Chat with Edward Aschoff
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Edward Aschoff (4:01 PM)
How is it going folks? I hope you all had a great weekend. Who's up for some SEC chatting?
Stephen J Gilbert (Austin )
With the emergance of Kniles Davis last year and all the press being given to the wide receivers, do you think Dennis Johnson will be the hogs secret weapon in an arsenal of already talented offensive playmakers?
Edward Aschoff (4:06 PM)
Arkansas has a ton of talent on offense. There's no question about it. One guy that I think will get some time out there to show is stuff is true freshman Marquel Wade. There might be four receivers coming back, but these guys will need a break at some point and Wade made a strong impression this spring. He'll get his shot to make some plays out there this fall. Remember, he was on campus last fall before he had to attend Milford Academy and the players loved what they saw out of him.
Edward, When do you Kiehl Frazier starting for the Tigers? Can He prove Himself enough during the summer to win the job?
Edward Aschoff (4:08 PM)
He should be on campus in either June or July. He'll immediately get a shot at the starting spot. He's got great athleticism and has a strong arm. It's all about getting the offense down and Gus Malzahn is the master of teaching quarterbacks. Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley don't have much experience so this race will be fun to watch this summer.
Ed, who do you think is the most important player defensively this year for Florida? Also, do you think Dunbar can be that explosively down-field threat they've lacked for the last couple years?
Edward Aschoff (4:11 PM)
Ronald Powell. Ronald Powell. And Ronald Powell. Florida has to create a good pass rush this season or the Gators are going to get burned. Losing Janoris Jenkins in the defensive backfield left a gaping hole back there. Jeremy Brown and Cody Riggs got great experience last season, but will have to step up even more this fall. Moses Jenkins is the old man back there, so he'll be competing as well. There are bodies in the secondary, but there isn't a ton of experience. Powell will be asked to blitz and drop back into coverage. He will be very vital to how Florida's defense goes. As for Dunbar, he's got great speed, but he's very small. He's tall, but rail thin. If he can be physical with corners, he could be a great addition to the offense for Florida.
Sam (New York, NY)
Mississippi State had a great season last year. What's it going to take for the Bulldogs to have continued success and compete for championships in the greatest conference in the United States?
Edward Aschoff (4:14 PM)
The offense should be fine. The offense line needs to fill a couple holes, but quarterback and the skill positions are more than set. I do wonder what will happen with the front seven. The linebacker spot is missing three starters and the defensive line is rebuilding as well. The secondary should be fine with some many talented guys returning. I also wonder if MSU has the endurance to keep up with Bama, Arkansas and LSU. It won't be easy, but the Bulldogs aren't a team that will be taken lightly. It does help that LSU and Alabama are at home. I think a solid year this fall will go a long way in recruiting and should set up Dan Mullen and his Dogs for a few years.
Gamecocks go 11-1 with only loss being a 31-28 loss to Arkansas in the final minutes. Georgia has too many freshman to be in sync in the second week of the season. They will be good, but not good enough during the second week. They go 6-0 half way, then win 5 of the last 6 to go to the SEC Championship. They beat LSU by 10 and go to the National Championship and win it all. I'm a diehard fan but I also believe they can go this year. This is the year!!!
Edward Aschoff (4:15 PM)
Looks like you've got it covered. The Gamecocks are the team to beat in the East, whether Stephen Garcia is there or not.
Edward- Future Miss. State Bulldog transfer Brandon Maye graduated from Clemson last Friday. The NCAA created the immediate eligibility transfer rule for grad school cases like this one. When do you think it will be official(or is it already) he is eligible to play linebacker for the Bulldogs this Fall? Thanks!
Edward Aschoff (4:17 PM)
The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion Ledger reported Saturday that MSU expects him to be eligible to play this fall and will be on campus in June. This is a major get for the Bulldogs. He should immediately compete for one of those starting spots at linebacker.
Edward, can you predict this early if Florida can beat Georgia?
Edward Aschoff (4:18 PM)
Way too early to tell at this point who will win. Both have a lot of questions on offense. I'm interested to see what these teams are made of come the middle of the season. That outdoor cocktail party could be huge this year ...
Reggie (Oxford, MS)
What do you think are Ole Miss chances of being a surprise team this year in the SEC? There is a veteran OL, veteran RB core, and alot of young talent returning. Talent that was forced to play last season early.
Edward Aschoff (4:21 PM)
There is always a chance in the SEC. There is just way too much talent. OL and RB are fine, like you said, but the quarterback position is still up for grabs and there are a ton of holes and questions on defense. It didn't help that Clarence Jackson was dismissed today. He was filling in for DT Shackelford this spring and had the starting Will spot coming out of spring. The Secondary struggled mightily last season and improved some this spring, but it is still pretty inexperienced. The thing going for Ole Miss is that not a lot of people are expecting big things from the Rebels. That's going to add a giant chip on the shoulders of those athletes. A leader needs to step up now that Shackelford is gone. Kentrell Lockett could be that guy.
