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 (12:02 PM)
Greetings everyone! Happy MLK Day! Remember to "Keep moving forward." Let's talk some SEC football.
What early draft entrant is making you scratch your head and wonder what they are thinking?
Edward Aschoff (12:05 PM)
It has to be Vinnie Sunseri. I just don't think the Alabama safety is ready for the next level. He suffered that season-ending knee injury and I think still needs a lot of help when it comes to coverage. That's the weakest part of his game, in my opinion. I'm not sure who advised him to go to the NFL, but I was really surprised by it. I think he still has a lot of room to improve and could help a secondary missing a lot next year.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What High School Football Players are you Looking Forward Seeing in the SEC?
Edward Aschoff (12:08 PM)
I hate to put pressure on Leonard Fournette, but I'm really excited about watching him at LSU. He has the potential to be a real star in this league with his combination of speed, size and strength. He's exactly what LSU needs after losing Jeremy Hill. Alabama DE Da'Shawn Hand and Texas A&M athlete Speedy Noil should be pretty fun to watch too. Here's to them hopefully living up to the hype.
Thoughts on Derek Mason's introduction? Seeing a bump in the recruiting class?
Edward Aschoff (12:13 PM)
I think he's a quality hire for the Commodores. He certainly has the credibility that Vanderbilt was looking for in its hire and should definitely bring a spark back to recruiting for this program. Will he get everyone back in this class? No, because he wants guys who are invested in the program, not James Franklin. He's making sure that people know that this is his program now. I think he's an excellent hire.
Dan (Dallas, TX)
What two teams from the SEC do you see in the playoff next year?
Edward Aschoff (12:15 PM)
That's a tough one since it's so early and I don't think the SEC will have two teams in the playoff next year. I think there are way too many questions in the SEC for that to happen. Is there a dominant team in the conference right now? No. I think Auburn is the favorite because of the talent coming back, but I don't see the Tigers going undefeated. I don't see anyone in the SEC going undefeated. I'd be shocked if the SEC champ didn't have two losses. I think Georgia is the slight favorite over Mizzou in the East right now, but it wouldn't shock me to see South Carolina or Florida take that division. Florida could make a big turnaround in 2014 if that offense gets going.
Should Gator fans be seriously concerned with Muschamp's ability to recruit offensive talent? After recently losing Cook and Lane, Florida's class looks weak in terms of play-makers.
Edward Aschoff (12:17 PM)
I think losing Cook and Lane were big, but it looks like Florida is making a charge at some solid offensive guys. Getting Brandon Powell to switch from Miami and enroll early was big. He can be a RB and slot guy and a return guy for the Gators. Will Grier at QB is big and he'll learn a lot in his first year. But Florida has to get another big WR, in my opinion. The good news is that there is good depth at WR from last year's class, but those guys have to take major steps going forward.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
Do you think Vinnie Sunseri is making the right decision to enter the draft? He played half of the season before he was injured, and he could improve a lot by staying another year. And when do you think he will be picked in the draft?
Edward Aschoff (12:18 PM)
Like I said earlier, I'm really surprised by it. I think he needed another year and I think he needs to improve his coverage ability. If he gets drafted I think it will be late.
Dan (Dallas, TX)
Do you see Auburn's offense producing even more next year with the addition of a passing game to go along with a brutal running game?
Edward Aschoff (12:25 PM)
I think you'll see more out of the passing game going forward. Nick Marshall will be better and I think you'll see him get more comfortable with intermediate passes with his WRs. Ricardo Louis should be even more involved, as will Sammie Coates. The running game should be interesting to watch without Tre Mason. Are Corey Grant and Cameron Artis-Payne ready for the extra workload? Can freshman Racean Thomas make an immediate splash? There is talent there for sure, but it comes down development. Personally, I think the defense will be fine next year, especially with another offseason to work with Malzahn.
You're such a homer... FL has no QB or WRs. Driskell is terrible. And where has that great D gotten them the last 2 seasons? UGA, Mizzou and SC are waaay ahead of the Gators looking at next year.
Edward Aschoff (12:27 PM)
All I said was that if the offense could get going Florida could be dangerous. And that defense has been one of the best statistical defenses in the country the last two years. It also can't be blamed as much when the offense can't stay on the field long enough for it to catch its breath. I think that if Florida can get some consistency on offense it has a chance to rebound in the East. No question.
Jeff H (Huntsville, AL)
Edward, I saw you answer a question earlier about what two teams from the SEC will be in the playoffs. I was wondering why you did not mention Alabama is your response. Do you think it is going to be too tough for Bama to replace guys like McCarron and Mosely even though we have won National Championships with new quarter backs before.
Edward Aschoff (12:29 PM)
I wasn't slighting Alabama at all. I do think it's going to be tough to duplicate their success early with a new quarterback and some big replacements on defense. Running the ball shouldn't be a problem and having Cooper, Black and White back will help whichever quarterback is in. Alabama will definitely be in contention for the SEC West title. No doubt about it, but I don't think it's as cut and dry for the Tide next year ... or anyone in the SEC.
What SEC team do you see having potentially the biggest dropoff from 2013 to 2014 and why?
Edward Aschoff (12:32 PM)
I think the Aggies, South Carolina, Missouri, Vanderbilt and LSU could all hit snags in 2014 because of who they lost. Clearly, replacing Johnny Manziel won't be easy, but the good news for the Aggies is that they have a lot returning on offense and that defense has to get better, right? South Carolina and Missouri lose a lot on defense, Vandy lost its head coach and its best player and Jordan Matthews, along with some talented defenders, especially in the secondary. LSU lost a slew of juniors and Zach Mettenberger. Lot of youth coming back and inexperience at QB is a concern.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
Not SEC related, but I gotta ask. How awesome was Richard Sherman's on-field interview after tipping the game winning INT?
