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 noon ET!
Edward Aschoff (12:01 PM)
Hello, everyone. Fall weather is here, football is getting more exciting and things are getting pretty interesting in SEC country. Let's talk about it.
Steiner (Lafayette, LA)
Is it a reality that LSU can remain unbeaten throughout the 2011 Season?
Edward Aschoff (12:03 PM)
In the SEC, it's always tough, but that last two national champions did exactly that. With the way LSU is playing, the only teams I see getting in the Tigers' way is Alabama and ... LSU. If the Tigers start making mistakes on offense, then they could be in trouble. But I don't really see that happening. This unit is way more disciplined on offense than I expected and the defense is just unreal. If LSU gets by Alabama I could see the Tigers winning out.
Phillip (a stadium near you)
Edward,why didn't the refs go to the replay booth to check time on the clock at the end of the South Carolina Auburn game.they went to the replay booth at the end of the 2010 LSU Tennesse game and the best example is the 2009 Big 12 game to check how much time was left at the end of the game between Texas and Nebraska.What would it have hurt to check?
Edward Aschoff (12:05 PM)
The league said after the game that the refs did the right thing. A review by league officials showed that the clock should have kept ticking down. The refs got it right, but it should have never gotten to that point. That timeout shouldn't have been called when the Gamecocks could have just spiked it ...
Rank Tyler Bray and Tyler Wilson on who you think is the better player and who you think has a better future
Edward Aschoff (12:06 PM)
Well, neither has won the big game, but both have big arms. It's still too early to tell, but Bray has done more since arriving at Tennessee. I think Bray might have more arm strength, but he still needs to show that he can win big games.
Which Auburn team shows up on Saturday to play the Hogs?
Edward Aschoff (12:08 PM)
Who knows?? I picked the Tigers to beat Clemson and they flaked. I picked them to lose to South Carolina and they pull out a stunner at the end. Against Arkansas, this defense better hunker down and play like it did against South Carolina or it's going to be a long day with that offensive firepower. I know one thing; the mindset of this team is great right now and if it keeps it up it will surprise more teams down the line.
Clay (Birmingham, AL)
Edward, good call on Florida being more balanced than Alabama. Seriously dude, take off the gator glasses. Weiss is one-dimensional against legitimate opponents just like he was at Notre Dame.
Edward Aschoff (12:10 PM)
Hmmm not sure where you read that I said Florida was more balanced. Let's see, could it have been when I picked Alabama to win because the defense was too strong and better than Florida's? Was it when I said that Trent Richardson would wear down Florida's defense because he was the best back on the field? Was it when I said that Florida didn't have a downfield passing game with John Brantley (which I was wrong about)? Or was it when I picked Alabama to beat Florida? Oh, I already said that didn't I?
Mark Kohari (West Virginia)
is the SEC sincerely inviting WVU to join that conference? We keep hearing of a forthcoming announcement, and are keeping our hopes up but nothing has been said.
Edward Aschoff (12:12 PM)
The last I heard about that there were reports that the SEC shot down WVU. Now, Mike Slive said that he hasn't talked to any schools about being the 14th member. I honestly just don't see it with WVU. Not an AAU school and you don't really get that much of the Pittsburgh market. I still think there are better options out there. Could it happen? Maybe, but personally I don't see WVU as a top choice for the SEC at this moment.
Mexdawg (Puerto Vallarta)
Edward do you think my Dawgs have what it takes to win the East.I know they have to beat the Gators in Jax which is going to be a long shot but Fla has to play LSU,USC and Auburn.USC has to play ARK and FL. Dawgs still have FL and AUB.Who's your pick?
Edward Aschoff (12:14 PM)
I think with the issues Florida and South Carolina have right now, Georgia is looking more and more like the favorite, but the Bulldogs have to be Tennessee. If Tennessee wins, then the Vols could jump to No. 1 in our hearts. The East is just so average that I think this one will be wide open for a while. But Georgia has a great chance with a softer schedule remaining. Gotta clean up mistakes on offense though.
Jim (Charleston, SC)
Do you see the Gamecocks offense turning around at all with Stephen Garcia, or will Spurrier have to turn to some other solution for example the wildcat with Gilmore or Ellington?
