Chat with Max Olson
Welcome to HornsNation! On Tuesday, writer Max Olson stops by to chat about everything Texas.
Olson joined ESPN in 2012 after covering the University of Nebraska for the Omaha World-Herald and high school and college sports for the World-Herald and Rivals.com. Olson is a University of Nebraska graduate and lives in Austin, Texas.
Send your questions now and join Olson Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Max Olson (3:01 PM)
Hey guys, welcome to today's HornsNation chat. Hope you're having a wonderful afternoon. Keep the questions coming! Now let's do this.
Who are all the Texas commits that are going to The Opening? Can any of them move up in the rankings with a great performance??
Max Olson (3:07 PM)
Tyrone Swoopes, Jake Raulerson, Jake Oliver, A'Shawn Robinson and Jacorey Warrick will in Oregon and I think all of them can move up. Swoopes can reestablish himself as a legit top-10 prospect. I know Raulerson has told me he can't wait to prove he's an elite offensive AND defensive lineman against some of those top-rated linemen. Jacorey Warrick is an ESPN 150 guy who can establish himself as one of the nation's top slot WRs. Robinson should probably be ranked a bit higher, too. And Jake Oliver, well, he's very underrated. He'll get to prove he has top-shelf speed and a dude who deserves ESPN 150 consideration.
What does Jake Oliver do to help himself this week at The Opening?
Max Olson (3:10 PM)
The answer is speed. That's the big question scouts have had about him. He's ranked No. 40 among WRs by ESPN and I know he's confident he's a top-10 WR. His production is impressive. But it comes down to speed. As his scouting report puts it: "If speed was higher, Oliver would likely be one of the very top WR's in this class."
Kenneth Faulhaber (Livingston Texas)
should my longhorns be considered for the big 12 title hunt
Max Olson (3:11 PM)
Yes. Texas and Oklahoma, if you ask me. West Virginia and TCU have loaded offenses, but I think their inexperience in this conference will cost them each a game or two they're expected to win.
I think the next month is so huge for Swoopes. Small town kid versus top talent. He's going to get some refinement on his technique and the Elite 11 experience should be awesome. What do you think?
Max Olson (3:15 PM)
Agreed, yeah. The thing I hear a lot about Tyrone from others is that once you get him on a football field, he's a really fun and vocal dude. I know he's a naturally quiet guy, but I do not think he'll be intimidated by playing alongside those top-ranked QBs like Max Browne, Christian Hackenberg and Shane Morris. Don't be surprised if he starts a little slower than some of those polished pro-style guys - remember, he's playing 2A-level football in Texas - but he'll finish strong and come home a much-improved thrower.
The Big XII blogger picked WVU to beat UT in Austin this year. Who you got and why?
Max Olson (3:17 PM)
I look at this and put the faith in Manny Diaz. Remember, this is a guy who - in his only year at Mississippi State - devised schemes to shut down Cam Newton and Denard Robinson. He's not afraid of a spread offense. I think WVU will look at the Texas-Baylor film as the blueprint for beating Texas over the top, and Texas' D will be much-improved in year 2 with Diaz. Give me Texas.
Kevin Sumlin (College Station, TX)
Ben, I'm on a roll with Walker recently given his verbal to the Aggie Nation. The Horns need to step up before I run away and hide. Who is the likely candidate to get you off the commit snide?
Max Olson (3:18 PM)
Kevin, nice of you to join us. My name's Max, but that's not important. I'd bet Texas locks up Andrew Billings or Caleb Benenoch as their next pledge.
Mike (Round Rock)
Any chance the UT commits talk RSJ into re-committing this week?
Max Olson (3:20 PM)
Good question. Raulerson and Swoopes just spent a weekend with him in Atlanta and now they get another chance to win him over. I don't think RSJ comes home recommitted, but I do think his on-field bond with Swoopes is going to be a big factor for Texas. Those guys are tight, and another chance to play together is a good thing.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
What a jump, by Marquise Goodwin! It amazing to think how much he improved in half a year. What are his chances at Gold? And if and when he takes up the Long Jump full time do you think he can set the World Record?
Max Olson (3:24 PM)
Gold is a tough goal. Goodwin's jump was terrific but it doesn't make him the world leader by any means. But I do think full-time long jump will be his future after he hangs up the cleats. Olympic-caliber talent is just something you can't squander.
Jose Cuervo (California )
Are the horns going to get another rb commit? If RSJ recommits, will the horns get another wr? Now that Daeshon Hall has defected, what LB are the horns looking at?
Max Olson (3:25 PM)
RB: No, I don't think so. Hicks is solid and there's some good 2014 guys they can get a jump on instead. WR: I don't think they need another one if RSJ rejoins the fold, but I wouldn't be shocked. LB: They're set at LB, but there's no question Texas needs another DE with Hall gone. They'll look at the JUCO ranks for one.
