Sorry about the delay. A few technical issues to work through. But let's get started.
Does it make any sense to you why Florida is ranked above Auburn in the polls? Both are in the rebuilding process, but Auburn beat Florida and their vaunted defense last year. Try and explain.
Honestly, preseason polls are such a crap shoot. When you get down past the top 15 or so, it's a lot of guess work. My sense is that Florida will be the more improved of the two this year and will be very good on defense. Plus, Auburn has to play in the West. Both have unproven QB situations. To me, the difference will be Florida's defense.
were you ever offered a role in the Coneheads move?
Yes, twice ... actually.
I've heard all about Mettenberger and the deep ball, but how are his short throws? Is he accurate, or will he be one who throws for fairly high yardage and TD, but also high Int? What about Tyler Russel? Same for him?
LSU def. coordinator John Chavis told me this summer that Mettenberger gave his defense a lot of trouble -- period. Yes, he throws the deep ball well, but can make all of the throws. LSU's staff feels more comfortable in letting him make throws the Tigers wouldn't have tried a year ago.
hey chris if ole miss beats texas & mac brown gets fired, will nick saban take that job and get out the sec?
I wouldn't hold my breath that Saban is going anywhere, although I do believe that Texas would love to have him if Brown steps away. Not going to happen, though, and I mean Saban leaving Alabama.
Is it a good or bad thing for Georgia that Gurley was the most impressive back in yesterdays scrimmage?
Richt wants to play more than one back anyway, so I think it's going to take Gurley, Malcome, Marshall and even Samuel at FB this season.
Any idea of how good UT's linebackers corps will be? All the talk is about the offense, but no one talks about a seasoned linebacker unit with two freshman all-americans retuning.
No question Lathers, Johnson and Maggitt can play. It's a big season for Jacques Smith at OLB. The concern is depth. The Vols can't afford to get anybody hurt there.
when do you think Knile Davis's breakout game will be this season?
I'd be surprised if Arkansas ran him too many times those first two games. They're going to be careful with him. He'll get some contact this preseason. He has to. But let him use those first two games to really get the feel back again and then turn him loose against Alabama that third week. The great thing for the Hogs is that they also have Dennis Johnson, who could start for a lot of SEC teams and is so versatile. They shouldn't have to wear out Davis.
What do you think of Mississippi State offense this season? Do you see them beating any teams in the west this year besides TSUN?
TSUP = The School Up North. Let's get that out of the way first. Dan Mullen is still looking for his first win over a Western team not named (Ole Miss). I can say it even if Mullen can't. But, yes, I think the Bulldogs break through this season and win against somebody else in the West. I really like their RB stable and this should be the year that the veteran receivers along with promising redshirt freshman Joe Morrow make their mark. The thing I'm not sure about is how well they will be able to protect Tyler Russell. That could be a problem.
Who do you see as being the starter at the quarterback position at Florida?
My pick is Jacoby Brissett, but I think they will both play in the first game.
Is Mizzou's James Franklin the top 5 QBs in the SEC? Either way, what would your top 5 be? Look at his numbers last year compared to Denard Robinson. And he did it against better corners in the Big 12 last year. I feel like he is a little under appreciated...
I would say you're right. We had him ranked No. 5 among the SEC QBs and you could make an argument that he should be a spot or two higher. His ability to hurt teams running the ball sets gives him that extra dimension. I want to see how healthy his shoulder is and how well he holds up running the ball against SEC defenses. Can't wait to see him play in this league. He's a really exciting player.
I'm worried Lattimore is injury proned. What would you put the odds at for him finishing his first full season this year?
I'm not ready to say he's injury prone yet. He hurt his knee last season and that happens. I will say that I was worried even before he got hurt last season that the odds were against him staying healthy with how many carries he was getting. Coach Spurrier has told me they will do a better job of spreading those carries around this season. They like their depth at RB.
with the addition of prosch in the backfield at auburn freeing up lutzy do you see lutzy having a chance at winning the mackey award
Yes, I do. Lutzenkirchen is as good as any TE I can remember in this league at finding creases and pockets and just getting open. He's masterful at getting open down around the goal line, and I think the Auburn QBs will look for him often this season.
who is your pick for the heisman?
Matt Barkley. He will put up monster numbers with those receivers, and USC should be really good this season.
With James Franklin tearing it up on the recruiting trail do you think Vandy will ever become a middle of the road SEC team?
Still have to believe it to see it. But you're right. He's significantly upgraded the talent level and is winning some battles against big-time teams for recruits. The Commodores are still a long way from being a 7- or 8-win team on a consistent basis, but the way to get there is to keep winning recruiting battles against teams you have to beat on the field.
Talk to me about Bama's WRs. People say they have talent, But Maze and Hanks were only "decent" last year, and no one on the roster could put them on the bench. Shouldn't Bama fans be worried?
A little bit. I will reserve my evaluation of the Alabama WRs until I see them against a good secondary. They really like the two freshmen -- Cooper and Black. Don't forget about Christion Jones. He's a guy who will make some plays for them, and Norwood and Bell stepped up in the BCS title game. That offensive line will make a lot of people look good on offense this season for Bama.
