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 (4:00 PM)
Welcome to this week's HornsNation chat. Pretty great to think we're only 11 days away from the first home game. Bring on all your Longhorn-related questions and let's get started.
Jimmy [via mobile]
When or if we get Desmond Harrison back, Does he start? And does the O-line slide down Hawkins to guard and hopkins to center?
Max Olson (4:02 PM)
This is still the big question for Texas. They're preparing for both possibilities. I have a hard time believing that if Harrison came back today he's still start in the opener. He's just missed so much time and to expect him to be starter-good right now is probably unfair. But I do think, when the time is right, they'll make that move and slide Hawkins and Hopkins down.
How did Ash perform at Sundays scrimmage?
Max Olson (4:03 PM)
Reviews were generally good. Ash said he liked his 2nd scrimmage more than his 1st. Players remain very confident in how Ash is playing right now.
Is Major Applewhite gonna keep his best players on the field more and not rotate 30 guys when there are obviously like 5 players better than the rest on that side of the ball?
Max Olson (4:04 PM)
Interesting question. I'm not sure exactly which 5 you're referring to. Applewhite has enough talent on that offense that he can afford to ride the hot hand, whoever that is, when it comes to making decisions at RB and OL.
is jake oliver going to play this year or redshirt?
Max Olson (4:05 PM)
That's still up in the air right now. Texas has 4 freshman WRs and while I think they'd prefer to redshirt some of them, the only guy who I'm fairly certain will play among them is Jacorey Warrick. The injury to Bryant Jackson and the 1-game suspension for Kendall Sanders certainly opens up opportunities, though.
Adam (Ann Arbor)
Max,Does the coaching staff have enough confidence in any corner opposite C.B. to slide Quandre into the Kenny V role? Against the Baylors, and OK State's I think that is huge! Also, any update on whose cemented the MLB position, Edmonds or Dalton?
Max Olson (4:06 PM)
First of all, Edmond has cemented the MLB job. He's drawing rave reviews these past few weeks. I do think Akina has a lot of faith in Diggs to play several roles the way Vaccaro did last fall, and from everything we've heard it sounds like Duke Thomas is the guy who's inspired the most confidence of that group of backup CBs.
Say Texas has the balance it wants on offense and wins 10+..Where do you see Ash and Gray finishing the season at Statistically?
Max Olson (4:07 PM)
Just off the top of my head: Gray at just a shade over 1,000 yards and around 300 receiving yards. Ash at 3,000 yards, 28 touchdowns, 7 INTs.
Does KU have enough to get some Conference wins this year or do you predict another down year?
Max Olson (4:07 PM)
Yeah I do think Kansas is a pretty sneaky-good team in this league. They can pull off a few wins they shouldn't, I would not be surprised. Love their run game.
Doyle (Houston) [via mobile]
I noticed that Texas is still after several recruits. If these players do want to commit to Texas, will Texas have enough scholarship available for them or would they take away scholarship offers from lesser committed players?
Max Olson (4:09 PM)
They won't take away any scholarships from other guys. That's not Mack Brown's style. But it's a fair question. The interesting thing is, the guys they really want - Solomon Thomas, Jamal Adams, Tony Brown, Ed Freeman, John Bonney - all play positions that haven't filled up yet in the class. With only 2 DB commitments, that won't be an issue.
Will this be the last q&a?
Max Olson (4:10 PM)
This is still a weekly feature. I'm not going anywhere, John.
Any word from Bonney after he visited practice?
Max Olson (4:11 PM)
He told me he enjoyed the scrimmage and how the defense played. Bonney claims he still wants to make a decision before his senior season begins, meaning he's basically down to 2 weeks left. We'll see if he sticks to that, I'm not so sure.
What up Madd Max?! Great job you, Will and Sean are doing keeping us posted on the Longhorns..Big Ups homies. Quick question, Where do we stand with Lodge (wr), Bonney, and the DE that visited on Sundays scrimmage? Also, do you see us getting Jamal Adams and Tony Brown? Imagine the secondary we would have if all three of those joining Roberts??