Concerned Citizen (Austin)
Two decommits in one year (so far). I know Hall wanted to be closer to his other home, but what is your take on this? Is Texas doing something wrong here?
Max Olson (3:27 PM)
Hall's situation wasn't about Texas, it was about his family and being close to home. Can't blame him for that. I don't think Texas is doing something wrong. That's just how it goes these days: Guys commit really, really early and have a lot of time to rethink their choice. Until they sign a LOI, opposing coaches will constantly be in their ear and trying to talk them out of a commitment.
if you were going to The Opening, 'cause i am :^), what would you watch for as a Longhorn fan?
Max Olson (3:28 PM)
You're a lucky dude, Christopher. Keep an eye on the Swoopes-RSJ connection and pay close attention to how Jake Raulerson battles with some of those top linemen. He's very hungry to prove he's one of the country's best.
CowboyKS (The Flatlands)
If the D is suppose to be that improved how was OSU able to beat UT so soundly last year?
Max Olson (3:30 PM)
So soundly? That game was a close one, especially after Weeden took that safety. Texas had a lot of opportunities in the 2nd half to take that game and they didn't do it. One thing that did stand out, though: OSU ran the ball really well out of the pistol and broke two big ones up the middle. Can't give away easy scores if you want to beat a top-5 team.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Drew working it in CBB, Sumlin taking care of business in football. Are the Longhorns at a crossroad where they need to really have a big season to cement their dominance. Especially in CBB where Baylor is dominating the in state talent that doesn't travel outside the borders. Ridley was a good start, but they need to land another huge recruit in 2013, agree?
Max Olson (3:33 PM)
That's a great way to put it: UT is at a crossroads. You had rebuilding years in football and basketball. Can't have many more of those. Big seasons would do wonders for recruiting, and this next class of basketball signees is a critical one because there's a ton of in-state talent up for grabs.
Brian (Albany, NY)
I get the sneaky feeling Marcell Harris is coming our way. What do you think?
Max Olson (3:34 PM)
He's managed to stay pretty quiet about this. You'd think if he was really sold on Florida or another in-state school he would've already pulled the trigger, right? Harris is expected to attend the season opener against Wyoming. He would be a huge out-of-state steal.
Let's be honest here... Unless one Texas QB steps up big time Texas doesn't sniff a bcs bowl. Am I correct or am I correct?
Max Olson (3:38 PM)
If David Ash throws 4 TDs and 8 INTs this year, Texas will not sniff a BCS bowl. No question about that. I'm still not sure how "big-time" Texas' QBs need to be to compete for a Big 12 title.
Jason f (frost tx)
How many players on both sides of the ball will leave early in next years draft. Who do you see staying even though they could leave early in the draft
Max Olson (3:39 PM)
Just pure speculation here, assuming every member of Texas' D plays up to their potential: I think Jeffcoat leaves but both of the corners stay.
Jose Cuervo (California )
I keep hearing that Steve Edmonds is "fat and slow". I also hear that Jalen Overstreet is overtaking David Ash. What is you assessment of these guys?
Max Olson (3:40 PM)
"Fat and slow" never came up when you talked to his teammates and coaches this spring, that's for sure. I don't think Bennie Wylie would tolerate that. I haven't heard that Jalen is overtaking Ash, but that would be a pretty incredible storyline if he's even with him come fall ball.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
If everybody who is Playing for Texas Longhorns in College Football in 2012 Returns to School for 2013 Will the Texas Longhorns be the Best Team in 2013?
Max Olson (3:42 PM)
I think Alabama will still be loaded, few schools can compete with the recruiting classes they've put together in recent years. I think Oklahoma will still be strong and have even better RBs. But yes, I think Texas will have the talent for a top 3-5 caliber team if everyone comes back.
As a UT student I can't wait for football season, and as a Seven Lakes alumni, how possible is it that Benenoch makes his way to Austin?
Max Olson (3:43 PM)
From my talks with Caleb Benenoch he's made it sound like it's going to be a close one between Oklahoma and Texas. It's very possible he goes with Texas. That offer and the red-carpet treatment he got from Mack and the staff at the June 10 camp was a dream come true for him. But OU is just as appealing, especially because he likes their history of putting linemen in the NFL.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Will Texas lose out on both defensive ends they've extended offers too? Or will Prevot pull the trigger and commit to the Horns?
Max Olson (3:46 PM)
Every time it seems like Prevot is done with Texas, he comes out and says they still have a shot. He's a polite dude so maybe that's just him being nice, but right now I still think LSU and maybe A&M are the teams the beat. Oregon will make a push, too, after he stops by following his trip to The Opening.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Does the presence of Brandon Moore in the middle pave the way for Jackson Jeffcoat to have monster year? Does he have a shot at First Team All American honors?
Max Olson (3:47 PM)
JUCO guys are no sure things in year 1, but I think Texas has found two good ones in Moore and Donald Hawkins. I do think Jeffcoat can be a monster this year, and Okafor too. If those guys are disruptive, it's going to make the secondary look even better too.
