Chat with Edward Aschoff
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Edward Aschoff (12:58 PM)
Hey, guys! Just letting you know that I'm not Chris. He's still on vacation, which means I'll be handling the blog today. I've done it before, so things should go pretty smoothly. Now that we've processed spring practice and the NFL draft, I'm pretty sure we'll have tons to talk about today.Also, happy Cinco de Mayo! I hope everyone has a good time, but celebrate responsibly! Now, let's begin this chat
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What SEC College Football Players that were selected in the NFL Draft do you think will be outstanding in the NFL?
Edward Aschoff (1:03 PM)
Automatically my mind goes straight to Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green. He was an absolute stud with the Bulldogs and looked to have the tools to succeed in the NFL even before his senior year. He's fast and physical and won't get pushed around by NFL corners. He's going into an interesting situation in Cincinnati where no one is quite sure who the quarterback will be and if Chad Johnson will return. Regardless, Green comes in as someone the Bengals will immediately rely on. He'll be a star for years. I also like Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. He'll be expected to start from day one in the middle of the Buffalo Bills' defensive line. He's fast, athletic and strong. Dareus will eventually be a force on the defensive line and should have a fun career to watch. I also like Georgia' Justin Houston to turn into a star at outside linebacker. And Patrick Peterson is going to be an absolute nightmare for offenses. He'll play all over the field and should make an immediate impact in the league.
Chris,A question about UGA... Florida is in flux, UT is still a couple of years away, the Dawgs miss Bama, LSU, and Arkansas from the west and get USC at home. We only leave the state of GA 4 times all season. If Richt can't get it done this year, will he ever get it done again, or will it be time to make a change in Athens? Thank you...
Edward Aschoff (1:08 PM)
I'm not Chris, but I think I can handle this one. Mark Richt has been notorious for struggling with great talent. Look at the NFL draft: the Bulldogs tied LSU for the most draft picks from an SEC team with six. As Chris pointed out last week, Georgia has had the most first, second and third-round draft picks out of the SEC in the last 10 years. This team is loaded, but there are areas that are inexperienced. The schedule sets up quite nicely for the Bulldogs as well, with Georgia having road games at Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech. I'm not ready to say if he doesn't "get it done" this year he won't ever, but he's had plenty of chances and this year's schedule has an East title written all over it. Richt's team just needs to grow up in certain areas or his seat will get VERY hot yet again and he might not have the opportunity to try again.
Ultimate Curtis (ATL)
Chris,Talk a little bit about Bama's secondary. Everybody knows about Barron and Kirkpatrick, but Lester lead the SEC in INT's, and a lot of people are talking about Menzie being the best corner on the team. With Hightower and Upshaw finally healthy to rush the passer, will the Bama pass D be the best in the SEC? Thanks
Edward Aschoff (1:10 PM)
Again, not Chris, but I agree that Alabama's pass defense will be a lot stronger this season. One thing that didn't help was that a lot of guys missed the spring, but the coaches seem to think that won't be an issue heading into fall camp. They got through their growing pains last year and should much improved after making all those mistakes last year. Saban isn't going to let this group suffer like it did at times last year. As for the pass rush, Hightower and Upshaw are healthy and they will be flying all over the field. Upshaw said this spring he'd like to see more fire out of the defense and wants to see a more aggressive pass rush. You'll see both from this unit in the fall. What will be even nicer for the defense is that Hightower can move outside to create even more speed on both edges. I wouldn't want to line up against either one of those guys if I were a tight end or tackle.
jeff (winston, ga)
if georgia can beat s. carolina, do you think they will win the east?
Edward Aschoff (1:14 PM)
Florida and Tennessee are unknowns, while Kentucky is searching for playmakers. The Bulldogs have the talent to win the East, but do they have the consistency? Beating South Carolina would be a start, but that won't clinch anything. Florida might have a ton of questions on offense, but I expect the defense to be a little more aggressive, especially with its pass rush. Tennessee has some trouble spots, but the players and coaches seem to be more confident coming out of this camp. Georgia has to find a running game this fall. We know Aaron Murray can throw the ball, but there are still questions at receiver as well. If South Carolina has its quarterback situation figured out, the Gamecocks are still the favorite in the East.
Weston (Huntsville, AL)
Do you think Alabama should go with A.J. McCarron or Phillip Sims as QB? Sims looked better to me in the spring game, but he has no real game experience in the SEC while McCarron does, so which do you think is the best choice?
Edward Aschoff (1:16 PM)
At this point, it seems as though both would be good options for the Tide. Both are pretty athletic and both and throw the ball. Both are also much more confident in the offense coming out of the spring and both seem to have taken to being leaders in the offense. But if I had to pick today, I'd go with McCarron only because he's got some shred of college experience. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw both guys early in the season. I think Alabama will be just fine going with either one at this point.
