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 4 p.m. ET!
Max Olson (5:16 PM)
Welcome to this week's HornsNation chat, and thanks for joining us. Bring on your Texas questions.
Does Deloss' nightmare come true? Ags and Horns primed for Cotton
Max Olson (5:20 PM)
Ha, I wouldn't call it a nightmare exactly but you know that's really a no-win situation for Texas. If Texas takes on A&M in a bowl game and loses, they'll have to deal with proud Aggies who say A
Bob (San Antonio)
Who has the better chance at a Heisman in the future: Ash or Gray?
Max Olson (5:21 PM)
That is a really interesting question. When I went out to Belton earlier this summer to write a feature on Ash, the folks there were very confident that Ash would blossom into a guy who could win national titles and go to New York for the Heisman ceremony. And everyone knows Gray is the kind of prolific back capable of getting that consideration. I'd say Gray has a better chance of doing it someday, but that would require both a top-5 Texas team and an extremely strong statistical year.
Max, Where do you see the Longhorns at the end of the season?
Max Olson (5:23 PM)
I see Texas having a shot at the Cotton Bowl if they knock off ISU and TCU. This team has enough talent to finish 10-3 in the end. I still believe that. But 9-4 might be more probable.
Gary (The Woodlands, TX)
Whats the word on J Hicks getting a medical redshirt?
Max Olson (5:25 PM)
He's still battling to get back on the field, but at this point if I were him I'd start considering it. Obviously he's not going to be satisfied with this season even if he does come back for a couple games, and even then he won't be at full strength. Two more years in Austin would do his draft stock a ton of good.
Gary (The Woodlands, TX)
Biggest threat ISU brings to the table this Saturday?
Max Olson (5:29 PM)
Paul Rhodes is the biggest threat. He has that team ready to go week after week, and they know how to keep games close and capitalize if their opponent makes mistakes. Simply put, Iowa State is the kind of team Texas doesn't want to play at 11 a.m., because if the Longhorns start slow ISU will take advantage.
Can you remember Mack being so happy over a regular season win?
Max Olson (5:30 PM)
Mack was asked that question on Monday and joked that he was as happy after the Tech game as he was after the 4th-and-6 conversion late against KU and after the game-winning TD vs. KU. He claimed he's usually that happy. But you're right, Mack made it very clear this win meant a whole lot. He knew what a loss likely meant.
Stephen (Seattle, Wa)
Im sure everyone can be please with Ash, but what challenges are we facing in a decent ISU team and a very capable TCU team? What are the deciding factors?
Max Olson (5:32 PM)
The deciding factor in my mind is consistency. Texas has proved it has an offense that is capable of putting up 40 points in games. If they keep this strong play going they can beat both of those teams easily, but the UT defense needs to keep getting better and better. That defense can make any game closer than it should be, but there's enough talent that games like the one against Tech (22 pts) should be the expectation, not the anomaly.
Travis C. (Lake Highlands)
Who will be the next Big 12 team to win the national championship, and in what year?
Max Olson (5:33 PM)
Texas A&M in...no, just kidding. If you're judging this by programs, I think it's Oklahoma or Texas. I guess I'll say Texas in 2014.
Stephen (Seattle, Wa)
Which Offensive and Defensive recruits...do you 'think' will be ready to go day one when they hit campus.not including the early starts..like MBrown and Gray, and Daje have done.
Max Olson (5:35 PM)
The immediate contributors, in my mind, are: TE Geoff Swaim, OL/DL Jake Raulerson and C Darius James or DT A'Shawn Robinson, if he sticks to his Texas pledge. I think all of those guys can help right away.
Travis C. (Lake Highlands)
Who will make more money in the NFL: David Ash or Johnny Football?
Max Olson (5:37 PM)
That is a really good question. Manziel is listed at 6-1, meaning he's 6-0 at best. For him it's all going to depend on how much of a balance passer he can become. I think the kid has a killer arm, but he can't get away with the freelancing and scrambling vs. the best SEC teams and he won't in the NFL. Because of Ash's frame and arm I'd guess Ash, but both still have a lot to prove and a lot they can improve.
Is it just me or does this football recruiting class seem to be fizzling out. Started strong and has not been much to get excited about in a long time
Max Olson (5:39 PM)
During our Sunday night chat someone asked how we'd judge the momentum of this Texas class on a 1-10 scale. I'd say 5 or 6. Thing have been pretty quiet lately, with really only 3 commitments since May. I get a sense things will heat up once the regular season ends and coaches are back on the trail.
Does Texas play A&M in the Cotton Bowl? If so who wins, whats the final score, and who's player of the game?
Max Olson (5:40 PM)
If the game was played tomorrow I'd pick A&M, because Texas' linebackers have a lot of work to do to be ready for that backfield of Manziel, Michael and Malena. In the offseason, though? Right now I'd take Texas A
How concerned should we be about Robinson taking official visits to SC and Bama? What are the chances of him decommiting and signing elsewhere?
