Chat with Tim MacMahon, Jeff Caplan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon (Left) and Jeff Caplan stop by to chat about Saturday's Texas-Oklahoma game.
Both MacMahon and Caplan joined ESPN in 2009 as staff writers for ESPNDallas.com. MacMahon has been keeping up with the Sooners and Caplan has been on the Longhorns.
Send your questions now and join the chat Friday at 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT!
Watch No. 21 Texas at No. 8 Oklahoma Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think will win the game between Texas & Oklahoma?
Tim MacMahon (3:14 PM)
I'm going to go out on a limb and pick the team coming off a terrible loss. Call it a bounce-back factor, but I'm taking Texas in a tight one. Oklahoma is 4-0, but they haven't been impressive with the exception of the Florida State rout.
Justin (Holland, Tx)
If Texas can get their offense going, do you think they can win convincingly?
Tim MacMahon (3:17 PM)
Convincingly? That's probably a stretch. And it's pretty optimistic to think that a sputtering offense will suddenly click against its archrival in the Cotton Bowl. However, Oklahoma has been prone to giving up the big play. They've allowed 52 plays of 10-plus yards this season, which is why they rank 97th in the nation in total defense. Texas has some serious speed -- Marquise Goodwin, James Kirkendoll, Fozzy Whittaker and D.J. Monroe come to mind -- so OU mistakes might turn into touchdowns.
George Carper (Dobbins AIR RESERVE BASE, GA)
DO YOU REALLY THINK TEXAS CAN STOP OKLAHOMA?
Tim MacMahon (3:19 PM)
Yes. It's likely to be a long day for Landry Jones. Texas' secondary might be the best in the nation. The Longhorns' running defense got exposed by UCLA last week, but the Bruins ran the zone read a ton. That's not something you'll see from the Sooners with Jones.
whos a better qb landry jones or garret gilbert?
Tim MacMahon (3:21 PM)
Right now, it's Landry Jones. Garrett Gilbert might have brighter future, but he has only four games of starting experience. The Sooners certainly didn't want Jones to get that much playing time last season, but he's better prepared now because of it. I'm not in love with Jones by any stretch, but there might not be a better quarterback in the Big 12 right now.
What is the key for OU to get the running game going? Do you think it will happen?
Tim MacMahon (3:22 PM)
That was a big topic of discussion in Norman this week. The two solutions that kept popping up were patience and persistence. The backs need to be more patient to let plays develop. Sometimes DeMarco Murray is too fast for his own good. The offensive line and tight ends need to do a better job of sticking on their blocks. If they can give Murray room to pick up 3, 4 or 5 yards on a consistent basis, the big plays will come.
Pryor (Mabank, TX)
Everyone seems to be talking about their team winning, let's talk about losing. If Texas or Oklahoma loses, what do you think will be the number one reason why?
Tim MacMahon (3:25 PM)
Turnovers. Oklahoma is fourth in the nation in turnover margin (plus-2 per game), but Landry Jones has a bad habit of trying to do too much in games away from home. Garrett Gilbert has thrown four picks in the last two weeks. I don't expect a pretty game. This might come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes.
Are Bob Stoops and/or Mack Brown in your top 5 active coaches list?
Jeff Caplan (3:26 PM)
Yeah, I think you've got to throw Mack in there and Stoops, too. Urban Meyer is up there with Nick Saban. Chris Peterson at Boise has to be in the conversation and why not Gary Patterson?
Skip Ryan (Canada)
Who will win, does Oklahoma have an edge?
Jeff Caplan (3:28 PM)
Skip, Personally I think OU is going to win this game because I don't think you can trust the UT offense to score or even show any consistency. They've got to find big plays. We know OU can hit the big play and can do it on the ground with DeMarco Murray or in the air with Ryan Broyles. Texas has yet to show it can run.
Was interested in watching Andrew Luck so I watched Stanford @ UCLA a couple weeks ago. Bruins got dismantled by Stanford so bad (35-0) that I wrote off Luck's performance as "incomplete" b/c UCLA looked so bad. HOW DID UCLA DOMINATE TEXAS? Can't get over it.
Jeff Caplan (3:29 PM)
Just one of those things. Four UT turnovers in the first half was huge. Just awful for Texas to perform like that. And for some reason Texas had no idea how to pick up the Bruins' QB on the zone read. Weird since UT ran that offense for a number of years before this season. I think the UT defense will bounce back this week and give Texas a chance to win.
JJ (In yo Kitchen)
who will be the starting RB for Texas?
Jeff Caplan (3:30 PM)
JJ, Don't be surprised if Texas goes with its fourth starting tailback in five games with the speedy D.J. Monroe. The first three, Cody Johnson, Tre Newton and Fozzy Whittaker just aren't getting the job done. of course, blame has to fall on an offensive line that doesn't seem to be able to push anybody around and that included Rice and Wyoming for the most part.
