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 (12:04 PM)
Greetings everyone. Hope you enjoyed your Super Bowl parties because last night was soooo boring. Even bad commercials. It's best two out of three, right? Let's get to the questions.
Andy (South Carolina)
Any comments on the Kentucky class?
Edward Aschoff (12:08 PM)
I think Mark Stoops has done an excellent job with his first true class in Lexington. He has six ESPN 300 members and just got DT Matt Elam to commit to the Wildcats over Alabama. He had to hit this class hard and he did. This is exactly what he needs to attempt a rebound at Kentucky. DE Denzel Ware picked the Cats over FSU. QB Drew Barker could compete for playing time immediately. Now it's all about developing these guys when they get on campus.
Johnny (South Carolina)
Ed! How was your weekend? Your thoughts on South Carolina recruiting? Not really the caliber of players, but the coaches coaching them up. What do you think about South Carolina getting 3 and 4 star players and turning them into 5 star caliber players?
Edward Aschoff (12:12 PM)
I don't think Steve Spurrier has ever really cared about stars. He and his coaches have done a great job developing players for a long, long time. Right now, the Gamecocks have seven ESPN 300 guys and I think a few could make immediate impacts, including DE Dante Sawyer. For South Carolina to be competitive, the Gamecocks have to get those top guys here and there, and they will as long as Spurrier is there. I think this class is solid and fills some big needs.
Matt McLendon from Douglasville GA [via mobile]
Who do you think will have the biggest turnaround, good or bad, this season.
Edward Aschoff (12:16 PM)
I think Florida has a chance to make a big turnaround in a good way. I know, I know: believe it when I see it. But I think that you'll see a lot more from the offense with Kurt Roper bringing in the spread. I think Jeff Driskel will be much better in that offense and I think the defense will continue to be elite. The Gators have to find an identity on offense and have to be tougher. Plus, I don't see the injury bug creeping its ugly head like it did last year. The schedule is tough but I think the Gators will be much better than 4-8.
JDK (Nashville TN)
How much of a hit do you think the Commodores under new head coach Mason will take? Still good enough for a bowl trip this year?
Edward Aschoff (12:19 PM)
Honestly, it's tough to say, but I think this team does take a hit overall. There is a lot of talent coming back, but will this team have the same intensity and mindset? Will it have that edge that James Franklin brought? I don't know. I think we'll know more this spring when the coaches and players get to interact more.
Boone chackalacka (Tookiedoo, SC)
If Connor Shaw has a good showing at the combine and SC's pro day, what round would you see him going in the draft?
Edward Aschoff (12:19 PM)
I still think he's at best a late-round pick, regardless. I could see six or seven because of his arm. Has the intangibles, but doesn't have an elite arm.
Mike (Sunny Scottsdale)
Hey Ed, What do you think of Tennessee's chance at a winning season for this upcoming year? They have a great recruiting class, but they will all be true freshmen. And Tennessee has to play at Oklahoma, and Utah State isn't going to be an easy win.
Edward Aschoff (12:22 PM)
If this team buys in again, then I could see it. When you look at the schedule you see six games where you absolutely say the Vols can win. It doesn't mean they will, but you see six games where the Vols can get a W. Now, can they go on the road and beat OU? I don't think so. Can they finally beat Florida? It's certainly possible and it's at home. The offense has to get going, starting with the quarterback spot and the running game can't fall off.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
Do you think there's any chance Alabama can flip recent Kentucky commit DT Matt Elam?
Edward Aschoff (12:23 PM)
If he hasn't signed on the dotted line ... it's never, ever, ever, ever over ...
Is there a chance that the NCAA will waive the rule that says teams have to play everyone in their division? If so, then could that be a reason why the SEC hasn't yet switched to a 9 game conference schedule?
Edward Aschoff (12:26 PM)
No. There would be no point in divisions if you had that rule. I think the NCAA should scrap the idea of having divisions in order to have a conference championship game. If you do that and just have a conference, teams can play their traditional rivals from either side. Then no one is complaining and you can play eight or nine and rotate however you want so that players can play every team in the league in four years.
Bacon Grease (NOLA)
Can Mississippi State challenge in the West this year?
Edward Aschoff (12:29 PM)
The Bulldogs have the talent coming back on both sides to annoy folks in the West. Dak Prescott could really break out and he has his top five receiving targets coming back. There are options at RB and I think the defense will be very good. Don't sleep on them ...
Good Day Sir,Do you think Coker can be the next McCarron for Saban and Bama? How far do you see them going next season and please tell me they can be Auburn!!? Do they have a replacement for C.J. on the Defensive side? Thanks!!
Edward Aschoff (12:38 PM)
So Auburn wants to be Alabama now?? My how things change :) I think there's a lot of pressure on him. He was right behind Winston until the end of fall and his QB coach just went on and on about his arm strength. He hasn't done anything, but when does that matter anymore? He has the arm to do it, but does he have the mindset and the intangibles? We don't know. He certainly has the talent around him that will help.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Name a freshmen, not named Fournette, who will be a major contributor, and have significant impact next season in the SEC?