Edward Aschoff (12:16 PM)
Honestly, I thought I saw improvement from Garcia early in the Auburn game and then he went back to his old bad ways in the blink of an eye. The problem is that he's done so poorly this season, but hasn't really been benched. That tells you what Spurrier thinks of his backups and the trust (or lack there of) he has in them. That's not a good sign, but maybe it's time to go in a different direction and figure out some other way to get going. Spurrier got pretty frustrated when asked about the wildcat a couple weeks ago, but I think the Gamecocks need more of it at this point.
Please tell me Spurrier will not let Garcia play anymore. I would rather we run the wildecat the rest of the year than watch him give the game away week after week.
Edward Aschoff (12:16 PM)
You and pretty much everyone else I saw in Columbia Saturday night.
Matt (Little Rock, AR)
We all know the last conference game between LSU and Arkansas is always up in the air on who wins. Several times, LSU has been on their way to a championship year just to have Arkansas "kindly" hand them a loss. What are the chances that Arkansas can "kindly" hand them another upset this year?
Edward Aschoff (12:18 PM)
If Arkansas' defense doesn't get healthy and doesn't improve, I just don't see it because I think LSU's defense is going to make this team one-dimensional. Arkansas still hasn't found a consistent running game and that is a major problem in this league. Now, I expect improvement by the Hogs, so that won't be a gimmie for LSU at all, but Arkansas is not the same team we saw last year and isn't as strong as we thought coming into this season.
Courtney (Union Springs)
Why want Auburn or Alabama play Troy State?
Edward Aschoff (12:19 PM)
Gonna have to ask them about that. Does Troy really want to play either of those teams right now though?
Alex (J-ville, Fl)
You have to give the Dawgs defense some credit for the improvement. They looked just as dominant against MSU as LSU did. The offense has 2 true freshmen in Crowell & Mitchell stepping up big, and if Murray doesnt turn the ball over, we seem to be clicking. You think Richt finally turned this thing around? what else do they need to work on?
Edward Aschoff (12:19 PM)
It won't be turned around until this team gets to Atlanta at the end of the year. Improvements have been made, but this is a long season.
Jamie Couch (Jonesboro AR)
Edward, do you think it is time for Arkansas and Willy Robinson to part ways? i realize that there are players injured and that Petrino is gonna get his offensive players first, but enough is enough!
Edward Aschoff (12:20 PM)
The defense just isn't as strong as we thought. Injuries have been an issue, and I understand that, but improvement has to be made. I'm not for calling for a coach's job, so I won't go that route, but the players have to do a better job.
Ed, watching Bama on TV its hard to see if the receivers are getting open down the field. Maze is always shown but is Hanks, Bell, White, and other wide receivers actually getting open downfield?
Edward Aschoff (12:21 PM)
Not always. These aren't real burners that Alabama has, but the offense doesn't really need that. Nick Saban works with a game-managing quarterback and a strong running game. His plan has worked so far, but I think this team still needs a deep threat to complement Maze. Hanks ain't bad though.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Is Tyrann Mathieu currently the frontrunner for the Jim Thorpe Award at this point in the season? If not, who's come close to his production so far?
Edward Aschoff (12:23 PM)
Mr. Mathieu is a beast. Every time I look up, he's doing something else that makes my jaw drop. He's probably the most athletic defensive back in the country. I wouldn't object to him being the frontrunner there at all.
Danny (Columbia, SC)
What changes are in the near future for SC? Hopefully a lot...
Edward Aschoff (12:24 PM)
Spurrier was pretty cryptic about it earlier this week, but I personally don't expect Garcia to start this weekend. I think Connor Shaw gets the start and Spurrier sees what he can do. Now, will he finish the game? Not sure. Also, expect some more wildcat.
your name Neal (Atlanta)
Can you comment on BAMA's inability to throw the deep ball
Edward Aschoff (12:25 PM)
McCarron hasn't needed to. I know it sounds boring but he really hasn't needed to. He doesn't have true deep threats to work with and the running game is just wearing down opponents. Nick Saban is going to win with what works and right now throwing the ball deep isn't part of the equation. His quarterbacks take what the defense gives them. Now, against LSU, I think the passing game has to improve because that front seven will be zeroing in on Trent Richardson.
