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 (12:03 PM)
Greetings after such a great sports weekend. I hope your brackets are doing well, unless I'm going against you in the SEC bracket challenge. It's that time of the week, so let's talk some SEC football!
Tim (Athens, GA)
Is anyone besides me taking the Missouri Tigers seriously? I see them capable of upsetting UGA in Columbia on Sept. 8. Your thoughts?
Edward Aschoff (12:04 PM)
I take that team pretty seriously. The offense has a chance to be pretty fun to watch this fall, but it will have to grow up in a hurry when it comes to facing SEC defenses. Speed and size are a little different in this part of the country. Being thin at CB won't help the Dawgs, but there are so many vets on that team that I doubt you'll see much of a letdown. I think that game will be very fun to watch.
Who will be the running back for UF when the season opens?
Edward Aschoff (12:05 PM)
I'll start with Mike Gillislee, but it sounds like Mack Brown had a pretty good weekend. He has to be more consistent and Gillislee has to learn how to pass block. Also, I expect Omarius Hines to get a lot of work this fall as a pass-catching RB.
I need to replace Ubbs and Big 12 twitter chatter with some SEC blogger content - what twitter handles do I need to follow?
Edward Aschoff (12:06 PM)
Glad you asked. You should all be following Chris (@ESPN_SEC), but he never uses it. He leaves that to the young guns. My handle is @AschoffESPN. I'm fun, engaging and smart. Follow me and tell your friends because I think I'm pretty entertaining :) Walking Dead fans are a must!
Jared (Columbia SC)
If Ellington does reverse his decision like he is considering how big of an impact does he play in the offense for the Gamecocks this year?
Edward Aschoff (12:08 PM)
I'm not sure because he wasn't a big factor last year on offense. He made a play here and there, but he was never a real threat in the passing game. He is so athletic and can do so much, but he just didn't blow up like a lot of people thought and I think he needs more time to concentrate on football in order to do that.
Michael (San Antonio)
Howdy Edward. Love the blog. I was wondering if you agree with Sumlin in regards to starting spring ball later than usual to allow the players more time with the S&C coach. The players need to learn a new system, and to me it seems like it would have been advantageous to start as early as possible.
Edward Aschoff (12:09 PM)
I do agree with it. He was concerned with the size and strength of players before spring ball started and he wants to make sure that his guys are ready to compete physically before they go through their first SEC season. He understands that depth is an issue at positions, but he wants to make sure his players have the toughness and stamina to get through a full season in the SEC regardless.
Knile Davis (Fayetteville)
Do you think my fellow SEC competitors realize how much I will dominate this year?
Edward Aschoff (12:10 PM)
Pleasure you having, good sir. I think people know what you're capable of. You won't be overlooked. Get ready for boxes to be stacked when you line up :)
What younger players do you see making an Impact this year for The Tide? Defensively, I have high hopes for Ha-Ha, on the other side of the ball, a healthy Dee Hart could possibly add a new angle to our backfield.
Edward Aschoff (12:12 PM)
I think both of those guys are players to keep an eye on. The coaches really like what Hart can do when he's 100 percent and he'll be a nice change-of-pace back. Also, Eddie Williams will be given the opportunity to compete early on offense at wide receiver. So will Chris Black. I also expect Adrian Hubbard to do well at the Jack linebacker spot this fall.
Jack (South Carolina)
Even with solid recruiting classes both Florida and Georgia still have small rosters (numbers wise). With the new recruiting limits in place how can these two teams add bodies ? Do you still see it as a possible issue for either team as depth has been a voiced concern for both coaches?
Edward Aschoff (12:14 PM)
If these small numbers continue it certainly will be. I think it's all about roster management and bringing in the right number of early enrollees. Attrition is going to happen, but it's all about not making it a serious issue for teams (like Florida and Ole Miss specifically). Coaches are smart enough to figure out the numbers, but a lot aren't happy about the cap in this league. It's going to take some getting used to. You'll see less players sent packing because they don't matchup physically with their classmates though.
Who are the starting 3 wide outs for Gators? How is Debose looking this spring?
Edward Aschoff (12:15 PM)
Right now I'd go with Debose, Quinton Dunbar and Frankie Hammond. Sounds like Debose is doing well. He needs to keep that consistency going because he's had a problem with it in the past.
