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)
Greetings! I hope everyone had a good weekend with all that great basketball on the tube. But let's turn our attention to the SEC as spring ball really starts to heat up.
Bama Fan (Denver)
Edward, what do you expect from the Alabama defense this year? A repeat of 2010 (i.e. two-three losses) or a surprise challenge for Nick's third national title in 5 years? Thanks for your insights!
Edward Aschoff (12:03 PM)
I don't expect this unit to look exactly like the 2010 one. This one is made up mostly of juniors and seniors, not the young pups that took over back then. Plus, these players have a bit of a chip on their shoulders right now. They know everyone is talking about 2010, but they expect to be better and have the goal of being better than last year's defense. That's a tall order, but you have to like the confidence. I expect it to be better than 2010, but I'm not about to say it will equal or surpass last year's. That was historic. Alabama will be good on defense, but there will be some hiccups here and there and that's just natural with all those studs gone.
Did you see the ESPN SportsScience piece on Melvin Ingram. The man is a BEAST! Is he a Top 10 draft pick?
Edward Aschoff (12:04 PM)
I haven't seen it, but he is a beast. I'd take him without hesitation if I were near the end of the top 10. He can play linebacker and defensive end. Reminds me of DeMarcus Ware.
What do you about Ace Sanders changing his number from 9 to Alshon's 1?
Edward Aschoff (12:05 PM)
That's a lot of responsibility. You have to wear No. 1 proudly. I think he can take on that responsibility but will he be thee player Alshon was? No, but few will be. I think Sanders knows he has to step his game up this year, starting with the spring.
Kyle (St Louis)
Do you think Mizzou will ever be able to battle for the top tier recruits down in SEC country?
Edward Aschoff (12:07 PM)
Eventually, yes. Missouri did well by getting a couple players from the southeast in its recruiting class this year and I only expect that to continue now that the Tigers are in the SEC. It's all about building relationships with coaching staffs and Mizzou is a little behind in this part of the country. It will take a little time, but Missouri will once it focus more attention to this part of the nation.
Edward, what do you expect from Mississippi State this year: a better-than-mediocre season as always expected or season with unfulfilled hopes and dreams like this past one?
Edward Aschoff (12:09 PM)
I expect this team to be better than last year's. There will be more passing with Tyler Russell back there and I think the running game will be just fine, even with Vick Ballard gone. I think there will be a little more pressure on the defense and there are some holes to fill, but there is quality at each position. Eight or more wins wouldn't surprise me at all.
If Connor Shaw has continues to build off the end of last season (which all indications are saying he is), do you think he could be the top dual threat QB in the conference this year?
Edward Aschoff (12:10 PM)
He could be, but he'll have to compete with James Franklin. He might be the most athletic quarterback in the conference. Watching those guys compete will be pretty fun. The funny thing is that both want to get away from running the ball as much and want to be pass-first guys.
What's Hazing? (Fayettenam)
Hey Ed, want to join a fraternity? But really, Tyler Wilson and Knile Davis, I'm setting the over/under at 50 TD's. What you taken?
Edward Aschoff (12:12 PM)
Frats aren't my thing. But thanks for the offer. Let's see, Wilson could pass for more than 30 TDs, but I don't know if Davis will have 20-plus TDs combined. I could see that happening if Wilson gets to the 35-or-more mark in TD passes, which he very well could. But with Davis carrying the ball he'll eat into Wilson's numbers in some way, and that's not a bad thing at all.
Edward, pleasure hoping on over to the SEC Blog from Ubbens... First off, I like your work, and appreciate the coverage you have given thusfar to the Aggies. My question is what do you think the ceiling on wins is for the Aggies in their first year in the SEC? Also, where do you see the Aggie football program in 5 years? More of a LSU & Bama or more of an Arky? I personally think the Aggies ceiling is much higher in the long run than the Hogs. Thanks in advance!
Edward Aschoff (12:15 PM)
Talking trash with the Hogs? Dangerous, my friend, but I like the confidence. You know I think that if Texas A&M can be successful in recruiting the southeast, the Aggies will be fine. It will be tough early because they lose a lot from last year, but I think that having the Texas market is going to help bring in more kids from Florida, Georgia and Alabama. You have Louisiana already and I know that Kevin Sumlin doesn't want to get too far out of Texas, but he'll have to hit the southeast in someway in order to keep up with his new foes. I think six to eight wins is probably where Texas A
Dash-I love your chat and your blog you are awesome. I think Muschamp is on the hot seat, what do you think?