AndrewGene (Central Arkansas)
With all of the injuries on defense and a brutal part of the schedule coming to a close, what do you think is a realistic expectation for the Hogs final record? 11-2?
Edward Aschoff (12:27 PM)
It could happen. Auburn will be tough because Auburn just finds ways to win somehow. And if South Carolina gets things together on offense that won't be a gimmie because Marcus Lattimore can run on that defense. But I think Arkansas can get 10 wins in the regular season. We'll see what happens in the bowl.
what is your opinion on UGAs 2nd half against Miss State?
Edward Aschoff (12:28 PM)
The offense wasn't in rhythm. The defense played very well throughout, but the offense stumbled along in the second half. Can't do that going forward.
How come no comment on the officiating of the SC Auburn game? Lattimore's "fumble", the not-a-penalty-intentional-grounding-penalty, Lutzenkirchen's fumbledown, and the last 2 seconds?
Edward Aschoff (12:29 PM)
Lutz play was correct. I never got a good glimpse of the Lattimore play.
Disappointed Gamecock (Columbia, SC)
I just dont understand it. South Carolina is undeniably loaded with talent on both sides of the both, with the exception of our enigmatic QB. Truth is, you don't need a superstar quarterback to win games. So the question should be, where does the REAL problem lie? Personally, I think it starts at the top. Spurrier has plenty of talented individuals at his disposal(offensively), but he has failed to create a system that utilizes our balance of power, speed, and ball catching. Instead, he throws Garcia 23 times, and runs Latti 17 times. None of our big play threats are even getting touches. Spurrier needs to look in the mirror
Edward Aschoff (12:31 PM)
I think Spurrier does need to take more of the blame. You're right. But at the same time, defenses know how bad Garcia is and they just wait for him to make mistakes. They can double-team Jeffery because they expect Garcia to rush or force passes to other receivers. They can load the box against Lattimore because they don't respect Garcia's passing ability. I think Spurrier should have yanked Garcia much earlier than he did. A few of your big-play threats have been inconsistent. Ace Sanders dropped a few balls last week and wasn't a factor this week. Guys can't wait for plays to come to them and I think South Carolina's receivers do that too much.
How long before Florida is back in the hunt
Edward Aschoff (12:34 PM)
Will Muschamp announced today that John Brantley is out against LSU. That means freshman Jeff Driskel will likely start against LSU ... ouch. So, with that news I think that Florida has to hope that Brantley can play again soon. If he's out for all of October, I think Florida's might not survive. A freshman QB in the SEC is a recipe for disaster. I'm not sure if Florida would be in the hunt any longer if the Gators don't win in October.
Edward, Can we go ahead and confirm now that it was a complete joke by the coaches to give Steve Spurrier the coach of the year over Gene Chizik? Chizik has now beaten Spurrier 3 times in the last year in 3 different states.
Edward Aschoff (12:36 PM)
You can't consider the future for past awards, so I don't think you can really make that argument. Spurrier took South Carolina to its first SEC title, so I have no problem with him winning, especially with everything he's had to work with at South Carolina. Chizik could have won and I wouldn't have minded either. Chizik won the national championship and I'm pretty sure he and Auburn are happier about that.
Jeff Burnett (Kansas City, MO)
Edward,What do you think Mississippi State needs to do to start moving the ball again? Is it execution? Play calling? The patchwork O-Line? I think its less coaching and more lack of execution. Thoughts?
Edward Aschoff (12:38 PM)
The execution is just not there. But this line has had to move a lot of people around because of injuries. This team just has to clean things up, but I also think that the receivers haven't played up to potential. Dan Mullen was so excited about having all that receiving talent and it really hasn't consistently showed up. And where is Chad Bumphis??? He's your best athlete, yet he can't seem to make plays. Again, you can't expect plays to be made for you.
Joey (Charleston, SC)
Ed,I hate to look ahead to even next week, as this season is far from over, but LSU is a young, talented team. Assuming they are the first 3-time BCS champion, they have to be the favorite for 2012, right?
Edward Aschoff (12:39 PM)
Pump the brakes my friend. Way too early. But there is a lot of young talent, so that's a good thing going forward.
