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 (3:58 PM)
Welcome to the chat, folks! Hope you all had a great weekend and are ready to talk a little SEC football.
Do you think wilson could succeed mallett and record a better season then he did?
Edward Aschoff (4:01 PM)
Though he's still not officially the starter at Arkansas, I have all the confidence that he'll be the guy. And while this will be his first year as the quarterback at Arkansas, Wilson has all the tools to put up a boat load of numbers this fall. The coaches know he has the talent, but I'm interested to see how he responds to starting mentally. If he can get that under control, he could match and surpass Mallett's numbers. Remember, he returns some great talent at WR.
Mr. Aschoff, under Coach Meyer, special teams was a focal point at Florida. Do you think special teams success will stay the same, decline, or even get better under Coach Muschamp?
Edward Aschoff (4:02 PM)
Mr??? So nice of you, but that's way too formal :) Special teams is a big thing for Will Muschamp. He might not have the obsession for it like Meyer did, but it will be a very important part of his coaching. He talked about the area plenty of times this spring, so don't expect it to falter under him. Like Meyer, he wants to put his best athletes on special teams.
what do u think the gamecocks record will be this year?
Edward Aschoff (4:05 PM)
I think South Carolina will be the favorite in the East. If Stephen Garcia comes back -- and it's looking that way -- the Gamecocks will be loaded on offense. Don't forget the defense will be pretty good as well, especially up front. Three straight road games in the middle of they year won't be easy, but I could see this team winning 10 games this fall. No Alabama or LSU certainly helps.
Ed, you and I have something in common (up to a point). I'm a Gator grad in Oxford, Ms., and you are a Gator grad that grew up in Oxford. So I'm going to give you a question to give you a shot at answering critical blog comments regarding your ties to two SEC schools. Some are concerned that your connections to Florida and Ole Miss will influence you with bias towards those schools, how do you balance school loyalty with jornalistic integrety?
Edward Aschoff (4:08 PM)
My college football bias was ripped from my heart when I learned about the ethics of journalism. But I also realize that it doesn't matter where I grew up or went to school, I'll have to face some hazing from fans :) It comes with the territory. It won't matter how many times I insist that I don't root for anyone. But I can live with that. It doesn't bother me. Now, once we start talking about the Colorado Rockies ...
Mike (Kennesaw, GA)
Ed? I believe Georgia is going to blow out Boise State. They may be able to knock off small schools and some bigger ones, (over rated ones), but I believe UGA's speed on defense is going to be too much.
Edward Aschoff (4:11 PM)
That defense is going to be scary next season. The linebacker corps could be the fastest one in the SEC with Ogletree, Jones, Robinson and Washington. It will be hard to outrun that group. I think the secondary should be fine as well, but I want to see the Bacarri Rambo that showed up for his freshman year out there. Brandon Boykin will be fine and Branden Smith is someone who is athletic enough to play both sides. Up front, Kwame Geathers really improved at nose guard this spring and JUCO transfer John Jenkins should be a beast in the middle as well.
Mike (Seattle, WA)
Edward, how long do you see the SEC West continuing to be the dominant side of the SEC?
Edward Aschoff (4:14 PM)
It's hard to see the East really competing with the West this season. There are three teams -- Alabama, LSU and Arkansas -- that immediately look like national title contenders in the West. South Carolina is the only one that really looks like one in the East. Behind the Gamecocks there are a slew of questions. However, the young talent in the East is very good. Will Muschamp won't let Florida slouch, Tennessee's defense looks like it's probably a year away from being very solid and Georgia will have a ton of talent after this new recruiting class gets on campus. The West will be the more talented side this fall, but things should even out next year.
Cameron (Columbia, S.C)
What are your realistic expectations for Marcus Lattimore in 2011 and do you see him winning a heisman before his collegiate career is over
Edward Aschoff (4:16 PM)
He's physical freak with a great attitude. When talking to people at South Carolina, they are really excited about not only what he can do in the stat column but what he can do for the entire team. He's a true leader and will be an officially captain in no time. With that said, I think he has the drive to be the best runner in the country, but will be be durable enough? He's going to get a ton of carries, so it will be important for the Gamecocks to monitor his health. If he can continue to build off his fantastic freshman season, I think he'll be one of the elite running backs whenever he decides to enter the NFL draft. A Heisman is realistic and he'll probably be an early candidate this fall.
L. Edgar (Las Vegas)
EDWARD: What school and/or conference makes the biggest inroads in recruiting SEC area high school players out of the SEC? Is there any school or conference that significantly impacts recruiting by SEC schools? Thanks.