Mark (Charlotte, NC)
Sometimes losses are a good thing. Both Texas and OU have been far from stellar early in the season. Texas got bit last week against a decent opponent. They were due for a beat down. I feel OU is the same way. Inconsistent so far and about ripe for a big loss. Does Texas come out fired up with lessons learned from last weekend and just bring it unexpectedly to hand OU their first loss?
Jeff Caplan (3:32 PM)
Sure, Texas will come out fired up, but be certain Stoops has told his team they're lucky not to be in the same predicament. Texas will tell itself that a win and they'll have the upper hand in the Big 12 South race. Of course they have to go to Lincoln in two weeks to face the Huskers. But, like I said, a Texas win puts them in the drivers seat for the Big 12 South title and would again give them the head-to-head tiebreak with OU (barring another 3-way tie).
Sam (Los Alamos, NM)
Are either of Gilbert's backup (Wood or McCoy) capable of running the offense well enough to win if Gilbert goes down.
Jeff Caplan (3:33 PM)
Sam, you probably know the answer to this. Gilbert entered the season with almost no game experience. Those guys have less.
Greg davis needs to just scrap the running game and all the east-west horrible screen passes and start running 4 and 5 wide and throw the ball downfield getting more slants, go, and post routes involved. Agree? DJ Monroe is good, but let the pass set up the run.
Jeff Caplan (3:34 PM)
Nah, I don't necessarily agree. I mean, sure they could scrap the offense, but I don't think you're going to see fireworks just because you put five WRs on the field. Gilbert has got to have a running game to help his cause. He's not a runner, bottom line.
If oklahoma beats texas do you think they have a chance to beat nebraska if they meet up in the big 12 championship game?
Jeff Caplan (3:35 PM)
Sure, of course. Nebraska is not unbeatable although the have looked the best of the bunch. But, that game would be on a neutral field and by then OU might figure out its defensive deficiencies.
Absinthium (Washington, DC)
Do you think Oklahoma might be hiding some of their offense? That might explain the lackluster performances you saw during the USU, AF and Cincy games.
Jeff Caplan (3:36 PM)
What then does the Florida State beat down show. Are they holding some back? Sure, they'll save some stuff up for the conference season, but it's not like you're going to see a whole new playbook Saturday at the Cotton Bowl. However, that doesn't mean you might not see a new wrinkle or two, clearly.
Brandon Edel (Texas)
what do you predict the score to be?
Jeff Caplan (3:36 PM)
My prediction is OU 21, UT 13. My colleague Tim MacMahon has it UT 17, OU 14.
LASooner28 (Los Angeles, CA)
Who needs to come up bigger? The Texas secondary or the D-Line?
Jeff Caplan (3:37 PM)
Sorta like the chicken or the egg? the more pressure the Texas front puts on Landry Jones, the more rushed he'll be and the better chance the Texas secondary has to make a play. I think it always starts up front.
Hank Hill (Arlen, TX)
Do you think it is just a matter of time before Texas pulls a BYU and tries to become the next Notre Dame?
Jeff Caplan (3:38 PM)
Thanks Hank, but no.
Adam Batchelor (Dallas)
With the athletes that both OU and UT have, why do the offensive lines seem to be getting pushed around by "tier 2" teams? I understand that you and inexperience play a role, but I would think the sheer size differences alone should allow both teams to run at least decent.
Jeff Caplan (3:39 PM)
Good question Adam, but really I think the answer is that there are a ton of good football players and because of scholarship limitations and other things, teams that "tier 2" as you put have good questions, their facilities are getting better and they're recruiting better players. When the big boys graduate players and break in new guys, chemistry can take some time. Otherwise, I don't know why Texas and OU are getting pushed around.
So you see the young texas offense every becoming a dominant force in FBS? what are its strengths?
Jeff Caplan (3:42 PM)
Jason, sure, the Texas offense could very well become a dominant force again. It's not looking like this year, but there is some great talent at WR with Mike Davis, who is questionable for tomorrow's game and Texas has a big-time RB commit from Malcolm Brown from Cibolo, who could come in next year and get Texas back on the map as a rushing offense. It just hasn't worked out this year during the transition to a new offense.
Well how many wins do you see Texas getting and Oklahoma . Do you think Oklahoma is going to be like a Iowa team last year and a Ohio State team from there national title year that just win all these close games?
Jeff Caplan (3:44 PM)
Well, if Texas loses this one, I could well see them dropping a third game at Nebraska. They'll have to be very wary of Oklahoma State and Texas A&M as well. I think they well could have four or five losses if the offense doesn't pick up the pace. As for OU, if they get past Texas, the Sooners don't play Nebraska. Their toughest games would be at College Station against A
Jeff Caplan (3:45 PM)
OK everyone, that will do it for the questions. We really appreciate your participation today. Be sure to check back often for updates and game coverage tomorrow. It should be a good one. Also, remember for the best Cowboys, Rangers and Mavs coverage, make espndallas.com your home. Thanks again!