Max Olson (4:13 PM)
Big ups to you too homie. I think it's safe to say Texas has a firm lead in the recruitment of Damarkus Lodge and it looks like the visit is pushing them even with or ahead of A&M for James Lockhart. John Bonney is still hard to read, he's visited so many schoools and has never trimmed down his list. I think Texas gets Adams OR Brown (hard time seeing both coming to UT) if they win 10-11 games this season. And yeah, you're right, that would put them in pretty great shape, especially when you pair them with Antwuan Davis.
Hector (Houston )
Who will start in our secondary?
Max Olson (4:14 PM)
I'm coming out with my projected Texas defensive depth chart tomorrow on HornsNation. Big right now I think the top 5 is still what most expect: Diggs, Byndom, Duke Thomas, Mykkele Thompson, Phillips
Have you heard anything about Wallace's visit today?
Max Olson (4:15 PM)
We'll try to catch up with him tonight. John's referring to Tristen Wallace, the big-time 2016 QB at DeSoto who's just a freak of an athlete. He wowed me every time I saw him this summer, could be a real star as a senior.
With B Jackson and Sanders out in game 1, which WR do you expect to step up?
Max Olson (4:16 PM)
We'll see how healthy Marcus Johnson is, Texas is still hopeful he'll be ready in time for the opener. The top 3 guys are unchanged: Davis, Shipley, Daje Johnson. My guess is, if Johnson isn't healthy enough to be No. 4 by next Saturday, you'd see John Harris or Jacorey Warrick slide into the lineup.
Any chance Desmond Harrison plays this year?
Max Olson (4:17 PM)
Yeah, I still think there's a pretty good chance. We shall see.
What's your confidence level with John Harris producing this year?
Max Olson (4:18 PM)
That's a tough question. If you ask Sean Adams, he'll tell you John Harris is going to be the sleeper star of this offense. I have my doubts. I liked what I saw from him as an outside target on the 2nd team offense in practices this month.
Yo Max, is the next Texas Heisman winner on the roster currently?
Max Olson (4:19 PM)
I guess I'd have to go with Johnathan Gray, but it's tough these days for RBs to win the trophy. You basically have to do what Mark Ingram did and have a really big year statistically in a season when there's no elite No. 1 QB nationally.
Do you see Swoopes Redshirting to leave Overstreet as the third option? I think Swoopes still needs some seasoning.
Max Olson (4:20 PM)
Swoopes definitely needs some seasoning, but right now it doesn't seem like the staff has made up their mind on the best course of Swoopes. He's been slowed by a hamstring issue in the past week and that's really limited what he can do in practice and the progress he can make. I don't think Applewhite would be that uncomfortable with the idea of Overstreet as his No. 3 guy.
Who is the team most likely to upset Texas: Baylor, KSU, TCU, West Virginia or Texas Tech? Don't think Iowa is much of a threat and losing to OSU wouldn't be an upset in my opinion.
Max Olson (4:21 PM)
Nice question. The default answer has to be Kansas State, right? I mean, shoot, even the exceptionally mediocre Ron Prince went 2-0 against Texas.
Which first year DB will contribute the most this season, A Davis, Echols, or Colbert?
Max Olson (4:24 PM)
I think I like Colbert's chances the best of that trio, especially because I'm just not sold yet that Mykkele Thompson will take the jump Texas needs him to.
In your opinion, who has come the furthest from last year? Is there one player who has stood out amount the rest?
Max Olson (4:25 PM)
From everything we've been told, apparently the answer is Steve Edmond. Players say he's truly playing sideline to sideline now and making big plays, and that he has a lot more confidence this time around. Losing 35 pounds helped, too.
We have the best running back committee in the big 12, possibly the country. What % do you think we run vs pass? Major wants up tempo, but will it mostly be quick runs to set up play action?
Max Olson (4:26 PM)
Johnathan Gray was asked about this yesterday, whether he thought it would be 60/40 or some other split like that. He didn't want to get into that, but personally, that's what my expectation would be.
Michael TX [via mobile]
Is Applewhite going to use trick plays like Harsin did or do you think this offense will be all about set plays and tempo?
