins is getting double-teamed and it's freeing up Floyd. He made a huge play on that late sack and I love watching him play. He's only a freshman ... my goodness. Soon, who will you double-team?
What do you think is SC's problem this year? We were suppose to be pretty good, but we are struggling every game? How bad is Connor Shaw's loss to us?
Edward Aschoff (12:42 PM)
The defense. The linebackers are young and inexperienced, the secondary has holes and the defensive line isn't playing up to its potential. Jadeveon Clowney has more excuses than sacks and I'm still waiting for Quarles and Sutton to play consistently. Teams are gashing this defense late and that's not good. Keep an eye on that Arkansas game. Those guys can run ...
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Does Aaron Murray need to win the SEC title this year to fully validate his career, and silence his critics once and for all, given his record early on in big games? Or his performance through the first four weeks enough to finally put that to bed?
Edward Aschoff (12:45 PM)
I had this exact conversation after the game Saturday. People think about the past and think about his losing record against top 25 teams, which is fair, but when he goes 2-0 to South Carolina and LSU to start the year, we hear nothing. That Clemson loss sticks out more than his two wins. He's going to be the all-time leader in passing yards in the SEC soon and he'll probably take home the all-time touchdown mark too and total yards. If he wins the SEC, I think you'll see a different narrative. But if he loses it ... you'll hear the same old story and it's a sad truth. If Georgia had lost that game, people would still say he can't win the big game. He did nothing Saturday to lose the game for Georgia ...
You really think that it would be smart for Sumlin to take a USC job with them still being under the ncaa's thumb, not ranked in top 25, recruiting class not being ranked in the top 25 and being in a conference below the sec? That saying the fact that the aggies are in the top 10 ranking, have a top 10 recruiting class, and that he has this program stuck on fast forward success..
Edward Aschoff (12:45 PM)
I didn't say he should take it, I said USC would be crazy not to go after him.
Ed, When Roberson returns to the UF secondary, please tell me that the coaching staff will not take Hargreaves off the field. I know Purifoy has all this "special" talent (which doesn't seem to show up on Saturdays), but VH3 and Roberson have to be the guys don't they?? they play a lot of DBs, and will all be on the field at some point, but those two have to be on the field almost every play.
Edward Aschoff (12:47 PM)
Purifoy has played really well so far. Just because he doesn't make a lot of plays doesn't mean he isn't playing well. It's hard to make plays when the ball doesn't come to you a lot. He won't come off the field. They will just play three corners. They've done it before this season.
letsgoknights (tampa, fl)
which college QB that may come out in the draft do you see as the best pro quarterback prospect?
Edward Aschoff (12:48 PM)
I still think it's McCarron. He has the size, awareness and arm strength. I talked to some people this week who are much higher on Mettenberger and think Murray would be a quality backup but not a starter because of his size and lack of elite arm strength. I think McCarron can manage the game and make all the big throws.
Ed.....tell me why LSU should be ahead of OU in the AP poll. Quality wins? Where? Lose to a team that already has a loss? Coaches poll has it right.
Edward Aschoff (12:49 PM)
Believe it or not, LSU has a good loss. This is still a team that can contend in the SEC and Georgia is the best team in the SEC East right now. And with how well the SEC has done over the last seven years, it's going to get the benefit of the doubt for voters.
Ron da Hog (Springfield Mo)
Ed, After seeing my Hogs actually show up to a game this past saturday, do you think they could do well during a border war game against the northern Tigers (missouri)?
Edward Aschoff (12:51 PM)
If the running game continues to look like it has and Allen can play like he did Saturday, sure. Again, we don't know a ton about Mizzou right now. We'll find out more Saturday. As for Arkansas, the defense would have to get better because of how well the Tigers' offense is playing. Gotta clean some stuff up all around.
If todd gurley would have played the whole game saturday would he have had a career game? He had 70 yards in like 18 mins
Edward Aschoff (12:52 PM)
He was chugging along before he hurt his ankle. He makes that offense so much better, which is a scary thought. LSU did well in the second half against Keith Marshall, but he's a different back. I think Gurley would have really hurt that defense going forward.
Marilyn (San Antonio, TX)
Especially with A&M coming up in two weeks and having criticized their receivers, do you think Bo Wallace will wise-up, keep quiet and focus on the game from here on out?
Edward Aschoff (12:53 PM)
While I still think what he said was totally blown out of proportion and made into a bigger story than it should have been, I doubt we'll hear much from him going forward.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
I asked Ostendorf this, and am interested in your take, on why Spurrier hasn't been able to land the top notch quarterbacks he had at Florida and produce similar offensive production? The state of South Carolina is loaded with talent?
Edward Aschoff (12:55 PM)
I think Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson are solid players. They do what they need to do and the Gamecocks don't have to change much on offense when either is in the game. Freshman Connor Mitch is the future at the position and I'm sure this staff is excited about getting him out there.
Concerned Gamecock (Chicago)
Dash, do you think SC should consider replacing either Ward or some of the defensive assistants?
Edward Aschoff (12:57 PM)
I know people want to dump on coaches as soon as there is trouble, but look at the players on this team. The entire two-deep at linebacker is gone, the line isn't playing well and the secondary is younger. At some point you have to look at the players.
Ed, I'm with you on Purifoy being a good option (possibly great option, guy has all the talent in the world) but the instincts in coverage seems to be behind Hargreaves and Roberson. Those 3 could be the best 3 corners in the country. I guess my thoughts are put Hargreaves and Roberson on islands and free up Purifoy to roam and start making those big plays. This secondary could be the best around yeah?
Edward Aschoff (12:58 PM)
I agree that Hargreaves and Roberson are both better pure corners, but Purifoy is more physical and more athletic. Pro scouts love his potential.
William Ryan (Birmingham) [via mobile]
would you say that you are stubborn?
Edward Aschoff (12:59 PM)
Very. I'm a Capricorn. It's in my DNA. I have to be. My dad was a Capricorn and my mom referred to us as "billy goats" because we always butted heads. I love being stubborn
I know this is looking ahead but as of right now Florida's Defense against UGA offense...something has to give. What's your take?
Edward Aschoff (1:01 PM)
I think it'll be an ugly game. Georgia will have to be able to run the ball because this will be the best secondary the Bulldogs face this season. I honestly have no idea what would happen right now. If Dominique Easley were still around, I think he would give Florida a big advantage up front. With him gone, I need to see more from the guys behind him. Still, that pass rush could be the difference.
Scratches (Bawlmer, MD)
Is Clowney officially out of the Heisman race now? What about being the #1 overall draft pick?
Edward Aschoff (1:02 PM)
He's out of the Heisman race, but I don't know if he's still not the No. 1 pick. Is it just me, or is he bored with the college game? He's still a physical freak and NFL scouts know that. But does he have the right drive?
So a good loss trumps an undefeated team with a good win? Please take off your blue and gold SEC glasses and get real Ed.
Edward Aschoff (1:04 PM)
I guess you missed the rest of my answer where I said that the SEC's past has an influence on what people think when they vote. I don't vote in the AP poll so don't blame me. Also, a win over Notre Dame doesn't mean much these days. A three-point loss to a Georgia team that can score on just about everyone isn't a bad loss.
Why doesn't UF get the credit it deserves for its defense? easily top 3 in the country, maybe even the best. what do u think?
Edward Aschoff (1:04 PM)
Because of the offense and the loss of Easley. And I think people want to see what happens with the Gators face a quality SEC offense.
Edward Aschoff (1:04 PM)
OK guys, that's my time. Talk to you all next week!