Chat with William Wilkerson
Welcome to HornsNation! On Tuesday, writer William Wilkerson stops by to chat about everything Texas.
Wilkerson joined ESPN.com in 2011 after covering high school and college sports for the last four years at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. William is a University of Texas graduate and lives in Dallas.
Send your questions now and join Wilkerson Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
William Wilkerson (3:59 PM)
Thanks everyone for joining this week's HornsNation chat. Let's get to it.
David (Mansfield Ohio)
Hey Carter just curious as to how the visits went over the weekend, particularly Mr. Harris?
William Wilkerson (4:02 PM)
We are still working to get in contact with Harris about his official visit this weekend. He was traveling back to Florida. As soon as we get word we will have information on HornsNation for you. I will say this: It was Harris' first official and his third time to Texas. There is mutual interest from both parties. He was decked out in Longhorns gear and seen taking pictures in front of Bevo. I think this one comes down to Texas and Florida. The appeal of potential early playing time for him as a Longhorn interests him greatly as well as the track record Duane Akina has with sending guys to the league. Other plyars that made the trip down were Tyrone Swoopes, K.D. Cannon, Jacorey Warrick, Durham Smythe, Naashon Hughes and Matthew McCrane.
Chris (San Antonio)
Hey Carter, I think it was the forum where i saw you were now worried over the Okie St. game. Iv'e got to ask why. Last year against them was i think our "best' loss. Our defense played pretty well keeping two first-rounders in check, and the running game gained more than 200 yards on the ground. And if Ash doesn't commit two turnovers, we could have had a shot to win; probably would have! What gives
William Wilkerson (4:05 PM)
Well I don't care if you score 84 points on air, that is going to raise some eyebrows and get peoples attention. There is obvious concern with that game. For one, it's in Stillwater, which can be a dangerous place for any opponent much less one that is so young. This will be many of the teams' first trip there. Two, Texas did play OK in that loss but you've got to remember that four of the top defensive players from that team are now gone in Randall, Robinson, Acho and Gideon. Like Mack Brown said yesterday, that's a lot of starts lost. That leadership between those four was huge for Texas' success last season. They could use those calming voices against the Pokes.
William Wilkerson (4:07 PM)
Another thing about that game: OSU wants to score and score fast. Texas likes to grind out drives. What happens if the Longhorns do that but only come away with three points while OSU turns back around and scores 7 in three minutes? It's something that Mack Brown mentioned yesterday, having to find a happy medium there. The long drives are good but you have to come away with 7 against these Big 12 offenses because time will eventually not be on your side.
Todd (Richmond, TX)
Getting on the WVU train?
William Wilkerson (4:09 PM)
I've been on it. Geno Smith is a beast and his receivers are as good as any in this league. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they are the best in the league at this point. Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin and J.D. Woods are as good a trio of WR as you will find. Plus 14 of the 34 points that Marshall scored came in the 4th when the game was well in hand. Defense wasn't too shabby either.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who did The Longhorns replace on the Roster for the Players who went to the NFL with?
William Wilkerson (4:10 PM)
The Class of 2012 and Penn State transfer K Anthony Fera.
What is your take on David Ash's performance vs Wyoming? I thought his performance was eerily reminiscent of Gilbert's "capable performance" (ESPN's description of his game vs Rice) in the first game of last year with no turnovers. To me, Ash failed to stretch the field for the running game and his yards per pass attempt was significantly lower than the two RB's yards per carry, which absurd. That type of passing game would spell trouble against more athletic teams like OU, whose defenders can just stay in the box area against the run game and use their speed to cover the short passing game. I hope we get to see Jalen Overstreet or Connor Brewer against New Mexico in the second half, because I'm still not sold on either one of our main QBs.