Edward Aschoff (12:40 PM)
Da'Shawn Hand at Alabama. He's the playmaker up front that Alabama needs in its front seven. I think he comes in and makes a big impact because Alabama needs it.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Will the hiring of Jeremy Pruitt help the Bulldogs keep more top talent in state and compete head to head against Nick Saban and the Tide on the recruiting trail?
Edward Aschoff (12:42 PM)
Like all new hires, you have to wait and see how things work out on the field. He's a great recruiter and he knows this part of the country well (I mean he was already at Alabama) so that will certainly help. But as far as making a big leap, it's going to come down to field production more than anything.
Christian (Hattiesburg, MS)
Who is LSU's starting QB? Rivers, Jennings, Retig, or Harris?
Edward Aschoff (12:45 PM)
I think this is going to be one of the more fun battles to watch. People are excited about incoming freshman Brandon Harris, and it doesn't hurt that he's already on campus. Jennings was thrown into the fire before anyone thought he would. It would be silly to base his future on his two performances in 2013. I think Hayden Rettig and Stephen Rivers will have chances to win the starting job as well. The fact of the matter is that no one has a ton of experience, so they really are starting at the same point for the most part.
How limited by talent do you feel Tennessee's coaches where last year, particularly on offense? Was the lack of creativity in play calling due to the lack of talent?
Edward Aschoff (12:47 PM)
I think it had to do with talent and comfort. I'm not sure everyone was totally comfortable with what was going on, and that's natural with a new staff. Also, the quarterback position was never steady. That has to change in order for Tennessee to make improvements on offense.
What's considered a "successful" season for A&M? I feel like the program is about a year away at least considering new QB and WR turnover, but what number keeps recruiting rolling?
Edward Aschoff (12:51 PM)
With a new QB and a tough SEC West to get through, I think eight wins would be a success for this team. Opening with South Carolina certainly won't be easy. It's also on the road. There are four wins out there in nonconference play. Four wins in the SEC are also on the table, so I think that would be a good year for Sumlin and his Aggies. I also think this team can surpass that. If the defense can improve and generate some big plays, the Aggies could get back to double digits.
Jon (Atlanta / GA)
How much longer do you think the SEC west will dominate over the SEC east?
Edward Aschoff (12:54 PM)
I certainly think it will continue this year. You have six teams that could make bowls right now from the West, while you just don't know in the East, especially with James Franklin out at Vandy. Alabama and LSU aren't going anywhere, and Auburn should be just fine. Ole Miss is also a team that could be a dark horse national title contender ... I think the West has a couple of years on the East, but Florida won't be bad for long. Georgia is still Georgia and as long as Spurrier is at South Carolina, the Gamecocks are legit.
King (DC) [via mobile]
Who do you see having the best offense next year? Will the trend continue of the offenses being more dominant than the defenses? Heck just look at the o lines at USC and Bama and running backs throughout the league.
Edward Aschoff (12:56 PM)
I think Alabama will have a pretty good offense, as will Auburn, of course. But I think Georgia and Missouri could have two of the most balanced and explosive offenses in the league. I should also add that I think Missouri has a chance to continue to be special in the East if new leaders can step up. I forgot to add them to my last answer. Anyway, I don't think you'll see the same sort of production out of offenses this year. So many starting quarterbacks are gone. I think you'll see the defenses get back to their old ways in 2014.
Ed, either you are the slowest replier / typer in the world or your network is the slowest....you do know you only have an hour right?
Edward Aschoff (12:57 PM)
Sifting through recruiting questions. I'm no longer an expert when it comes to recruiting, so I'm staying away from those for the most part.
Besides the obvious of finding playmakers. What does Florida have to do during the spring to have a big year. Also what do you think of Florida's 2014 recruiting cycle? Especially with the horrible season they had?
Edward Aschoff (12:59 PM)
Get that offensive line in order, buy in and get tougher. That's what the Gators need to do first and for most. Guys aren't going to turn into superstars just like that. This team needs to buckle up and just get back to work. The injuries are gone for the most part, so this team has to buy into what the coaches are selling even more. Also, the offense has to get that new spread offense down. I think that will really help Driskel out.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think all the young talent Kevin Sumlin has brought to College Station on the defensive side of the ball will step up and stop someone next year for the Aggies?
Edward Aschoff (1:02 PM)
Yes and I think that having a lot of guys back from last year's defense will help as well. Remember, a lot of those guys didn't have a lot of experience going into the season. Keep an eye on DE Myles Garrett. He's the No. 1 defensive end in the country and he should be an immediate help for the Aggies.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
What's for lunch?
Edward Aschoff (1:03 PM)
Andouille sausage tacos with red cabbage slaw. Good chat guys. Have a good week and good luck to your teams on signing day. Try not to get up too early.