Edward Aschoff (12:17 PM)
Well, I am awesome, no matter what my rivals might say! I don't think that Muschamp is on the hot seat this season. Not at all. This program wasn't in great shape when he arrived. He's done a pretty good job in the recruiting department and he still has to get "his" players in. He'll obviously need to take some steps in the right direction this fall or his seat will start getting more attention.
Phillip Fulmer (oxford)
Do you think Hugh Freeze is on the hot seat yet for his mediocre recruiting class?
Edward Aschoff (12:18 PM)
Are you related to THE Phillip ... never mind. Absolutely not. He hasn't even coached a game yet. Plus, that recruiting class wasn't bad.
Ed, I'm personally tired of the LSU players coming out and saying how the coaches blew the BCS title game by not sticking to the game plan. I didn't see ANYTHING working for their offense that could've changed the outcome...did you? If so, what could they have done to have any success?
Edward Aschoff (12:19 PM)
I saw plenty. How about getting away from the option? How about putting Jarrett Lee in? Using that stable of running backs to run down the defense instead of trying to get to the outside on every single play? A lot could have and should have changed.
Dash- I don't know bout dis Hog team...That D scares me, do you think there will an improvement? Also, our O Line was suspect last year..since we lost Peacock to credit card theft..it might be hard to protect Wilson, what is your take on that as well?
Edward Aschoff (12:24 PM)
I still like Arkansas' offensive line. I'm not sure how long Peacock will be out, so he could return. I think Alvin Bailey is going to be a real player in this league. Brey Cook needs to improve, but the coaches like his potential and Swanson is a junior. I think the OL will be fine this fall and that will help everything click more on offense. The defense has questions, no doubt about it. Paul Haynes has a lot of improving to do. He needs to make this defense much more aggressive as well. It's tough losing all those seniors, but there is talent there. I'm in wait-and-see mode with Arkansas' defense.
Cahart (The Blog)
Hey Ed still waiting for you to pop that collar. Can you please inform the rest of the bloggers that my UGA team will win the SEC being better than LSU, Bama, and Arky. I mean come on look at all the talent we return.
Edward Aschoff (12:26 PM)
No. Popped. Collar. But I like the persistence. Shows dedication. You guys do have talent, but you had it back in 2008 too. Now I know that was a while ago and this is a new team, but when the expectations are high in Athens, something funny happens. Aaron Murray has to do better in big games, and he knows it. The defense has to live up to a lot of hype. And Isaiah Crowell has to get tougher. Georgia will be a favorite in the East, but South Carolina is still bitter about last season. Murray said it himself that you don't win on talent alone ...
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Is Dee Hart participating in spring drills? If so, what is the word out of Tuscaloosa?
Edward Aschoff (12:27 PM)
It sounds like he is and he's getting his shot at the No. 2 spot at RB. He'll be a good change-of-pace back for the Tide.
Morgan (Kingston, RI)
Do you believe T.J. Yeldon can come in for Alabama and have an impact as a true freshman? Roll Tide
Edward Aschoff (12:28 PM)
With the way that Alabama runs the ball, he'll get his chance to get some carries this fall. Will he be a major impact? I don't think so because there are a few good bodies in front of him.
Ed, I really dont' see Auburn improving much. What do you think their #1 concern should be heading into this season?
Edward Aschoff (12:30 PM)
I think Auburn will. That team was able to pull out some close ones at the beginning of the season before the youth just tired out halfway through the season and the competition got tougher. The QB spot is going to garner the most attention and I think that's the most important battle this spring for the Tigers. They have to find a more confident quarterback to lead them or they won't improve. The offense and defense return a lot of young guys who played last year, so that's a good thing. I'm telling you, don't sleep on Auburn ...
Hoggy Style (The Blog)
Ed I am seriously tired of people doubting my razorbacks. Especially the newcomers to the SEC. I feel like we get LSU and Bama at home this is our Year to be the SEC's 7th National Champion. What's your take?
Edward Aschoff (12:31 PM)
I don't know how much being at home will really matter when LSU and Alabama come to town. Those teams don't scare easily. But it never hurts to be at home. If the defense comes around this team will be very dangerous. The offense is the most explosive in the SEC, but everything hinges on the defense, in my opinion. Not ready to crown the Hogs national champs, but if the D and O are on the same page they'll be in the running for the SEC at the end of the season.
PRT (Marengo County, AL)
War Eagle Ed. You going to make it to Auburn for a game this year? I got a dog and an adult beverage with your name on it if you're coming!
Edward Aschoff (12:32 PM)
It's so close to the ATL that there's no way I won't make it my friend.