Edward Aschoff (12:33 PM)
I loved it because it was entertaining. I'd love to get an interview like that. I don't think he did anything wrong. Athletes aren't robots. I'm glad he can actually be human with his responses. It's refreshing. I get so tired of coach speak. It's awful.
Fred Fischer (west palm beach area)
What are your expectations for the Gators this upcoming year...Will they bounce back and compete for a shot to get to the SEC championshipo game?
Edward Aschoff (12:36 PM)
I think the big thing for Florida is getting that offensive line back in order and getting better play out of Jeff Driskel. He has to be more confident throwing the football. He has to make better decisions and take over the huddle. He just has to or that offense won't go anywhere. But he has needs time to get rid of the ball. The East has so many questions that I don't think there is one team that is heads and shoulder above the rest. Florida has a chance, but the offense has to turn around. The offense that took the field for the last two years won't get Florida to Atlanta.
What kind of impact do you see Jeremy Pruitt having on Georgia's defense?
Edward Aschoff (12:40 PM)
I think the first thing is that he's going to be able to sure up that secondary. He did an excellent job with Alabama's secondary when he was there for three years. That defense ranked in the top 15 nationally in pretty much every pass defense category every year he was there. I think helping those young defensive backs will be huge for this defense. It has to make Georgia an early favorite in the East.
Jeff H (Huntsville, AL)
What is your take on Alabama hiring Lane Kiffin as their OC? I had a really bad opinion of him before he got hired and now I have to change that since he is going to be running the offense. I know he is a good recruiter and play caller but can he keep his mouth shut and do the job he was hired to do?
Edward Aschoff (12:42 PM)
I think he's going to add more tempo to the offense and he's going to make the offense a little more explosive with his play calling. I just wonder how long he'll be there. Is this a job interview for a head-coaching job? Is he planning on staying at Bama for a few years? I just don't see that happening. I see him as trying to be a head coach again.
Ed, Is a 10 win season the least Dawg fans should expect next season? New QB, new defense and lots of guys who haven't played due to injuries. Seems like a tall order?
Edward Aschoff (12:44 PM)
I just wonder how much that defense will improve. The run defense improved and the yardage went down as the year went on, but the scoring defense was bad. This defense has to develop during the offseason, but the good news is that it's young and they'll listen. Hutson Mason has to take more command in the huddle, which will come with time. He has some good receivers coming back and a heck of a back in Todd Gurley. I wonder if Keith Marshall will be healthy enough to play this fall. That would be huge. So the weapons are there on offense and there's learning to do on defense. Ten wins wouldn't shock me at all, really. But the defense has to grow.
John Paul Hoover (Cumming, GA)
Do you think Mark Richt will last much longer at Georgia?
Edward Aschoff (12:46 PM)
He isn't getting run out of town anytime soon. I think he'll leave on his own terms. He's been too successful in Athens. I think he ends his career in Athens and I wouldn't be surprised to see him there for three-four years.
ted (cape cod)
Is it naive of me to compare Dak Prescott's ability as a quarterback to Russell Wilson?
Edward Aschoff (12:47 PM)
I don't think he has the passing awareness that Wilson has. He's a tougher runner, but I don't think he's as agile as Wilson. He needs to be more comfortable throwing the ball in uncomfortable situations. That will come. I think Prescott could have a big year in Starkville next year.
Any word on who Georgia is looking at to fill open defensive coaching spots?
Edward Aschoff (12:49 PM)
Nothing just yet, but with recruiting winding down I think UGA makes a move soon. This is the last chance to make moves before signing day.
Ed, even though I am not a Gamecock fan - I am in awe of what Conner Shaw did during his career. What a beast!! Do you think he will get a shot in NFL?
Edward Aschoff (12:52 PM)
He has to. Toughest player in the SEC, and probably the country. he only threw one interception all year. He'll get a shot in the NFL. I think he can get drafted late and he'll make a team, regardless. He has all the intangibles that NFL scouts love. He doesn't have great arm strength but I don't think that would stop him from succeeding at the next level.
Jeff H (Huntsville, AL)
Who do you think has the best shot of taking over as QB at Bama? I was thinking it might be Del Rio but he is gone. It better not be Blake Sims since he is more of a read option guy and not the strongest arm. I am thinking it is between Morris, Bateman and Cornwell.
Edward Aschoff (12:55 PM)
That's one of the many questions. I thought it would be Del Rio as well, but that's not gonna happen. It'll be a fun battle between those guys. And who knows if FSU QB Jacob Coker will actually make it to Alabama. I know the rumors are all over about him, but of course nothing is official. If he makes it in then things will certainly heat up there. It's one of the position battles to keep an eye on this spring and fall.
Bruce (Osceola, Missouri)
Will Rafe Peavey (QB signee enrolled for the spring semester) have any chance to play as a freshman at Arkansas?
Edward Aschoff (12:59 PM)
Yes. Brandon Allen will have competition going forward and that's a good thing for the Razorbacks. He really struggled this fall in Bret Bielema's offense and he'll have to really step up in order to keep his job. I think you have to have a healthy competition at that spot in Arkansas if this offense is going to progress. Take some pressure off of the running game. I mean the Razorbacks were last in the SEC in passing (148.5 yards per game). Allen threw fro 1,552 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Not good
Who do you think will be the SEC's best QB in 2014?
Edward Aschoff (1:01 PM)
That's tough, man. I think you have to look at Bo Wallace, Maty Mauk, Nick Marshall and Dak Prescott for now. Can Jeff Driskel make a push? What about Hutson Mason? Patton Robinette? I honestly don't know right now. I have failed you.
Keep moving forward? Really?