Welcome to this week's HornsNation chat. Thanks for joining us. Texas is 2-0 and the quarterback debate is relatively dead, but I'm sure we can still find lots to talk about. Keep sending in your questions throughout and I'll do my best to answer all of them. Let's get started.
Are Texas WR Shipley & Cincinnati Bengals WR Jordan Shipley Related?
Yep. Brothers. Last I heard, Jordan - who's now a free agent after both the Bengals and Bucs cut him this year - is in Austin training right now.
Will Espinosa be the downfall of the offense against Ole Miss? Apparently Hopkins is taking snaps at center now.
No, Espinosa will not be the downfall. I think many are blowing his play out of proportion. I've had my concerns too, and he'll be someone worth keeping an eye on. But I don't see a dramatic change coming when Texas takes the field in Oxford.
Have you ever been to the Grove at Ole Miss and what chances do you give the Rebs, who have less depth and talent at most positions? Score prediction?
I have not been to The Grove and unfortunately I won't be there this weekend, my man Carter Strickland will be holding it down for HornsNation. The Rebs are a project in their first year with a new regime but they'll put up a fight. I'll go Texas 31, Ole Miss 10.
I think this UT Ole Miss game could be a tough one. The Ole Miss front lines could cause the horns running game some trouble and put pressure on Ash to throw. Do you see Ole Miss pulling the upset? Mercy.
Hey Kanye. Awesomeland must be nice. I think the issue with the run game is getting it on rhythm from the start. You saw how slowly Texas' ground attack started against New Mexico, and how little Malcolm Brown was a factor early on. I think Bergeron and Brown get hot early, but a lot of that depends on this offensive line that's still a bit unproven.
Do you think Texas is going to regret not offering Bo Wallace after this weekend? He seems to be further along than either Ash or McCoy.
I'm writing about Bo Wallace for later this week, got to talk to him yesterday. I'd say based on who Ole Miss has played the jury is still out on how good he is. I don't think Texas does regret it or will regret it because, frankly, McCoy didn't transfer. The cupboard at QB is pretty full after this year.
I don't know about you, but I thought the shutout last weekend was not indicative of how Texas played, particularly in the first half. How did you feel about the defense's performance?
New Mexico is a very unusual foe from an offensive standpoint, so it's easy to write off what they were able to do as a fluke. But it did expose something: Texas needs to be able to get off the field on third downs. A bend-don't-break philosophy does work when you're playing average teams, but if that trend continues they'll have serious issues vs. Oklahoma State and West Virginia.
Don't screw this up.
I'm doing my best.
Wheres RSJ going to commit? What about Marcell Harris? Who do you think will end up at Texas at the end of it all?
I'm getting a lot of questions about this. I know RSJ went on the record this summer as saying there's a 75 percent chance he ends up with Texas. My hunch is that's more like 50 percent now. Nothing has changed, I just would not be terribly shocked if he decided to take his talented elsewhere. He's a hard guy to read lately. He likes Texas but he's not ready to decide. What he's waiting on, I'm not quite sure.
As for Marcell Harris, Florida is going to be tough to beat but Texas helped itself as much as it possibly could with his visit for the Wyoming game. This one will go down to the wire, I think.
Do you think Bryan Harsin will open up the play book a little more for David Ash after two weeks of pretty decent play? Maybe a couple more middle to deep passes?
Yes. I think in some ways the gameplan for the first 2 games was a concerted effort to get Ash comfortable with being the starter and the decision maker. He was not asked to do much and he didn't make any mistakes. I think the playbook will continue to expand and he'll take more shots over time, but he's not forcing anything and making bad choices so far.
Andrew Billings visited for the New Mexico game. Did it have much of an impact considering the team has not considered looking at him on DL?
We're going to catch up with Andrew Billings tonight for the latest on where his recruitment stands. As for the DL/OL issue, I don't think it's a dealbreaker. Texas coaches will use him in the way that best helps the team and advances his development. Most recruits are fairly understanding of that.
Do you think Texas will win the Big 12?
Gosh, that is hard to say right now. I don't think West Virginia will roll through this conference without at least a loss or two. I think Kansas State showed on Saturday it isn't going anywhere, but will they win all those close ones again this year? I'd still give OU a slight edge but they seem to have as many questions marks as Texas does if not more.