Ed - if you ever need someone to research any statistics for you, they are my specialty. for instance, everyone says A.J. McCarron just hands it off to Trent Richardson, but did you know that 41.67% of Bama's plays this year were passes? I wouldn't call a 58-42 split a "run-only" offense, would you?
Edward Aschoff (12:33 PM)
Impressive. Hey, if I had Richardson I'd probably be 90-10 rushing and that 10 percent would be passing it to him.
David Ruffin look-alike (Birmingham)
Dash - what number chance do you give my Tide to repeat this year? I'm thinking around 50-50. what say you?
Edward Aschoff (12:34 PM)
I have to go lower. Defense loses a lot from last year and it's always tough to repeat. Look at Florida in 2009. Plus, LSU might have the most talent this year ...
What will be the biggest challenges this year in keeping the SEC from a seven-peat national title?
Edward Aschoff (12:36 PM)
You just have to think the steak will end at some point. Does LSU have the offense to make it back? Does Alabama have the defense to make it back? Is this USC's year? And so on. I like what the SEC can do this year and next year. But it will have to stop one day ... right?
Ed - Do you think that Auburn's defensive struggles last year were philosophy or talent? Do you think Van Gorder will get us back to the dominant defense we're used to?
Edward Aschoff (12:38 PM)
Most of those players were awfully young. It's always tough to throw inexperienced guys out there in the SEC of all conferences and expect really good results. But that reflects on coaching as well, so I think it was a mixture of both. VanGorder has been here before. He'll know what to do and he has a lot of young talent to work with that saw pretty good playing time last year. Dominant? No. Better? Yes.
Chelsey Grammer (New York)
Ole Miss had 17 recruits and some of those were Juco's... How can you say this was a good recruiting class especially after the academic and discipline problems ole miss has had?
Edward Aschoff (12:40 PM)
Freeze got two of the top players in the state of Mississippi, and getting JUCO guys isn't always a bad thing. It's something Ole Miss needed with all that attrition it had. Was it a great class? No, but it was pretty good for a first-year coach with barely any time to work on a class and is stepping into pretty tough situation.
What are the odds of Tennessee being able to compete in the East this year?
Edward Aschoff (12:42 PM)
I talked to Tyler Bray earlier this morning and he feels pretty confident in the offense this year. When people are healthy, this offense can be potent and it was like he wanted to say it might be the best passing game in the SEC, but he hesitated. It can be if his weapons are a full speed mentally and physically. I think the defense has to build off of last year and everyone has to buy into all the new changes. Seven new assistants is tough to work through. There are still some questions all over, but a lot of the guys who played last year and playing again this year and that helps. Tennessee can compete in the East this fall and I think if things click the Vols will frustrate East opponents this year.
Jon Doe (Anytown, USA)
What type of year does Lattimore have this year? I'm saying right around 1000 yards, but nothing smashing. It's tough to run with that anger the first year back from that injury...
Edward Aschoff (12:44 PM)
It really depends on how healthy he is and how confident he is in his health. That was a pretty serious knee injury, but the coaches say he's ahead of schedule. If he's healthy he'll easily pass 1,000 yards. He almost did before he was injured last year.
Does Arkansas Missouri start a new border war? They make great natural rivals considering how we think they are all a bunch of yankees and they think we're rednecks (a bold statement from a state that gave us Branson). Does Missouri ump to the west or will they replace South Carolina as our every year Eastern foe?
Edward Aschoff (12:45 PM)
I love rivalries. Anyway to make a new one is fine with me. I think Arkansas and Missouri would be great rivals and TJ Moe said as much earlier this year. Plus, I'm sure Arkansas would love to shutdown Dorial Green-Beckham. I say do it!
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Will Connor Shaw be able to deliver the ball more consistently than the troubled Stephen Garcia next season? And who will help Sanders fill the void left by Jeffrey's early departure?
Edward Aschoff (12:47 PM)
I think he will. He seemed much more settled in the pocket toward the end of last season. That's big for a guy who wanted to run before even thinking about throwing the ball for most of the season. I expect Alshon's brother to step up, but I'm really excited about Shaq Roland. I think he can be very good in this league and he could really help this offense early.
Robert Goulet (GA)
Hello there Dash, how do you see Crowell and Marshall pairing together? And could they be a very deadly duo like Auburn had in 2004 with Brown and Williams?
Edward Aschoff (12:49 PM)
Crowell is more of a power back than Marshall, so they could complement each other well. I think Marshall will be used more in the passing game because when he gets in space he's pretty tough to bring down because of his elusiveness. If Crowell can get things together and Marshall gets the offense down, this could be a pretty good duo this fall.