Edward Aschoff (4:19 PM)
I would probably say that ACC and the Big Ten. Ohio State and Michigan have always had a lot of success in the state of Florida. ACC schools are right there, so they consistently recruit SEC country. Just looking at that success Florida State and Miami have had in the southeast and the recent recruiting emergence of Clemson shows that. Still, the SEC will continue to get the majority of the first pick in its own backyard.
Miss. State lost all 3 starting linebackers, but had some young guys step up and look pretty good this spring. Any comments on how you see those linebackers panning out this year, and how much of an impact Maye, transferring in from Clemson, will make? Do you see him taking over and starting at MLB or OLB?
Edward Aschoff (4:25 PM)
It's not going to be easy to replace those three spots, but there are bodies to work with. Brandon Wilson left the spring as the leader of the group. He's talented and a guy that players will listen to. That will be key to improving this unit as the season goes on. Cameron Lawrence has two years of experience, which is the most. Chris Hughes should also get his chance out on the field as well. Like you said, Maye will be a guy the coaches want to get out on the field as soon as possible. He's got the ability to play each linebacker position and will compete for a starting spot immediately. I think he'll make his way into the starting lineup sooner rather than later.
Patrick (Jacksonville, FL)
Mr. Aschoff,As a UGA fan in Jacksonville, I am obviously looking forward to the annual game vs. Florida. Could you tell us specifically what kind of offense the Gators will have this year? Will the new Weis system be similar to what he ran at Notre Dame, or will they spread the field out more to utilize their team speed? Thanks.
Edward Aschoff (4:28 PM)
Well, we didn't get to see the offense this spring because practices were closed. I don't know what we all saw in the spring game. I'm not sure that can be considered an offense. But most around Gainesville are pretty confident that the offense will be much, much better than the spring game showed. You won't see much spread stuff. Maybe here and there, but overall Weis is bring in a true pro-style offense. And it's going to take some time for these players to get used to it, so they'll have to really work on it during 7-on-7 workouts this summer. This team still has a lot of speed, so they will try to exploit it as much as possible, but you'll see John Brantley primarily under center. Oh and he won't be running the option ... ever
Joe Rossano (Arlington, WA)
Hello Edward,I'm curious, if Alabama and LSU were to swap 2011 schedules, how would their preseason rankings be effected?Thanks, Joe
Edward Aschoff (4:31 PM)
For starters, the ratings for the opener against Oregon would be even higher. I think Alabama would still be considered a top two team. There is more experience as a whole on Alabama's side. The quarterback position hasn't been settled, but overall I think Alabama has a more stable team at the moment. I really like what LSU could do this fall, but that defense is pretty young. It's extremely athletic which should help make up for some of that inexperience.
Edward, which incoming Freshman besides Kiehl Frazier will have the biggest impact on the Plains this year?
Edward Aschoff (4:35 PM)
Linebacker Kris Frost will come in immediately compete for playing time and he's got the athletic ability to see the field, no matter what. He's probably the top defender the Tigers brought in. I think with the holes this team needs to fill at linebacker, Frost should contribute early. Also, Quan Bray could get some playing time as well. He can play receiver and running back. The Tigers need some playmakers on offense and Bray could be nice little spark.
Are there any SEC coaches that should be concerned it could be their last this year?
Edward Aschoff (4:37 PM)
The one that has the most pressure is Georgia's Mark Richt. He always has a ton of talent in Athens, but underachieving has been a real issue for the Bulldogs. This season, Georgia is coming off of a 6-7 season and has a load of young talent all over the place. I think Richt needs to win more this year. He might not need to win the SEC, but he needs to show that 6-7 won't happen again.
SEC regular season CHAMPS in baseball! Go Gamecocks! National Championship repeat, it's about to happen! Let's go!
Edward Aschoff (4:37 PM)
Football season is just 100 days away, man ...
Skeeter (Sopchoppy, Fla.)
Ed, in your humble opinion, do you really believe that Brantley can be a successful QB for the Gators?
Edward Aschoff (4:39 PM)
If he finally regains some shred of confidence, yes. He wasn't the top quarterback in the state of Florida coming out of high school for nothing. Playing in Charlie Weis' offense should help him as well. He's not a spread guy. The problem is that Florida's offensive line is going to be very young ... and that's never a good thing.
LSU or Oregon? Do you think the LSU defense will make up for the play (or lack there-of) of its quarterback? Will the new Offensive coordinator take LSU's 11 win season and increase it by one or two?
Edward Aschoff (4:42 PM)
Right now, I'd go with LSU. That game will have a home feel for the Tigers since Dallas is pretty close. I've said that I like LSU's defense a lot. It might be young, but I think it's one of the most athletic defenses in the entire country. Jordan Jefferson is much improved and Steve Kragthorpe has to take a lot of credit for that. It also helps that backup Zach Mettenberger appears to be the real deal. I think the Tigers will be right there with Alabama the entire season. I think 10-11 wins is about right in the regular season.