Brian (Knoxville, Tennessee)
Hey Ed who are you most excited about seeing in ennessee's Spring Practice (Rookie, coach, or returning player)? Im looking forward to see how the offensive line works with those new offensive linemen that redshirted last year coming this year and making it look strong
Edward Aschoff (12:16 PM)
For Tennessee its Tyler Bray. I want to see how he is physically and mentally. I think he can be the best QB in the SEC at times and then can lose his focus. As for the rest of the league, Dee Hart is someone I'm excited about seeing. Also the QB battles at UF, Auburn and Ole Miss will be pretty fun.
Nick (Lafayette, LA)
Brey Cook was a highly touted lineman recruit for the hogs in 2010. However, it was a different freshman lineman who saw a bunch of snaps last season (Mitch Smothers, I think). Any word on how Cook is developing? Our buddy Knile Davis up there will need all the help he can get with defenses stacking the box whenever he is on the field. Thanks for your work!
Edward Aschoff (12:19 PM)
Well Cook is moving to tackle and Smothers is moving to guard. There is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to Smothers. Remember he was pulled against Alabama and moved inside. He worked inside before the Cotton Bowl as well. But he's a good one. He'll really help that running game with him moving inside because he's more comfortable inside. Davis should be in good hands with the line that Arkansas brings back.
Landon (mobile Alabama) [via mobile]
Which sec team would you consider the most underrated going into next season?
Edward Aschoff (12:20 PM)
Last week I said Auburn and I stand by that. Lot of a young talent that saw the field last year. Don't sleep on these Tigers!
Florida's biggest problem on defense last year was getting a pass rush from their ends, even in one on one situations. Has R. Powell stepped up into that roll, or are they expecting to get help from freshman D. Fowler JR?
Edward Aschoff (12:21 PM)
It sounds like Powell is at least bigger this spring. He needs to get a fiercer attitude if he's going to be a pass rusher. Also, Lerentee McCray is a guy who can really put the pressure on quarterbacks, but he's out this spring recovering from a shoulder injury. Fowler is someone the coaches are hoping to get work out of early this fall.
EJ Gaines is Mizzou's best CB is a really really long time...He was a playmaker for us against all of the spread offenses in the Big12. Do you see his impact changing either, either for the good, or the bad, now that Mizzou will face more pro-style offenses?
Edward Aschoff (12:23 PM)
Gaines shouldn't have problem making that sort of transition. He had a great year in 2011 because he played the ball so well. He broke up 16 passes last year. He only had two picks, but it isn't all about interceptions. Just look at Janoris Jenkins in 2010 or Dre Kirkpatrick in 2011. Gaines has had to face some pretty physical WRs in the past, so I think he'll be fine. Plus, there are more unproven SEC WRs this season, so that will help.
Kevin (Birmingham, AL)
Has there been any news about Duron Carter and whether or not he will be able to ever play?
Edward Aschoff (12:25 PM)
Still nothing official. He's suspended but he hasn't been totally ruled out to return this spring. He needs to do whatever he can to get on the field, that's for sure. Bama needs him and he needs to get back to going through the motions.
Jarrett Lee (Baton Rouge)
Is there any chance of another situation like myself and JJ and coach playing favorites happening with my tigers in the future?
Edward Aschoff (12:26 PM)
For LSU's sake, I sure hope not. It didn't seem so bad until the biggest game of the season. Funny how it works out like that ...
What happened to Mississippi State? Did they leave the SEC in football? I haven't heard anything about them from anywhere. Do they still have a few more years before they can make a difference, or do they have a shot at upsetting one of the Big 3?
Edward Aschoff (12:30 PM)
Spring practice is right around the corner. Everyone has been on Spring Break. I'm sure they were running routes on the beach though ... I really like the defense more and more each day. Those JUCO additions will certainly help. It's going to come down to the quarterback play again. It suffered last year because of injuries to the offensive line, but neither was ever great at any point of the season last year. Tyler Russell knows this is his team, so he has to take total command now. Also, those WRs have to do a better job of making big plays. This is Chad Bumphis' last chance at proving that he can be an elite receiver in this league. I'm telling you, Joe Morrow is someone to keep an eye on in the passing game.
I am hoping that the streak continues for the SEC with 6 National Championships in a row. I feel LSU has the best chance to win it for the SEC this year (as much as it pains me to say it). Who else do you think has a chance to be in the talk at the end of the season?