Ed, who do you think will take the trophy for the inaugural year for the Battle of Columbia?
Edward Aschoff (12:50 PM)
Right now I'll go with South Carolina because of that defense and the Gamecocks will be at home. I think James Franklin can cause some problems for that defense, but there is just so much speed on the outside at South Carolina that I think the Gamecocks win Game 1.
Mark J (Jeff City, MO)
How worried should Mizzou fans be about James Franklin's shoulder injury? All reports say he should be ready by the start of fall camp, but he is going to miss some valuable time meshing with his receiving corp this summer.
Edward Aschoff (12:51 PM)
I think the shoulder will be fine, but you have to believe he's missing some valuable practice time. You're spot on when it comes to meshing with WRs, but he did get some extensive time with them after the bowl game with a bunch of 7-on-7 sessions. I also wonder if any new wrinkles will be added before he comes back.
Mike (Shreveport, LA)
Serious question do you think Mettenberger is the next Brantley? A lot of hype and never really living up to it or is he the guy LSU needs to make it back to the NC and actually win this time?
Edward Aschoff (12:54 PM)
You know that's a pretty good question. But I'll say right now from the interactions I've had with both that Mettenberger has way more confidence. Brantley never had the kind of confidence Mettenberger has. Plus, Mettenberger isn't replacing Tim Tebow. He's replacing Jordan Jefferson. So there is no pressure to live up to his predecessor. That will go a long way mentally.
Dash, who's your top impact true Freshman
Edward Aschoff (12:55 PM)
Dorial Green-Beckham. I think he'll come in and get a lot of playing time early. Missouri still needs that big-time playmaker in its passing game and DGB could be that guy. Also, Shaq Roland at South Carolina has a chance to make a big impact on South Carolina's offense at WR.
Big Fish (Tennessee)
Ed... Preciate the chat! Marlin Lane was a highly rated recruit coming out of high school but was passed on by a couple of schools because he was coming off of a knee injury. Now 2 years removed from injury... Do you think he has what it takes to be the stud in the backfield that my vols so desperately need? Thanks, good day sir!
Edward Aschoff (12:57 PM)
He has the physical tools to do that -- and Tennessee needs him to. Lane and Rajion Neal will have every opportunity to win the starting job this spring. I give Lane the advantage because of his past. He's big and fast, but needs to be much more consistent and tougher when he runs. This spring is big for him.
Jared (Cola, SC)
How long until we hear from the SEC offices what the 2013 and beyond format will be? and your bet?
Edward Aschoff (12:58 PM)
Could be this summer. Could be during the season. Could be after the season. I think they want to figure out how this season goes, first. But Mike Slive is very proactive, so if he decides he wants to take care of it earlier, he will. My bet is that it's after the season because they want to see how this season goes first.
Art (Athens, GA)
Not going to lie, I am very nervous about my dawgs first road game against Missouri. The suspensions combine with their offensive style make it look like a trap game early in the year(when we like to loose). Do you think we can sneak out of there with a W?
Edward Aschoff (1:01 PM)
Having some missing bodies at CB is a concern, but with Mitchell moving there the position will really get a boost. He knows his way around a secondary. Georgia has more talent right now than Missouri, but that's going to be a tough game. That place is going to be rocking for the first SEC game. No prediction right now, but it should be pretty fun. I don't think Georgia's secondary will be in awful shape with Mitchell back there.
atl olemiss terrell (atl airport)
Hey Ed, if the rebs sign robert dkemniche, will teaming him with the young talented espn 150s we got make us serious contenders?
Edward Aschoff (1:02 PM)
Still a long way to go even if he does sign with Ole Miss. One player can do it alone. Ole Miss needs much more than just the top high school player, but it would be a step in the right direction.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Will Tyler Bray and Da'Rick Rogers mature as leaders this season to help the Vols get to 8 or 9 wins, and save Dooley's job?
Edward Aschoff (1:04 PM)
Bray told me his No. 1 focus this spring is on being a better leader. He said he wasn't a good one in the past and that has to change if this team wants to improve. He's putting his team on his back now and I think that Rogers will follow. Both of them have to step up because the heart of this team has been questioned and that's NEVER good in sports. Eight or nine wins will definitely make people in Knoxville feel a lot better about the program.
Edward Aschoff (1:04 PM)
What a good chat. I couldn't keep up with all the questions. Great talking to you all. I'll see you all next time.