Is there a team outside the SEC that can compete with LSU or Alabama for a national title, especially giving that these coaches will have a month to prepare for one single game?
Edward Aschoff (12:41 PM)
Oklahoma and Wisconsin are the only teams that I see that can. Sorry Boise. Sorry Clemson. OU has that smashmouth mentality to it and I love watching Wisconsin's offense because it can be flashy and tough. I'd still pick LSU or Alabama though. Just because they can compete doesn't mean they'd win.
Hey Ed not a gators fan but it was nice to see Debose Shine the way he was expected to when he signed back in 09 especially against a future 1st rounder in Kirkpatrick!! What say you Ed?
Edward Aschoff (12:42 PM)
Florida's coaches had to be happy, but when Debose scores a touchdown, Florida is 0-3 ... He still has a lot of growing up to do. He caught just one more pass after that 65-yarder. He shows up for a couple of plays and then he's gone. Still not the playmaker Florida expected.
Marcus (The Hill)
Which Hogs D shows up to the game Saturday vs Auburn? The one that gives up 35 pts in a half or the one that gives up 3?
Edward Aschoff (12:42 PM)
It depends on who is healthy. I think a mixture of both at this point. Too inconsistent to tell right now.
Matt (Athens, GA)
So, Georgia or Tennessee this weekend? I think it all depends on Georgia's offense playing 60 minutes of football instead of 30 minutes and Tennessee establishing a running game. Thoughts?
Edward Aschoff (12:43 PM)
You nailed it. Tyler Bray is gonna sling the ball around and Georgia has to be prepared for that. Having that distraction with Cornelius Washington certainly won't help, either.
Dustin (Tampa, FL)
Everyone talked about how good FL's front 7 are at stopping the run and Bama walked through them. Can you compare LSU's front 7 against FL's front 7? Realistically has LSU faced a power running team like Bama yet this year?
Edward Aschoff (12:44 PM)
LSU's is better, more athletic and tougher. It hasn't faced a power running game like Alabama's but it will in a month ...
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Ed, for Arkansas to build on their big comeback win on Saturday, and have a successful season, doesn't Bobby Petrino have to at least pretend the Hogs are a threat to run the ball. There is no way Wilson can continue to take that type of punishment. At times Arkansas ran at least ten pass plays in a row with no threat of running play. What gives?
Edward Aschoff (12:45 PM)
Losing Knile Davis hurt this team so much. There isn't a dominant or consistent running back in that backfield. And remember all the hype surrounding the depth? Well, now it has to shine and it hasn't produced enough. Petrino can try and pretend, but if the Hogs can't get it done he has to lean on Wilson more.
Joey (Charleston, SC)
Ed, how long before Heisman voters start seriously considering Tyrann Mathieu? Will we have to wait until LSU dominates Bama on Nov 5th before people start taking this kid seriously?
Edward Aschoff (12:46 PM)
I think he needs a few more touchdowns and takeaways. And that hasn't been a problem so far. But he's not a returner or on offense, so it will be hard none the less. Still, he's a fantastic player to watch.
I am not sure if LSU will be able to play with Tide. Is their offense capable of making plays against such a stiffling D? Also, if WVU can rack up over 500 yards, why can't Richardson and our O?
Edward Aschoff (12:47 PM)
Different teams call for different game plans. LSU still won that game by 20, right? It's gonna be hard, but LSU has the manpower capable of stopping Richardson. Just like Alabama has the defense to force Jarrett Lee to make a lot of mistakes.
Last years UF bama game and this years felt very much the same. both undefeated, lots of hype behind each team and bama leaving the game with a dominating performance. after last years game though we found out that UF was very oveartated as they finished out there season (at no time should they have been ranked in the top5 last year). should we expect to see a similar collapse now through out the remainder of the year?
Edward Aschoff (12:49 PM)
I think this team is better than last year's. The talent is improved and the mentality is different. This team isn't winning the SEC or anything, but I think you will see more fight out of it. Now, if Jeff Driskel has to play more and more, we could see more losses pile up, but I'm not sure this team will totally collapse this season. Eight wins wouldn't be a collapse for this team, especially with a new coaching staff.