Max Olson (4:29 PM)
I think he'll have a few tricks up his sleeve from time to time, especially when you know a guy like Jaxon Shipley is capable of throwing the ball if you give him the chance. But the tempo is more important.
Chris [via mobile]
Before Marcus Johnson's injury did he impresses you at all. What do you expect from him this year?
Max Olson (4:30 PM)
Yeah, he did impress me in the 6 practices we were permitted to watch. He's grown up quite a bit in the past year and I like where he's at in his development. He made some big plays on those 6 days. Don't sleep on him.
Jimmy(Texas) [via mobile]
What is your gut feeling of UT landing 2015 guys LB Malik Jefferson and RB S. Jamabo?
Max Olson (4:32 PM)
If signing day was tomorrow, I think they'd get both guys. But it isn't. Long battles ahead for both of them, and I do like Texas' chances. But both guys will have the opportunity to play anywhere in the country, and I wouldn't blame them if they wanted to take official visits next fall.
I've heard great things about Breaking Bad. Could I just jump in now and enjoy the final few episodes or should I start from the beginning?
Max Olson (4:32 PM)
Don't be a cheater. Start from the beginning as soon as possible.
I heard there is an issue with Beloved Brown and LSU. I assume this has to hurt LSU's chances of landing Tony (even if only slightly)... Who are the other leaders for T. Brown?
Max Olson (4:33 PM)
I can't speak to that, but I do think it's going to come down to LSU, Texas and Texas A&M whenever we reach the end of his recruiting process.
Rank based on likelihood Texas gets a committment from these players: J. Adam, T. Brown, S. Thomas, L. Fournette, J. Bonney
Max Olson (4:34 PM)
1. Bonney 2. Adams 3. Thomas 4. Brown 5. Fournette
Is it any reason Mack Brown and the UT coaching staff doesn't recruit in the hotbed of "Inner City" kids in Austin?
Max Olson (4:36 PM)
I'm not sure what you mean by that. They signed pretty much the top 2 prospects in Austin a year ago in Cayleb Jones and Daje Johnson. With the exception of Lake Travis, recently most of the best local talent has been up in Pflugerville and Round Rock. I wouldn't really say they're under-recruiting those kids.
Who's on the hotter seat right now...Mack Brown or Rick Barnes?
Max Olson (4:38 PM)
I'd say Barnes, just because I think that's the harder rebuild of the two.
Chance (San Anton)
I'm tired of getting Humiliated in Dallas. Tell me why this year is going to be any different. What factors, specifically, determine the outcome in Dallas?
Max Olson (4:41 PM)
Oklahoma could lose to Notre Dame and TCU to start this season and I still think a lot of folks would believe they'll beat Texas. That's how much they've owned these past 3 years. The only factor that matters: If Mack can't convince his players to get up for that OU game, after the past 2 beatdowns they took, then what's wrong with this program?
How differently would you be feeling about the Texas offense right now had Mike Davis left for the NFL?
Max Olson (4:42 PM)
Wrote about Mike Davis today on HornsNation. I think he's one of the top 5 guys who decides this season for Texas.
In light of Papi signing with the Greek team, which team will have more wins next season: Longhorn football or basketball?
Max Olson (4:44 PM)
If that news ends up being true, it's a huge blow for a Texas team that already lost its top 3 scorers. Still think the hoop team would win more, but not by much.
Is Texas in the lead for Solomon Thomas? If not who do you think is in the lead?
Max Olson (4:45 PM)
Really hard to tell right now. I don't think he even knows. Folks I've talked to suggest it is Stanford, but I think Texas can change his mind with a big season. Not guaranteeing they will, but I think that's still a possibility.
Johnny Football ([via lap top])
Even if I only a half-season, I will have better stats than David.
Max Olson (4:45 PM)
Who throws more passes this season, Shipley or Overstreet?
Max Olson (4:46 PM)
These are the kinds of questions I like in this chat format. I'm going with Overstreet, I think, but dang I really want to say Shipley.
rtXC1 [via mobile]
Do you think we'll use any multiple-TE sets? We have, what, 4 guys that could get in there. Also, does Del La Torre ever get to play or does he need to flip back to defense (although it's not ideal, FB is a bad spot to be now)?