Hey Chris! I have seen some of the spring practices and games of Florida and to be honest, alot of Gator fans are worried. What is the feeling among the experts about the team this year. Thanks
Edward Aschoff (1:20 PM)
No one is really sure what to expect out of Gainesville this year. New coach Will Muschamp seems to be changing the demeanor of a team that lacked discipline on and off the field last year. Charlie Weis is installing a pro-style offense which looked awful in the spring game, but so do most glorified scrimmages do. That isn't the offense we'll see this fall. Weis is too good at running an offense to let that be the product he puts on the field. I think the defense will be more aggressive, starting with Ronald Powell at the buck where he'll rush off the edge and drop into coverage. The defensive line should be fine with Dominique Easley and Sharrif Floyd inside. The secondary has a major hole now that Janoris Jenkins is gone, but there's experience there. For Florida to succeed, the offense has to be productive. There is a slew of talent at Florida, but the pieces just have to work together. It's going to be an interesting first year for Muschamp.
Eric (Baton Rouge)
I have seen most people picking either Bama or LSU to win the west. Is there a bigger game in the SEC this year than the LSU @ Bama on Nov 5th?
Edward Aschoff (1:23 PM)
If both teams are undefeated than you'll be hard-pressed to find a bigger game this fall. There won't be an empty seat and most of the televisions in America will be tuned to that channel. LSU beat Alabama last year, so there's certainly some hurt feelings on Alabama's team. the winner of this game will probably be in the driver's seat for the SEC West crown. The loser will be holding out all hope that the other team slips up. Most people want a playoff, but this game will have the feel of one. This could be for a shot in the semi-final (SEC championship) before the national title. But let's not forget that Arkansas has the talent to be right in the mix. If Arkansas beats Alabama at the beginning of the season than this game is even bigger because there will be no margin of error for the Tide. Get yer popcorn ready!
Chances Russell Wilson goes to Auburn? If he does, does AU go from a 7-8 win to a 9-10 win team.
Edward Aschoff (1:27 PM)
He's already earned a degree from NC State, so if he can find a graduate program offered at Auburn that isn't offered at NC State he'll be eligible to play this fall. I wrote that I think the Tigers should take a chance on him, but there has been no word from either side about that. Auburn has two inexperienced quarterbacks and a true freshman on the way. I think it would make perfect since to bring in Wilson, who would fit Gus Malzahn's system. He's not as big as Cam Newton, but he's probably a better passer and while he might not have the strength to run through defenders, he can get around them. Bringing him in would give the other quarterbacks more time to learn as well. I think it's a win for Auburn if Wilson were to come in. There are a lot of questions on this team, but having Wilson could get them closer to 8-9 wins.
Hey ed,Do you think that Auburn's offensive line could step up and be effective this year. They are young and inexperienced seeing as how they have lost 4 out of 5 starters from last year, but heavily laden with highly recruited talent. If shon coleman can play this year I think that they could hold their own in SEC play.
Edward Aschoff (1:33 PM)
It's always tough for young offensive linemen to get a handle of the offense. One thing that will help is that A.J. Greene and Brandon Mosley are back and they'll be on the outside. It's the interior of the line that's a bit of a concern. I like the bodies they have and I think they'll grow into a really solid line, but they will struggle early. The one thing that helps the line is that the running backs behind it are very athletic. They'll be able to get themselves out of trouble more easily that some other backs. Having an inexperienced quarterback won't help as much because you'll have two of the most important positions learning as the season goes.
Blaine (Hattiesburg, MS)
Edward, over/under - Miss. State wins 8 games ?
Edward Aschoff (1:38 PM)
Having only six games is a bit of a concern, but the two nonconference road games shouldn't be too much of a problem for the Bulldogs. However, watch out for UAB. MSU only won by five against the Blazers last season, and that was in Starkville. A big plus is that LSU, Alabama and South Carolina are all at home. They won't be easy, but it's easier to win when you have your home crowd behind you. Also, Ole Miss is at home. The Rebels want a win in the Egg Bowl badly, but they'll have to travel to Starkville to do it. Right now, I'd go over. I don't seem them getting swept at home against the SEC and they'll get a couple of road wins. This team is dangerous, but like I wrote in an earlier blog, everyone knows what the Bulldogs are capable of. They won't surprise anyone.
Being most preseason polls has south carolina around 8. Do you see them winning sec this year?
Edward Aschoff (1:43 PM)
If the quarterback situation is figured out, I think they have to be the favorite in the East. There are just too many questions surrounding the other teams and South Carolina is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. If Stephen Garcia doesn't return, Conner Shaw will most likely be the quarterback next fall. That's not a bad thing, but he doesn't have near the experience Garcia has. Garcia wasn't the best quarterback in the league last year, but he directed that offense to Atlanta last year. Having Marcus Lattimore in the backfield and Alshon Jeffery at receiver certainly helped a lot, but Garcia held his own at quarterback. However, having those weapons would definitely help Shaw transition to being the starter much easier.
with AJ gone, do you think that orson charles could see his role in UGA's offense go way up? i think people are forgetting that UGA has always been a TE friendly offense, which we weren't with AJ on the field, could we see a more run based TE friendly attack this year?