Ed, say Bama wins it's game against LSU and finishes the season undefeated. However LSU wins out as well and finishes the season with one loss. What would it take for a rematch to occur in the BCS National Championship game (other than OU losing)? Does a one loss LSU get the nod over an undefeated Boise State team? Do you consider this to be a possibility?
Edward Aschoff (12:52 PM)
I pretty much started talking about this after Alabama routed Florida. I hope this happens because it should. There are no other teams that are even close to Alabama or LSU's stature. Period. End of discussion. Don't try to convince me otherwise because it ain't happening. LSU would need to win out, OU has to lose late, so does Wisconsin, and so does Boise State. Honestly, I would easily take a one-loss LSU or Alabama over Boise State. Basically, every team has to have one loss for this rematch to happen.
I heard an analyst say that Tyrann Mathieu is getting away with overplaying a TON, and will start getting beat for big plays. Thoughts?
Edward Aschoff (12:53 PM)
He is overly aggressive on plays and that could come back to haunt him against much more talented receivers, but I think he's running the game plan like his coaches want him to and he's been fine so far. Expect offenses to look at that more though.
The gators are currently 0-1 and 5 days from being 0-2 in the month of October any chance they finish 2-2?
Edward Aschoff (12:54 PM)
It's possible, but it will be hard. Auburn is a tough place to play and if Driskel is the quarterback it will be even tougher. Florida has the mental edge over Georgia, but again, if Driskel is the quarterback he better be much more improved and mature at that point.
Donnell (Baton Rouge)
Ed, do you think that LSU will take Florida lightly this weekend knowing that Brantley is not playing or do you see Chavis sending TM all day at the freshman QB and how may pts do you see FL putting up on that defense.
Edward Aschoff (12:55 PM)
Expect a lot of pressure on the kid. A lot, a lot, a lot. LSU is looking to run over, through and around people. There are no letdowns for this team.
Do you think Georgia and Tennessee finish 1-2 in the east in some order? I think Florida and SC just got majorly demoted
Edward Aschoff (12:56 PM)
Gotta see how Tennessee's defense plays from here on out. The Vols still have to play LSU, Bama, South Carolina and Arkansas. You can't just assume that South Carolina is a win because of the offensive issues now. That game is at the end of the month.
I'm excited about the Hogs being ranked 10th in the AP. Do you think that is just because anyone out of the top 5 are just ok teams and the top 5 can beat just about anybody? Or does Arkansas really deserve to be there?
Edward Aschoff (12:57 PM)
Honestly, I'm just not as excited about this team like I was at the beginning of the year. Injuries and inconsistency have hurt the defense and the offense can't find a suitable running game. I loved the second-half effort from Arkansas last week, but Texas A&M just finished giving the game back to Oklahoma. Arkansas has a ton of talent, but the defense and running game are issues for me.
was not some of the bad play from Garcia due to the Tigers finally s howing up on defense? O dop not think anyone expected that, in my eyes the loss was the entire SC offense and not just Garcia
Edward Aschoff (12:59 PM)
Sure. I though Auburn fielded a real defense for the first time all season (the FAU game doesn't count). That was absolutely a reason for the terrible offensive performance. But Garcia helped the defense out a ton too.
Ed- How can Arkansas be ranked #10? Granted I am a Razorback fan but even I can't understand. How can a team give up 38 points, and 381 yards rushing and move up 8 spots in the polls? Do you have an explanation?
Edward Aschoff (12:59 PM)
Other teams fell. I agree. I don't think Arkansas is a top-10 team either.
Chad (Louisville, KY)
I know UK football is not even on the radar, but any buzz about whether Joker keeps his job? I know 2 years is not a lot of time, but I would think the "coach in waiting" status sort of accelerates the amount of time given to see improvement, IMHO.
Edward Aschoff (1:00 PM)
I think he's going to catch a lot of heat as the season goes on because this team just can't do anything offensively. The line has been banged up and isn't producing. Morgan Newton has struggled mightily. This team just isn't that good and I don't see things getting much better. Phillips will hear it from the fans and beyond if this team doesn't make it back to a bowl, and I don't think it will at this point.
Edward Aschoff (1:01 PM)
Man, so many good questions today. Great time with you all. Talk to you guys next week.