Max Olson (4:47 PM)
Yeah, there will still be some multiple-TE stuff on occasion and especially when they need to line up under center and run the ball. De La Torre will see some action and have to block, I don't think he's a forgotten man in this offense.
Nobody is talking about the defensive line. They weren't as dominant as they should have been last year. What's the story for this year?
Max Olson (4:48 PM)
The story is all about whether Jackson Jeffcoat plays all 13 games. I do think they'll have more help at DE with some young guys like Shiro and Cottrell chipping in as situational pass rushers. And I like what they've got at DT.
Do you think the offense will miss a beat with the departure of Harsin, or will Major's simplifying the offense work to Ash's advantage?
Max Olson (4:51 PM)
I think people are definitely assuming this will go perfectly smooth from day one. I've covered first-year OCs before, there's always a learning curve to some extent. You saw it in the first half of the Alamo Bowl. I do think Applewhite's plans work to Ash's advantage, but I'm not naive enough to think there won't be a few kinks early on.
Which duo will have more touches at the end of the season Gray/Overstreet or Brown/Bergeron?
Max Olson (4:52 PM)
Brown and Bergeron, provided they stay healthy.
rtXC1 [via mobile]
Since you're on the Big 12 Blog now, are you 4 gonna draft fantasy teams a la the Big Ten & SEC bloggers?
Max Olson (4:53 PM)
Ooh, good question. I hope so. I think I'd be pretty dominant in that setting.
Nicolai (Denmark, Europe)
Hey Max, great job as allways! Have you heard anything from CB John Plattenburg who recently moved back to Texas from California? As far as I know he is teammate with John Bonney now, and would't rule out a Texas visit. His highlight tape are good!
Max Olson (4:58 PM)
Always welcome a question from Demark. Yeah, Plattenburg is an interesting story, a guy with a really nice offer list and the guesses on where he'll end up are all over the place. I believe we've got him pegged for Tennessee on our Hot Board. Texas would be wise to get the kid on campus, no doubt.
Jimmy(Texas) [via mobile]
In your opinion who is the best recruiter on the UT coaching staff?
Max Olson (4:59 PM)
I'll take the easy way out here and say Patrick Suddes.
Michael TX [via mobile]
Does it seem to you that the dumbest thing Missouri, Nebraska, and Colorado did from a recruiting standpoint was leave the big 12? I don't seem them getting those Texas recruits anymore.
Max Olson (5:01 PM)
They're still landing commitments from Texas guys. But I do think it's a lot harder for them to hold onto those kids. Texas already stole Jason Hall from Nebraska and I think Baylor could end up swiping CB Trai Mosely from NU too. If these kids get good in-state offers, they're prone to backing out on those former Big 12 schools.
Max Olson (5:01 PM)
I'll answer a few more and then I've got to go. Send in your last questions.
Michael TX [via mobile]
Will UT and A&M play each other in a game at the end of the year?
Max Olson (5:03 PM)
No. But wouldn't that be great?
Ben (Dallas )
Thanks for your hard work Max. Couple of questions. Better DE, Cedric Reed or Reggie Wilson? How much playing time will Shiro command this season? Will Contrell or Bluiett see the field much this season?
Max Olson (5:04 PM)
Reed is the better of the two right now. I think Shiro and Wilson will be the two who get the most reps among the backups. I like Cottrell's chances of playing more than Bluiett's.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Can Texas with the Big XII if they lose to Okie State?
Max Olson (5:05 PM)
Yes. It's that wide open of a year in the Big 12 and I'm not so sure Oklahoma State is a 10-win team.
How do you like our chances to make it to the national championship?
Max Olson (5:06 PM)
No, not really. But a BCS bowl is a very reasonable goal.
Max Olson (5:06 PM)
OK guys, that's all I've got for today. Thanks to all of you who sent in questions, got more than 100 today so sorry I couldn't get to them all. Have a great afternoon and be sure to keep reading HornsNation. Thanks!
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