Max Olson (5:42 PM)
I think Texas fans should be nervous, and more so about USC than Alabama. From folks I've talked to, USC seems to be the school he'd flip to if he had to back out of his Texas pledge. Robinson didn't get to take visits before he committed to UT in the spring, so he felt this was necessary for him to complete his recruiting process. I'm not going to put a percentage on it or anything, but right now I would worry a bit if I were UT fans.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Coldest College Football game that you have been to since you have Covering the Longhorns?
Max Olson (5:43 PM)
The coldest game? I guess that Texas-West Virginia game was a little chilly by the end of the night. But Austin is definitely warm for most games.
Brandon (Katy, Texas)
Does J Gray reach 1000 yards this season?
Max Olson (5:46 PM)
Let's break this down. Gray has 533 rushing yards. In his past 2 games of significant carries, he's averaged 19 carries and 5.71 yards per carry. If he kept up that pace over Texas' final four games, with 19 and 5.71 in each, he'd finish with 966. So he'd need a few monster games to hit 1,000, and you have to remember that Malcolm Brown will get more carries in these next games too. So long answer, I don't think so. But he's been very good lately and few huge games would get him close.
Todd (Sugar Land)
What if Texas was seriously in the game with Kstate. Our offense rolling, but the defense having some issues stopping Klein. Would that be a situation in which coaches could bring in Hicks?
Max Olson (5:48 PM)
Interesting scenario. I really don't think so, at least not if he hadn't played in the previous games. While I understand the idea of going for broke if you have a chance to beat KSU, he'd still be rusty and who knows, he might not bring more at 80% than the healthy LBs would at 100%. I don't like the idea of burning a medical redshirt just for one game or one half.
Stephen (Seattle, Wa)
What can/does these next 3 games do for Texas' recruiting going forward. Obviously we get recruits but the BIG names who may have shy'd away or didnt get much love, can these wins possibly bring them back to the 40 acres? Even tho i feel we can be successful w/out someone like RSJ.
Max Olson (5:50 PM)
Don't get your hopes up on bringing RSJ back. I think that ship has sailed by now. But I do think wins would make a difference with Benenoch, Billings and any juco recruits UT might be targeting. I think Marcell Harris' mind is made up by now and won't be swayed by UT wins and losses, quite honestly. But wins won't bring RSJ or Daeshon Hall back, because frankly Texas doesn't want them back. Will wins keep A'Shawn Robinson in the fold, though? That's the big question.
Hi Max, I got three questions for you:1) are any of our DB commits capable of starting at the safety position in their true freshman year? Eric Huhn, Chevoski Collins, and Antuwan Davis (a CB, but he seems to be big enough to play safety) 2) Does Akina ever talk about Kendall Sanders? I know he prefers to play wideout but with all the playmakers on offense, I just don't see him getting any plays. Sanders looked like a stud as a DB as a recruit and we really could use help on that side. His size and hands would also be considered elite as a DB, but just average as a WR for the draft, so I'm not sure why he's opposed to play DB. 3) Johnathan Gray, I believe in the hype now. He is a Heisman-potential stud. But why does he never hand off the ball in the wild formation? Opponents don't go for the sweep at all now in that formation because he's not handed the ball off in the last few games. Any insight on this?
Max Olson (5:57 PM)
1) I don't know about them starting. Huhn is a true safety but he could become an LB someday too. One guy I would keep an eye on for next year is freshman safety Adrian Colbert. I know Akina thought very highly of him coming in, he could be a difference-maker as a redshirt frosh.2) That's something I'll ask Akina tomorrow during his weekly availability. Sanders is a really talented freshman but you're right, that WR room is a pretty full one. Goodwin is graduating, but if the WR corps doesn't thin out a bit with transfers you have to wonder if he'll see more opportunity at DB. He might be a big problem-solver for that secondary.3) He never hands the ball off in Wild because Bryan Harsin is saving that for the perfect moment. At this point, opposing teams know he never does hand off, so they prepare to stop Gray only. At a critical moment, that may be an option they use. Look at what Tech did, running a Wildcat reverse on a 4th down against Texas. It was perfect. That's the kind of play you save for when it's least expected, not on 3rd and 2 at midfield.
So with (supposedly) JJ and Jordan Hicks coming back next year, the only weakness I see on the defense would be safety? Could that be a weakness that exploits the D again like the LBs did this year? Or will they do enough to get by.
Max Olson (5:59 PM)
I think that would be a fair evaluation of the 2013 D. Replacing Vaccaro is a very difficult task and it will take strong spring and fall competition between a few guys before Texas finds that safety they trust alongside Phillips. Obviously Mykkele Thompson would be the favorite there, but he'll have to earn that spot.
Max Olson (6:00 PM)
That's all I've got for today. Thanks to those of you who sent in questions. Have a great day and be sure to keep reading HornsNation, tons of great coverage throughout the week.