How much of a difference would Kolton Houston make for UGA's OL if he should finally test negative? Have you ever heard of rx roids lingering this long?
Very odd situation. I wouldn't be surprised if his parents don't end up suing the NCAA if this continues. He would definitely make a difference. Right now, they probably only have about six guys they feel are ready to play up front. So depth is a concern.
Chris i auburn can make it through the first 4 game 3-1 or by some stretch of the imagination 4-0 where do you see them as a competitor for the sec west
Auburn caught a break with Clemson's Sammy Watkins being suspended that first game. That's not an SEC game, but will go a long way toward setting the tone for the season, especially going to Starkville that next week. If Auburn is 3-1 coming out of that stretch, I would think nines would be possible. I just don't think Auburn is ready to challenge in the West this season. I agree with what Pat Dye said. They're still probably a year away.
Is this Dooley's last season regardless of how they finish?
No, if the Vols win eight games, he's fine and should be. I think they will be improved and have a chance to go 8-4 in the regular season. Dooley has recruited well, and they're not nearly as young any more. The NC State and Florida games those first couple of weeks are huge. I think the 2013 season could up being the one that's a down season, especially if some of the Vols' more talented juniors leave.
Chris, great chat as always. I'm really nervous about the Michigan game. AJ McCarron being forced to be a leader is a bit unnervinc. Can the Tide get lucky on Sept. 1 and win that game?
AJ proved in the BCS title game last season that he can handle a mighty big load. I think he'll be fine, particularly with that NFL-esque offensive line in front of him. I also wonder if Michigan will be able to move the ball consistently against Alabama's defense. I think the Tide win by 10 or more points.
Best corner ( not athlete!) in the SEC goes to....
If you're talking true cover cornerback, I'd go with Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks. I don't think Alabama's Dee Milliner is too far behind. I know Tyrann Mathieu plays cornerback, but he's more of a roamer and nickel guy who just makes plays.
How many 4th quarter John L. blow for Arkansas this year? Don't say we didn't warn you Razorback fans.
I'm marking that down as we speak, and we'll re-visit it later. The last time Alabama came to Arkansas (2010), the Hogs blew a two-touchdown lead, although John L. wasn't the head coach then.
Best receiving corps in SEC.. Mizzou?
Missouri would be up there, especially if Green-Beckham is everything he's supposed to be. Marcus Lucas may be the key in the group. If he's the big-play threat the coaches think he will be this season, along with T.J. Moe's ability to get open and move the chains, this has a chance to be a very good corps. But right now, I would put Tennessee's receivers at the top. Justin Hunter, Da'Rick Rogers and junior college newcomer Cordarrelle Patterson all have a chance to be NFL players.
Hey chis do you believe the sincerity in Bobby P's interview with Joe Schad? Or is it a publicity stunt to show he's a "changed man" in hopes another program will hire him?
I'm going to weigh in on Bobby Petrino later today on the SEC blog, but what I'll say now is that he sounds like a man who's pleading for another chance. In my time of covering Bobby, he was always good to me and I never had any issues with him. He was guarded and I knew about his past and what a lot of people thought about him. This last mistake will be a tough one for him to overcome. But he's a very good coach and I think somebody will give him another shot. What I can't answer is whether or not he's genuinely sorry or just sorry he got caught.
Who will win the East and the West? Straight answer.
Same as last year -- Georgia in the East and LSU in the West.
Since Hugh Freeze has the offensive mind of Urban Meyer & Gus Malzahn can he have the Rebels competing in the SEC in 4 years?
He probably needs to be competing sooner than four years if he still wants to be around. I would say by Season No. 3 that the Rebels need to show some real progress. I like the way he's started on the recruiting trail.
With projecting the Vols record, you have to throw out every game where the other team is more talented because Dooley is neither going to outcoach someone or inspire the boys to play better or outcoach anyone in the SEC. This makes 8-4 the upside until you consider the one game the Vols lose they shouldn't because they are completely unprepared and outcoached. Then the one game they lose because the team quits on Dooley a la Kentucky last year so 6-6 is really the upside.
If that's the case, then I'd say we better all say our goodbyes to Dooley this season. He won't survive a 6-6 season. That said, I think they're good enough to win at least seven and possibly eight in the regular season.
Predict Mizzou's and TAMU's records for next year.
I'll go 7-5 with Missouri and 6-6 with Texas A&M.
Is either Spencer Ware, Michael Ford, or Kenny Hilliard as good as Eddie Lacy?
Potentially they could be, but Alabama and LSU both are going to play a lot of RBs this season. LSU has five who could start at a lot of places. And in addition to Lacy, freshman T.J. Yeldon is outstanding at Alabama, and Dee Hart and Jalston Fowler will also have roles.
So what is the cause of the Overly Optimistic reports from camp? Rarely do you hear about teams struggling or lacking depth.
Right on. Things you'll never hear a coach say during the preseason: We're out of shape. Our kids are loafing. We don't have much talent. We're not getting much accomplished.
I need to run. Got a couple of LSU players I need to interview. We'll do it again next week. It was great to be back.