Vaccaro's quote about physicality-do you think it helps fire up the defense or does it lead to players playing out of position and missing tackles trying to make a point?
I think it really just speaks to the confidence of this defense. They know when they're at their best they can play on par with any SEC defense, or at least they believe that.
How long until Texas starts playing in BCS Games and National Championships?
I've said 2013 before and I still believe that. Next year has a chance to be a really special one.
What is your prediction on Texas record this year?
I'll go with 10-3. Texas has in many ways been exactly what we expected. We'll see how much that changes when Big 12 play starts.
Is there any additional JUCO players that get recruited in this class?
If Texas has been seriously pursuing any JUCO guys right now, they've kept fairly quiet about it. I still see a need on the defense line but that's about it.
Do any of the UT running backs break the 1000 rushing yard mark or is there to much distribution amongst everyone to reach that?
I think Bergeron does. If you asked me before the season I would've said Brown, but it seems Joe is the offense's preferred back - at least so far.
Do we have a chance to have 4 first round picks if byndom leaves early?
A chance, yes. I know Kiper has 4 underclassmen CBs on his 25-man Big Board and ranks Byndom No. 5 among his junior corner prospects. He would need a really strong standout year to ponder leaving, though.
Which of the 2012 recruits will be redshirting? (that time is coming soon, right?)
Of the 28 that signed with Texas in 2012, right now you're looking at around 12 or so who could redshirt. The surprise on Saturday was that Kevin Vaccaro burned his by getting some reps on special teams.
Are we overrating Daje Johnson's performance or is he a Deanthony Thomas type of playmaker?
It's one game, folks. Let's not compare him to DAT, who for my money is the most explosive and exciting player in college football today. There's no question though that Texas coaches are serious about finding ways to get him the ball. You can always use a home-run threat like him, especially since Gray hasn't been that guy yet.
Will Texas land any of the top DBs or DEs that have been offered in the '14 class?
DEs, yes. It's going to be a battle but I like Texas' chances with Solomon Thomas and possibly Myles Garrett. The DBs are a big question mark. They have some work to do with the more elite guys.
I might be drinking the Kool-aid Max, but 10 points for my Rebels this weekend? I think we will score that midway through the first half. Now, we may give up 30 in the first half too. :)
Ha, I appreciate your prediction. Would 38-28 make you happier? I just don't see Texas giving up that many points. This defense is loaded and hasn't scratched the surface of its potential, but they won't be scared by a no-huddle multiple offense. They see enough of em in the Big 12.
Are you comfortable saying that Ash will be the starter until he graduates or will someone overtake him? If so, who (McCoy, Brewer, Overstreet, Swoopes)?
I would not make that bold prediction just yet but it's a terrific question. You have to wonder what the progression plan is, the line of succession. I'm curious as to what Longhorns fans would want. Do they want Brewer to be the guy? Do they want to give Swoopes the keys and take the lumps that come with starting a true freshman? Let me know what you think, I'm legitimately interested to hear people's take.
Max, Do you think that playing a mid level SEC Team might expose the Longhorns and tell us something we might already know? Also why cant the receivers get open? Thanks Max!!
They'll show that this team is still a work in progress and not a top-10 outfit just yet. But Oklahoma State will be a much better judge in terms of exposing flaws. Good question about the receivers. You can tell they're trying to set up these deep passes but defenses aren't biting yet.
Why is there still buzz about Daeshon Hall? He decommitted and then committed to Washington.
There's no buzz from a Texas-recruiting-him standpoint. He's just a guy who is intriguing, one we'll be keeping an eye on just like we would any UT decommit. No way he ends up back with the Longhorns after backing out of his commitment. But Lancaster is pretty loaded and I'm sure we'll be covering a few of their games this season.
How sluggish will the team be since there won't be a walkthrough prior to Ole Miss?
I'm impressed you noticed that nugget. I don't think it will help their issue of starting slow in games. But I wouldn't be surprised if Mack Brown comes up with his own solution during team meetings on Friday. He does a great job of keeping his finger on the pulse of gameday stuff like that, always has.
Did you catch Muschamp's comments about Manziel being recruited as a CB for Texas? I don't get why some (including an Austin beat writer and apparently ESPN's Ubben) think it's so telling? He was rated below David Ash as a QB that year almost universally...