William Wilkerson (4:15 PM)
Well the reason behind Texas not stretching the field as much as some would like was two-fold. One, the Longhorns weren't sure what to expect from Wyoming because they didn't have any film on what first-year DC Chris Tormey was going to throw at them. So they chose to play it conservatively until they figured out what Tormey's plan was and then opened it up slightly more in the second half. But you also don't want to play your hand and put stuff on film for the likes of Ole Miss, OSU, WVU and OU. Not yet anyway. Harsin stressed that Ash does need to start completing the deep balls. Missed two to Mike Davis that could have been completions. Waited too long to release ball in my opinion. Don't count on seeing either freshman QB anytime soon. Texas wants to redshirt them. UT coaches were pleased with Ash's performance. Things will slowly begin to open up. It's just a matter, for him, of making the throws count.
Adam (Ann Arbor)
William,Does it mean anything that Desmond Jackson jumped up B. Moore on the depth chart, or does it even matter with how deep we our. Seems like his value will be measured more on how others do vs. his stats just based on the sheer amount of space he takes up.
William Wilkerson (4:16 PM)
You hit it dead on Adam. i wouldn't read too much into it. Jackson is called "Tank" for a reason and showed it with really solid play against Wyoming. He earned the nod over Moore for that reason. It really doesn't matter who starts on the line because they are so interchangeable.
I know its only one game, but I'm thinking the ceiling for the longhorns this year is 8 regular season wins. I'm not worried about the defense (despite the less than stellar showing on Saturday), but Ash still has shown no accuracy on the deep ball. If the play action pass is not a threat, Texas will not be able to move the ball against BigXII defenses. Also, you're not going to wear down many defenses with 3 or 6 play drives.
William Wilkerson (4:18 PM)
8 wins seems a little low to me. Texas has a tough schedule with several traps games. I'm not going away from my 10-win prediction just yet. The Longhorns weren't as good as I thought they'd look. But it's only Week 1. Give me two more weeks to really get a feel for this team.
Is it just me, or did Malcolm Brown look a half step faster than he did last year? It was the first time I really thought he looked like a 5 star stud.
William Wilkerson (4:19 PM)
He did to me as well. I wouldn't say this was the first time I thought he looked like a 5-star recruit because I thought he showed glimpses of that last season. But he's healthy now, the offensive line is healthy. That makes a huge difference and it showed on Saturday.
Any encouraging words on the Texas kicking game? Anthony Fera expected back anytime soon? Was Nick Jordan's game last week more of an aberration?
William Wilkerson (4:20 PM)
Well I guess if you are going to miss get them out of the way against Wyoming, right? Nick Jordan had a rough game. No denying that. But he's a good kicker and should get the job done eventually. Fera is still questionable and likely won't play this week. So Nick Rose will compete with Jordan for FG duties.
I wanted to see if there are any updates on the 2013 Guys? Like did the % go up after the weekend on DB Harris. How are things looking on Cole? How many guys do you think leave this off season because they have been passed on the 2 deep?
William Wilkerson (4:22 PM)
Have yet to talk with Harris but we will get that information on HN as soon as we do. No doubt in my mind that it didn't go well though. The two sides are equally fond of each other. Cole Luke will take his official visit to Texas on Oct. 6 for the WVU game. Great sign for Texas. I don't see many leaving. Young team. Will all get a chance to play. There is going to be competition anywhere you go at this level of football.
Everyone I talk to says we should be worried about last weeks performance.. I thought Ash did what was asked of him and 99% of the mistakes I saw can be corrected before conference play. Should we be worried, and do you think dropping two spots in the AP is unfair?
William Wilkerson (4:24 PM)
I thought Ash was serviceable, which is all he really needs to be in my opinion. Don't turn the ball over and live to play another down. That's what he needs to do. Once Texas begins to open up the playbook a little bit then you will really get a sense for how Ash will respond. He's going to make mistakes. He just needs to keep them in check. I wouldn't worry about the polls right now. Meaningless, really. Win and it will all work out on its own.
Patrick (McAllen, TX)
Any new rumors of cable providers signing last minute deals for LHN?
William Wilkerson (4:25 PM)
Not that I have heard. Plenty of people happy to have it on AT&T now though.
Anthony Bailey (San Antonio)
How much is Texas hype versus Texas good on this year's defense overall?