Bones (ATL via SC)
Two parter, do you see Marcus Lattimore as a legitimate Heisman canidate? And do you think Garcia, if he returns, will be even better than last year?
Edward Aschoff (4:24 PM)
If he's healthy, Lattimore will definitely be a Heisman contender. He's bulked up and could get even more carries if Stephen Garcia is gone. Regardless, he'll be near the top of the SEC in rushing stats this fall. I'm pretty sure he's still scoring touchdowns against the Gators ... If Garcia returns, he had better be better. Steve Spurrier won't be happy with a quarterback that has had so many off-the-field issues struggling on his field. He'll have to be more of a leader and can't get caught looking lost on the field. I think he's got solid talent, but he's never reached his full potential. Now would be the best time for that.
What is your opinion on the Boise State- Georgia game to begin the year? Kellen Moore is a good quarterback... do you think Georgia's defense will match up in pass coverage and getting pressure on Moore?
Edward Aschoff (4:26 PM)
Should be a great one. I hope I'm front row and center for it. This will be a major test for both teams. Georgia has questions at receiver and running back, so the Broncos will definitely put a ton of pressure on quarterback Aaron Murray. The defense should hold its own against BSU as far as talent and athleticism is concerned. But the Broncos always play well against the big boys of college football. They won't be scared of the SEC name. I think this is more of a statement game for the Bulldogs than it is for the Broncos. Georgia has to start of the season with some momentum.
With Washaun Ealey transferring, will Isiah Crowell be the clear number 1 running back at UGA going into the season?
Edward Aschoff (4:27 PM)
Not immediately. I saw Caleb King starts off as the guy, but if Crowell gets the offense down early, I wouldn't be surprised to see him as the starter by the halfway point of the season.
Phillip (A stadium near you)
Edward,Coach Franklin says this is a new day for Vanderbilt football,with so many starters back,what should be the expectations for Dores fans in year one of the Franklin era?
Edward Aschoff (4:29 PM)
The Commodores can only go up. This team has some confidence and I like it. Franklin isn't concerned with the 'Dores' past and he's making sure his players aren't either. He's done a great job of instilling a new attitude around the program. I think teams aren't sure what to make of Vanderbilt. Vandy needs to get out of September with at least two wins and could pull an upset along the way this year. Five wins wouldn't surprise me at all.
Chris (Huntsville, AL)
Edward, what effect do you think the tragedies of the spring will have on the Alabama football team. I don't mean to make light of death and destruction by calling it bulletin board material, but these type of events can galvanize a team. Just look at the Saints after Hurricane Katrina. Do you think the same thing could happen to the Alabama football team, or will it have a negative effect. Or will it matter at all?
Edward Aschoff (4:33 PM)
I think it will be a rallying point for the Tide. Tragedy always seems to bring people together and I think the entire state of Alabama -- and the country -- felt for the people of Tuscaloosa after that. To see Auburn fans put their colors away and help was a wonderful thing. Of course, the rivalry will be in full force for the Iron Bowl and that should be expected. What happened will be with this team and its fans forever. They will be playing with a little more in their hearts this fall.
Jon (Hernando, Mississippi)
Edward, with all the talk about ranking best returning QB's in SEC...what's your top 3 and does Relf from Miss State have what it takes to get in the top 3 by year end?
Edward Aschoff (4:36 PM)
In no particular order I'd go Aaron Murray, Stephen Garcia (if he is back) and Tyler Bray. There were quarterback battles throughout the SEC, but Murray and Bray's jobs were never in question. I think Chris Relf showed at the end of the year that he's not just a runner. He threw for more than 200 yards in the last three games and the Bulldogs went 2-1. He's got a slew of wide receiver talent coming back, so he'll be able to throw it as much as he wants this fall. Oh and he can run with the best of them.
goldengator (Charlotte, NC)
In all seriousness, what is the word on the off-season at UF? Will there be anymore attrition? Are we, UF fans not you as an impartial journalist, going to be surprised with anybody new?
Edward Aschoff (4:38 PM)
I think Will Muschamp is making it a point to inform all of his players that it is his way or the highway. He only wants players that want to be there to be a part of his team. He's had to deal with some attrition and obviously the Janoris Jenkins situation, but he's doing what he has to do to have the team he wants in Gainesville. I wouldn't be surprised by more attrition, but that's only because it's natural for it to happen. I don't think Muschamp would want it because the roster numbers are small, but he's not looking to waste his time with players that aren't interested in doing things his way.
Aside from the SEC Championship, what SEC matchup are you most looking forward to this year and thus carrying the most weight?