Edward Aschoff (1:45 PM)
Orson Charles isn't AJ Green, but no one else in the SEC is either. I really like what Charles can do in the offense. He's almost like another wide receiver out there with his speed and athleticism. He can go over the middle and play on the outside if they need him to. Having Charles alongside Tavares King will certainly make things easier for Aaron Murray as he begins life without Green. I'm going to go on record as saying that Charles will be second on the team in catches this season behind King.
FYI Edward. The picture at the top of the page along with the Chris Low chat is throwing us all off. From all of us sorry about the mix up.
Edward Aschoff (1:46 PM)
Hey, it happens. I just hope I'm living up to his reputation on the chat. He's one of a kind.
Sheldon (Atlanta, GA)
Hey Edward, have you considered changing your name to Chris? It would make life a whole lot easier for us.
Edward Aschoff (1:47 PM)
Funny because my parents almost named me Christopher ...
Edward, The SEC has had a lot of success with impact JUCO players as of late (Cody, Newton, Carpenter, Fairly, etc.). With several high profile JUCO players signing with high profile SEC teams who do you see making an immediate impact?
Edward Aschoff (1:50 PM)
John Jenkins at Georgia is the first guy who comes to mind. He's a beast in the middle and he'll be perfect for the Bulldogs' 3-4 defense. He'll come in and immediately compete for the starting job at nose guard. The coaches are really excited about what he could do in the defense. He's going to plug up the holes in the running game and he'll make his way to the quarterback every now and then. Another guy who really came on this spring was Wesley Pendleton at Ole Miss. He's competing for a starting spot at one of the cornerback positions and he really impressed his coaches this spring. The thing about him is that he looks like he's just an athlete. He can run and jump with the best of them, but his skills were a little unknown. He cleared up a lot of questions by showing he's got solid coverage skills. Both those guys should be regular contributors this fall.
CWE (Jax, FL)
Ed...do you agree with Schalbach's top-25? How does the defending natty champ not even make the top 25? we know Mark (UGA homer) always tries to go against AU, but what's your stand? We lost a lot, but the future looks real bright on the plains.
Edward Aschoff (1:53 PM)
The future does look bright. I think it looks very bright, but there are a lot of holes out there. Last year's squad was senior-laden, had a Heisman Trophy winner and a solid offensive line. Cam Newton is gone and the offensive line is almost starting over. It's fair to leave them out because a lot of people are unsure of what team will show up this season. The quarterback situation is troublesome because neither guy really shined during the spring. Now if Russell Wilson were to make it on campus ...
Zack (Jacksonville Al)
So Edward my JSU fighting gamecocks play kentucky this year Auburn next year and then Florida the year after. So does JSU have any chance what-so-ever of beating these teams?
Edward Aschoff (1:54 PM)
Did people think your Gamecocks would beat Ole Miss? Did people think Appalachian State would beat Michigan? There's always a chance come Saturday ...
What non-conference SEC game are you looking forward to the most?
Edward Aschoff (1:57 PM)
LSU-Oregon. It's not only going to be a top-10 mathup but it's going to be in Jerry's World!! The atmosphere there is going to be electric and it's right at the beginning of the season. What a great way to begin the year. Will Jordan Jefferson look like a quarterback that can lead the Tigers to a national championship? Will Oregon's offense be able to do anything against the speed of LSU's defense? How many punts will it the video board? Will anyone pose on the star? Ah, just so many questions. I'm getting pumped just thinking about it.
Hey, ive lived in Tuscaloosa for years, and nothing like this tornado has ever happened here. Do you think the sense of community that has been so prevalent for the past week will carry over to the football team and maybe give them something more to play for (the people of Tuscaloosa- I'm thinking something similar to how people in new Orleans view the saints)
Edward Aschoff (2:01 PM)
First off, my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by last week's tornadoes. I went home to Oxford and was horrified by the destruction I saw in Birmingham. Just awful. I think there's no question people will rally and you'll see one of the best sports fan bases turnout even more this season. I hate to say that something like this will motivate a team, but I think for a lot of people, seeing the football team out there will something that pushes them even more. We have to remember that there are more things to life than games, even in the SEC. But I think this will bring Bama supporters even closer together. I also think it will bring the rest of the SEC closer to Bama as well.
Edward Aschoff (2:02 PM)
Wow. So many great questions today. We'll have to get together and do this again. Have a great rest of the day and have a wonderful weekend. Oh and cheer for those Colorado Rockies :)