The QBs will need to be big time because while the defense may be good... It gave up a lot of points to good offenses and struggled to score if the rushing game faltered. You at least need 15-20 td to 8-12 ints for a championship season
Max Olson (3:50 PM)
Good points. There isn't a coaching staff in the country that would prepare for its game with Texas this year with the philosophy of 'let's let their run game beat us.' That box is going to be stacked constantly. Have to think that's why they're expanding Monroe's role, because they need a curveball for defenses that play the run. But if your defense can be truly elite you'll win more games than you should. Look at the 2009 Big 12 title game. Nebraska's offense had no business being in that game. Its QB's TD-INT was 14-10. Heck, they even tried to change QBs in the middle of the game. But they still had a shot.
josh (right here)
Lets get down to brass tax, and the game that still means the most. The hopefully much closer, RRSO. What's your prediction for this years meeting?
Max Olson (3:53 PM)
I'll just throw a prediction out there: Oklahoma wins 24-21. I'm tempted to call it an even lower-scoring game. I know it's a terrific battle every year, but this one will be really good.
Brandon (portland, tx)
who do you think is going to be the primary back this season? whos running the wildhorn?
Max Olson (3:54 PM)
I think Joe Bergeron will be the starting RB to begin the season, Malcolm Brown will finish with more carries and a true freshman - could be Overstreet, Gray, maybe even a guy like Marcus Johnson - will run the Wild formation.
I'm an OU fan and hate Texas. But, I'm weirdly scared of the game this year because of the secondary. Should I be worried?
Max Olson (3:58 PM)
Yeah, I think you should. I don't think Landry Jones is going to shred this secondary, and I don't think OU's running back stable is all that impressive. It's gonna be a close one. I won't be surprised if a few mistakes from Texas QBs open this game up late, but early on it's going to be a brawl.
How about Jake Raulerson? I've been reading that he's slowly gaining weight and is starting to look more the part of an actual lineman. I have concerns that he will not have the athleticism for defensive end, but think he would make a great DT or OT IF he can gain the needed size. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Max Olson (4:00 PM)
From talking to Jake and his dad, I know this: Bennie Wylie is not worried about the weight. A big part of that is his flexibility to play a lot of different positions, but Texas coaches want him to put on weight naturally. I personally think Jake could be a great tackle. That's where I would put him. But there's no sense in asking him to put on enough weight to play DT or center if you're not sure that's where you want to play him.
Do you think the Longhorns will go out of state for a DE. If so who would they look at. Also what is the lastest on the TE for Louisiana that likes Texas? Does the DB's out of GA and FL will they come to Texas?
Max Olson (4:02 PM)
I think they'll go out of state, but I also think Kewan Alfred from Trinity Valley C.C. might also be a reasonable solution. As for that TE, DeSean Smith, he committed to LSU this week. I'm sure he'll stick to that, but Raulerson did form a really good bond with him during their time together this month. As for the DBs, Marcell Harris will visit for sure and I bet Bell does too. There's still a chance.
Any news on brewer? Does he have more potential to be a better QB then ash?
Max Olson (4:03 PM)
I think Brewer has the potential to be a very, very steady QB, the kind of guy who can make all the throws. Ash probably has better athleticism and thus more potential as kind of a dual-threat guy. But I like Brewer's future.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Will Texas win out over OU for Cole Luke's signature?
Max Olson (4:04 PM)
If I had to make a prediction right now, I'd say yes. I think he's the most probably take of the remaining CB offers. We'll see if Texas coaches make him a major priority in the fall.
Max Olson (4:04 PM)
I'll take a few more questions, you guys have asked a ton of good ones today.
Will Texas suffer recruiting with aggie's jumping to sec?
Max Olson (4:05 PM)
If A&M was a threat to win an SEC title in the next couple years, maybe. But they're not.
Who's the number 1 recruit Texas has to get that's still not committed?
Max Olson (4:06 PM)
Ricky Seals-Jones, obviously. After him...one of the out-of-state safeties and a good DE.
Edgar (Dallas, Texas)
Just cannot understand why everyone says the SEC has better teams and talent. Are the Big 12 teams just one step below talent wise, coaching wise?
Max Olson (4:10 PM)
Last one here, and it's a loaded question. It really all depends on how you judge the conferences - do you do it by their top 4-5 teams or all of them? Simply put, I think talent-wise, yes, there is a gap between the SEC and the rest of the country right now. I don't think the SEC has significantly better coaching on the whole. They are darn good recruiters and they know how to develop their elite prospects, but that doesn't mean many Big 12 coaches couldn't thrive in the SEC.
Max Olson (4:12 PM)
All right guys, that's all I've got. Thank you for a really good chat and have an excellent and safe 4th of July. Here in Austin we don't get to buy or light fireworks. That is a major bummer. Anyway, thanks again, we'll do this again soon.