Edward Aschoff (4:40 PM)
Alabama-LSU. If both teams are undefeated it will be a truly electric night in Tuscaloosa. This could very well be for the SEC title. And if it is for the SEC title, then it is definitely for the national title. I don't care who you root for, mark Nov. 5 down on your calendar!
WHAT A HEAT HOMER SPORTS NATION IS. GIBSON'S TWO DUNKS WERE MORE IMPRESSIVE THAN JAMES OR BOSH!!!!!!!
Edward Aschoff (4:41 PM)
While that has nothing to do with SEC football, I agree that Gibson played like a grown man last night. I would have left the gym if he dunked on me like that last night ...
Mac (Newberry, SC)
Auburn may have the toughest schedule this season with road games at CU, USC, Ark LSU and UGA. Do you see them winning more than 7 total games?
Edward Aschoff (4:43 PM)
This could be a tough season for the Tigers. they have to replace so much on both sides of the ball. Plus, they are breaking in a young quarterback. Oh there is talent, but it's pretty inexperienced. I'd put the over/under at eight right now. But it's still very, very early.
Sascha Harmon (Afghanistan)
Edward. Greetings from Afghanistan, How long do you think Jefferson will be LSU's quarterback this season. Do you think Les Miles will stick with him if he has an up and down season like last year?
Edward Aschoff (4:46 PM)
First, stay safe over there and I appreciate you taking the time to talk so SEC football. Jordan Jefferson's spring was night and day with previous ones. New offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe worked on his mechanics, foot work and leadership skills. He really helped transform his quarterback image. Les Miles said it was his best spring in Baton Rouge. With that said, Zach Mettenberger will be breathing down his neck. I think Miles stays with Jefferson as long as things are going well, but we will see Mettenberger get some snaps here and there. I think Jefferson will be fine this fall, but I want to see how much he's improved in the opener against Oregon.
Ed, with all the talent at the LB position throughout the conference, which team has the best LB core? And how would you rank them nationally?
Edward Aschoff (4:51 PM)
Right now, I really like Alabama and Georgia's linebacker units. Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw are healthy and should be the class of the SEC at the position. Add C.J. Mosley and Nico Johnson and you've got a ton of strength and speed. This unit will be one of the most aggressive in the country. Georgia has a ton of speed and athleticism going for it. Alec Ogletree and Jarvis Jones are two of the fastest linebackers in the conference and will be all over the field. Christian Robinson should also do very well in the middle with Ogletree. If these units are tops in the SEC, they'll be tops in the country.
Do you expect UT to contend for the SEC East crown this year or will it be in 2012 that UT is back? The offense has the parts to be a powerhouse in the coming years, while the defense still has some missing pieces.
Edward Aschoff (4:55 PM)
There are still some missing pieces, like you said, and I'm not sure what the mentality of this team will be this fall. Improvements were made last season and the confidence is up, but I'm not sure what the talent will look like this fall. I think Tyler Bray will be fine with that talented offensive line in front of him and he'll be able to throw to Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter all day. Don't forget that Tauren Poole is still in the backfield. The Vols still need help in the front seven and no one is quite sure if Janzen Jackson will be back this fall. Prentiss Waggner filled in well this fall, but Jackson had special talent.
By the way, Ed - Scott from Cali is ih8stupidfans, so you kept your promise to get to one of his questions.
Edward Aschoff (4:56 PM)
Niiiiiiice :) I'm a man of my word
Has Auburn recruited well-enough to reload and compete or are they due for a slip in the SEC standings?
Edward Aschoff (4:57 PM)
The Tigers have the talent to be OK for the next few years. I think they will dip this season, but that's only natural when you lose what they did.
Larry A (Austin)
Ed, you're an Oxford native. What is your opinion on Houston Nutt and do you think he is on the hot seat after last year?
Edward Aschoff (4:58 PM)
I think he's fine. He went to two straight Cotton Bowls. Last season caught him off guard. Even he didn't see that coming. This season, he's having to work with a lot of inexperience. He's got some really nice talent coming in, so the future is bright.
Larry A (Austin)
Ed, I'm curious about your take on this. It seems like LSU is going to (yet again) have a great defense, but I can't see why they are ranked so high going into the season. Their O wasn't very impressive or effective last year and they lost their leading rusher. What gives?
Edward Aschoff (5:00 PM)
The Tigers are young, yes, but there is so much talent at nearly every position. I think the speed and athleticism has people excited about what they could show this year. Jefferson has improved at quarterback and he's got a few weapons to work with. The defense should be one of the fastest in the country. But you are right, there should be questions for this team. We'll find out what it is made of when the Tigers face Oregon in the season opener.
Edward Aschoff (5:01 PM)
Man, that was fun. I hope you guys had a lot of fun, too. I've got to get out of here, but I look forward to talking to you all in a week. Remember, Chris' chat is this Thursday. Have a great week!