Edward Aschoff (12:33 PM)
Lucky number seven my friend! I really like LSU's chances because I think the offense will be better with Mettenberger at QB. Plus, the defense will still be very good, despite losing some big pieces. I also like Alabama. The defense will be younger, but not 2010 young. The offense will be fine without Richardson because AJ McCarron should be even better at QB this year and he'll have a lot of depth to work with at WR. Oh and Eddie Lacy ain't bad. Georgia and South Carolina are very similar to me and I think that if one really takes off it could win the SEC. Also, don't forget about Arkansas. The defense has to play much, much better, but the offense will be just as potent this fall.
I miss football!!!
Edward Aschoff (12:33 PM)
We all do. Good thing I have soccer every Wednesday night.
Ryan Miller (Dallas, TX)
Malcolm Mitchell was Freshman All-SEC and one of, if not the best Bulldog's receivers. With his impending switch to CB, could you see that hurting his WR game? A la less snaps in practice, etc.
Edward Aschoff (12:35 PM)
I worry about him physically because he's not only going to be delivering hits, but he's going to be tiring himself out from all that chasing around on the field. Now, he's in a little bit better shape than me (I'd like to see him run a marathon, though!) so that might not be as big a deal as a lot of people are making it, but the game is so much faster these days. It's going to be tough for him to be as productive as he was last year if he plays both ways.
What do you think about Kenny Miles staying at USC for the Gamecocks? Does USC have the best group of RBs in the SEC now with Lattimore, Miles, Wilds, Carson, and Davis?
Edward Aschoff (12:37 PM)
It's pretty good. Georgia, Auburn and Alabama are pretty good too. Miles coming back is big for South Carolina because we still aren't sure when Lattimore will be ready to go. It sounds like he'll be fine this fall, but that isn't guaranteed. He did very, very little last year, but I think he'll help push Wilds and Carson this spring and fall. Great depth for the Gamecocks.
Has Omaris Hines ever played running back before? Also, is he quick?
Edward Aschoff (12:38 PM)
He's pretty fast and athletic. He's a big body as well. He was an athlete in high school, so I'm sure he'll be fine. He has had a few nice runs in his Gator career, so I wouldn't be shocked if he did well in UF's offense. If nothing else, it adds another good receiving threat underneath.
What are you hearing about Mettenberger during Sprng practice? Also did you see LSU signed a 340lb 6'6" OL???
Edward Aschoff (12:39 PM)
What are parents feeding their kids these days???? Good grief. That's pretty big. It sounds like Mettenberger is improving with every practice. It's going to take him some time to really get comfortable, but I think he's going through the motions just fine this spring.
When can we expect the NCAA decision on the Gamecocks violations?
Edward Aschoff (12:40 PM)
Because South Carolina was very proactive with this I don't see the NCAA dropping the hammer or anything on the program. Something will surely happen, but I don't think it will be major at this point. But if the NCAA finds more then things could change. For now, I think South Carolina's actions will go a long way with the NCAA.
If SEC were publicly traded companies, who of the 14 would you invest in for the most gain in 3 years?
Edward Aschoff (12:42 PM)
That's tough because I think there are a handful of teams that could make runs in this league. Alabama, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina and Arkansas are all teams that you think of first, but I think Florida will be back to competing for the SEC in the next year or two. Tons of talent in Gainesville. Keep an eye on Auburn as well ...
Who are the top 5 O Lines in the SEC next year? Including TAMU (remember no ampersand) and Mizzou if necessary.
Edward Aschoff (12:45 PM)
When totally healthy: Barrett Jones, DJ Fluker, Alvin Bailey, Larry Warford, Elvis Fisher/Josh Dworaczyk. Tough call right on the spot but that's what I got.
What team do you see eventually dethroning the SEC as national champions (very far down the road hopefully)?
Edward Aschoff (12:46 PM)
USC might have the best shot. I know SEC fans would hate that, but Lane Kiffin has that program looking pretty good. Oregon has the speed, but needs the size. If Texas can come back the Horns will be a team to watch. If OU learns how to win big games the Sooners could be on that list too.
With Connor Shaw and Marcus Lattimore coming back, plus most of the defense back, whats the over-under on the gamecocks number of wins this year?
Edward Aschoff (12:47 PM)
Last week I said at least 10 wins for this team. I stand by that this week.