How do you see the final SEC East and SEC West standings (and please don't just give out their preseason standings!)
Edward Aschoff (4:43 PM)
Well this will change in a week, so I might as well: EastSouth CarolinaGeorgiaFloridaTennesseeKentucky VanderbiltWestAlabamaLSU ArkansasMississippi StateAuburnOle MissAgain, this will change in about ... looks like it just did :)
Cornelius Stringer (Cusseta AL)
Hey edward. How many games do u think alabama will win ?
Edward Aschoff (4:44 PM)
I think Alabama has all the tools to win a national title. I'll have to go with 11+
Phillip (A stadium near you)
Edward,100 days to go til college football!A 18 million dollar buyout of Bobby Petrino for the next 2 years,thats alot of dough.Would anybody be willing to pay for that buyout?
Edward Aschoff (4:45 PM)
If he can REALLY win with Razorbacks someone will dish out the cash.
What is a realistic prediction for your gators this season, and when will they get tested this season?
Edward Aschoff (4:46 PM)
My gators? Well, I always wanted to own one as a pet, but after watching the Animal Planet's "Fatal Attractions" I'll just stick to dogs and cats.
Gary (Ft Worth)
With news that LA police arrested suspect in Dodger stadium beating of Giants fan, are there venues in the SEC where visiting teams' fan safety should be addressed to prevent/reduce likelihood of similar situation?
Edward Aschoff (4:47 PM)
I think SEC schools do a really good job as far as security goes. Incidents like that one are incredibly sad. I'm sure the SEC will look into it, but I think the security is just fine these days.
Why is LSU getting so much love? Their qb play has been horrible, ridley is gone, peterson is gone, and their schedule is brutal. Am I missing something here?
Edward Aschoff (4:49 PM)
There is a ton of athleticism on that team. Jefferson might not have had the best season last year, but the Tigers won 11 games. Spencer Ware should be just fine in place of Stevan Ridley. There is a lot of talent on defense. It's young, but it's fast and it will be pretty good this year. Plus, you can NEVER count The Hat out anymore. He defies all sporting logic.
I guess Lane Kiffin was wrong with his comment toward Alshon Jefferey "you'll end up pumping gas for the rest of your career if you pick USC..." Other than Jefferey, who are some big playmakers on the rise to look out for?
Edward Aschoff (4:52 PM)
I think Rueben Randle at LSU will be a big playmaker this fall for the Tigers. Trovon Reed should be Mr. Do-Everything at Auburn. He can play all over the field on offense. Mississippi State has a lot of talent at wide receiver behind Chad Bumphis, so any of those guys could emerge as well. I also like Tennessee receivers Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter. Both should put up nice numbers this fall.
stuboy (mobile al)
Mr Ed---Mad Hatter has a new offensive co-ordinator.Will he change things around so clock management n grazing come easier at end of games. Plus does the qb situation look promising?
Edward Aschoff (4:54 PM)
I don't think Les Miles needs to change anything when it comes to clock management. He's got forces beyond our control helping him out. I wouldn't be surprised if he had his own superhero movie soon. I think Jefferson will be fine, but Mettenberger will be looking over his shoulder.
If the SEC wins another national title would the perception be enhanced if its a team like Arkansas or South Carolina? How unprecented would it be for one conference to have five different teams winning a national title in six years?
Edward Aschoff (4:56 PM)
The SEC is on top and I don't think it will really be enhanced, it will just make it scarier. The more champions you have coming out of your division the more fun. I wouldn't want to play the SEC ...
What's to talk about the Rockies? They took ACC boys (Kyle Parker and Russel Wilson). If they wanted to be relevant, should look toward those SEC boys again like Todd Helton as far as I'm concerned
Edward Aschoff (4:57 PM)
Seth Smith went to Ole Miss ... Listen, I'm excited about those guys, especially Parker, even if they did come from that conference ...
Will (Spokane, WA)
Ed, Many people in UK circles are speaking with a lot of confidence about thier up-coming season, saying this is the year they end the loosing streak to UT. Do you see that happening? How good of a year do you see Joker & company being able to put together after loosing key players like Cobb?
Edward Aschoff (5:00 PM)
Kentucky is looking for playmakers on offense and is installing a new, more complicated defense. With that said, the Wildcats are excited. Everyone up there appears to be pretty pumped about this fall and I think quarterback Morgan Newton should be just fine this season. I think the defense will have to grow up little by little this fall, but it will be better than it has been. Getting Tennessee at home will certainly help.
Edward Aschoff (5:00 PM)
Great chat today, guys. Hope you guys had as much fun as I did. Don't forget that Chris' chat Thursday.