William Wilkerson (4:28 PM)
Good question. Look, there is plenty to like about this defense. Two stud DEs, at least three players in secondary that will play on Sundays and as athletic a group of LBs as Texas has had. But there are some concerns. For as athletic as the LBs are they are replacing two of the most productive LBs in Texas history in Acho and Robinson. That's a lot of ground to make up. And for as unpopular as Blake Gideon was around here he still started four years. That's a lot to lose. I think Texas underestimated Wyoming a bit in the early going. But I think it has a great chance of reaching its potential as the season progresses.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Are you surprised OU did not drop more dramtically in the polls after a subpar performance against UTEP?
William Wilkerson (4:29 PM)
I am actually. The Sooners did not play well in that game. Then again, holding any home team to one touchdown is good regardless of who you are playing.
Corey (Austin, TX)
Little bit of a different question, Will. I know you covered a good amount of HS football the past couple years, so...who was your favorite player to talk to and who was your favorite to watch?
William Wilkerson (4:33 PM)
Oh I don't know how to answer that one. Plenty of great guys out there and are thankful for all of their interviews. Just a couple of names of note: Johnathan Gray, Bob Wager (Arlington Martin HC), Kenny Perry (Arlington Bowie HC), Kent Perkins, Jake Raulerson, Coach Jinks at Cibolo Steele, Cayleb Jones, Jamal Turner (Nebraska). The list goes on and on.
Dave (Over there)
Do you have to tun on auto update, or is it a problem with my computer
William Wilkerson (4:33 PM)
It should automatically update Dave.
How long before Espinoaa is benched in favor of Flowers starting and Walters moving to center?
William Wilkerson (4:35 PM)
Common question asked by Texas fans. I don't know if it will happen. Espinosa is 100 percent healthy this season as opposed to last season. He's gotten stronger. Flowers didn't do himself any favors this fall camp. He was called out by Mack.
I think we are going to destroy OU, what are your thoughts? Hook Em'!
William Wilkerson (4:35 PM)
Well I was the lone HornsNation writer to pick Texas over OU. I'll stick by that guess right now.
Vince (Strip Club)
When will we ever have a QB as good as me again?
William Wilkerson (4:36 PM)
Your type don't come around too often.
Which Longhorn offensive players (other than Malcolm Brown) have a chance to make it to the NFL?
William Wilkerson (4:37 PM)
Bergeron, Walters, Hawkins, Hopkins, Shipley, Davis.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
What areas were most pleased with after Saturday's game? Did any new areas of possible concern arise after the Cowboys win?
William Wilkerson (4:40 PM)
Running game was clearly the best thing Texas did. Kickoff coverage was, in Mack's words, "The best we've had." I thought Dalton Santos played with the type of reckless attitude you like to see in a LB. DJ Monroe was really good in motion out of the WildHorn. Mason Walters was the best OL. Hicks and Turner played really well. Areas of concern: FG unit was sub-par. Communication between LBs and S. Need to be able to hit the deep ball more consistently.
Lee (West Coast)
I know he's a true freshman, and 5 carries is a small sample set, but isn't Gray's paltry 1.8 YPC a little low for such a heralded RB?
William Wilkerson (4:41 PM)
Don't read too much into that. He'll show his worth in due time.
William Wilkerson (4:42 PM)
Mack Brown mentioned wanting to get him more involved against New Mexico. The uncertainty of what Wyoming was going to do defensively kept him from getting more playing time too.
David Jackson (Sugar land)
Hey William looking forward it seems that David Ash will be a game manager at best, and there is nothing wrong with that, but do you see either Brewer Overstreet, or Swoopes (long shot) taking over in the next 2 years.
William Wilkerson (4:47 PM)
My answer switches to this question a lot. I think a lot of it has to do with how well Ash plays this season. If he takes the bull by the horn and has a better than average year he could start 2013 comfortably. But Brewer was such a heralded QB coming out of HS and won three straight state titles for a reason. And Overstreet impressed so much during fall camp. I would say Brewer has the advantage right now simply because he's played in a throwing offense in high school. Overstreet is getting better at throwing the ball. It's going to take Swoopes a while to grasp things.
William Wilkerson (4:51 PM)
That will do it for this week's chat. Thank you all for the questions and we'll do it again next week.