Big EL (Bahrain )
Ed, I'm stationed overseas and follow the Gamecocks (and the chats) as much as I can...A few days ago; I noticed UNC got hit pretty hard by the NCAA...Any idea on how the meeting in regards to South Carolina went? I know we (the Gamecocks) catch a lot flack however; we have a chance to do something really special this year. Your thoughts?
Edward Aschoff (12:49 PM)
Hope you're doing well over there! Come home safely! Like I said earlier, South Carolina's proactive take on everything will only help. Things have been so quiet with it that it's hard to tell which way the NCAA will go, but I just don't think it will be as bad as UNC.
Justin D (Atl)
UF hasn't had a D-line that has forced opposing offenses to change their game plan since 08-09. What do you think the chances are of Bullard and Fowler being the next Cunningham/Dunlap combo?
Edward Aschoff (12:50 PM)
It's a little early for those sort of comparisons, but I think that if these two can live up to the hype, they'll certainly help the Gators when it comes to creating a decent pass rush. That's something Florida has really struggled with. Lerentee McCray and Ronald Powell will be relied on heavily for that as well.
What have you heard about D. Easley injury? I know he is out for spring but is that because he is unable to play or they just don't want to take any chances?
Edward Aschoff (12:51 PM)
I've been told that the staff expects him back this fall, but you have to be careful with knee injuries. He is arguably Florida's best lineman, so the coaches are going to want him to be as healthy as possible. for the fall because he's so disruptive up front.
Doug (Rome, GA)
I'm actually no too worried about the roster size for my Dawgs. Of our 8 commits so far for 2013, 7 are EEs and we can sign up to 30 when you back count schollys. Plus, Georgia is LOADED with 2013 prospects; many say this is the best ever HS class in GA. Your thoughts?
Edward Aschoff (12:52 PM)
Georgia is always loaded with players. Come on! Everyone knows that :) I'm telling you, coaches aren't thrilled about the new rule, but they'll figure out ways to fix their rosters. It won't be an overnight thing, but it will happen.
mORGAN (aTLANTA )
wHAT FRESHMEN SHOULD i LOOK OUT FOR bESiDe Marshall
Edward Aschoff (12:55 PM)
WR Shaq Roland at South Carolina, WR Eddie Williams at Alabama, OL DJ Humphries at Florida, WR Ricardo Louis at Auburn, Dorial Green-Beckham at Missouri and QB Patrick Towles at Kentucky just to name a few.
I haven't seen anyone talking about the Rutgers vs Arkansas matchup. What kind of game do you see being played and does Rutgers stand a chance?
Edward Aschoff (12:57 PM)
Hey, Rutgers isn't scared of anyone. Period. With that said, I'm not sure if Rutgers' defense can keep up with Arkansas' passing game. And the game is in Fayetteville. Rutgers also has a new coach. Gonna be tough. I like the matchup because its an SEC team stepping out of its comfort zone to play a solid BCS school. Take note SEC!! It's not that hard!
Alex (College Station)
Which quarterback do you believe will win the starting position this fall for my Aggies?
Edward Aschoff (1:00 PM)
Ah, I forgot to add this battle to my list of fun spring things to keep an eye one. This one should be fun because everyone is young and that means they'll do WHATEVER the coaches tell them to do, which is great for Kevin Sumlin. I think Jameill Showers is someone everyone will be keeping a close eye on. He can run and pass, so that's always a plus, no matter what offense you run. I'm not sure which one fits Sumlin's QB mold, but Matt Davis could be that guy. He's getting a head start by enrolling early. Gonna be fun to watch.
Bill Clinton (Razorback Country)
Love your blog Ed, The razorbacks are going without Alonzo Highsmith for a couple weeks, but I really like putting Tank Wright at LB, Arkansas has had trouble stopping the run, and having Tank behind our already potent D-Line seems like a good idea. Petrino has been talking about how we have so much talent on the D-line that he was looking into finding a way to get all of them on the field.Do you think the Razorbacks should put Tank at LB, with his run-stopping ability, but lack of pass defense in the middle?
Edward Aschoff (1:04 PM)
You know I hadn't thought of that. I see him so much more as a pass rusher though. He's so fast off of the line and would have shown more last year if he hadn't have been injured. I'm not sure you want to put him in the middle, but moving him to OLB wouldn't be bad because he's basically one anyway. He already weighs 252 pounds, so it's not like he'd be too small to play in the middle. It's an interesting concept you bring up though.
Edward Aschoff (1:04 PM)
OK guys. Great chat as usual. Talk to you all next week!