Well, the thing nobody is pointing out is that his first offer from Texas was to play baseball. He was a fine baseball prospect. I watched the entire A&M-Florida game and can say without hesitation Manziel is exciting and explosive but he's unrefined. A lot like the guy I used to cover, Taylor Martinez. I like his skill set a lot, he's a fun dude to watch. But I wouldn't make really too much of the Texas DB comment.
Chances OU could be heading for a downcycle - much like the last 2 seasons at Texas? Seems to be a lot of problems in the programs there.
Depends on how you define downcycle. Lots of Sooner fans might define last season's 3 losses as a down year. I don't see them falling into any 8-5 ruts like in 2009, but they do have issues.
Probably too early, but any word if Fera made the trip for Ole Miss?
Too early to tell. If he's not ready to go by the end of tonight's practice I think the answer is likely no. Honestly I think the best plan going forward is to let him get 100 percent over the bye, but we'll see how this plays out.
Whats your view on David Ash's role in the 2012-2013 season?
Right now it seems like it's the guy who throws for 150-200 yards and 1 touchdown and no interceptions. Lot of people would call that a game manager. Texas coaches seem to think he can flexible and the the guy who can throw for 300-400 and win a shootout if necessary, and I think we'll find out the answer to that in the next month.
What's the deal with Malcom Brown's two carries?
I don't think you'll be seeing that happen again. Even if it was just a situational thing involving audibles and pass/run calls and all that, I think this was an anomaly. Not a mistake, but not intentional.
Do you see a different offensive identity this week in that we'll do something besides pound up the middle when there's 8 in the box?
I think you'll see Texas take a few more shots, but it's another opponent with a new coaching staff and not much tape on what they do. Texas may need to feel things out a bit in the first quarter before they really get rolling.
I really don't care who the QB is as long as they can complete the pass especially the long ball....As good as the SEC has been lately they sure do play boring football.. I want to get back to the shot gun fun and gun we had with Colt and Vince
I hear you Clayton. I'm sure a lot of fans agree with you. But when you have running backs this good you have to adjust accordingly.
Is it true Demetrius Knox and Daniel Gresham took in the New Mexico game? I see Demetrius Knox saying UT is his #1 - but I won't be surprised if he eventually becomes best buds with Brutus Buckeye.
It's true, they did attend the game and Knox told me he absolutely loved it. Called it the best college football game he's ever been to, and that's saying something considering it was a boring blowout. Ohio State will be in this until the end. Depends on if they offer Gresham, and I'm skeptical they will right now.
I'll take a few more questions, guys. Send your final one. Thanks for the good conversation today.
Hey Max, I'm happy you're finally caught up on Breaking Bad. What did you think of the cliffhanger for the mid-season finale?
The cliffhanger was wonderful. I don't even know where to begin when setting my bar of expectations for the final 8 episodes. Walt vs. Hank has been a long time coming and I can't imagine it ends well.
I am about to start watching Breaking Bad. Do you have any advice that will enhance my viewing experience?
Stream them on Netflix. You won't be able to stop. One day my brother supposedly watched 13 in a row this summer. I probably knocked out 6-7 in one day when I was finishing one season. You won't regret it.
Which longhorn do you think not necessarily has dissapointed but has not played up to peoples expectations so far?
Interesting question. I want to see the ball in Mike Davis' hands more, and I'm sure we can all agree it's time to see what Johnathan Gray can do with more carries.
Writers are talking about David Ash's maturity thus far into the season, but I am not certain that David Ash is maturing. Watching him play, I feel like he is more simply afraid to make mistakes then confident/matured. In the first two games that are supposed to be cake walks, he has either missed the deep throws by throwing late or simply ignored the one-on-one coverage on the deep routes and instead chose to check down for minimal gain. If he plays this way into the Big12 games, I feel like we're heading for a 8 win season, what's your take?
Fair take. I don't think that's an overreaction. I think he just doesn't want to screw up. When he gets away from that thinking and takes what defenses gives him, you'll see more progress. But maybe he needs to know he won't be benched asap for an INT before he starts taking those shots.
Thanks Max...that does make me feel better. Sorry you can't make it this weekend. It's a fun time!
I'm sorry I can't make it too, but I'm sure it'll be a heck of a game. I'm as excited as anyone to see if Bo Wallace is the real deal.
If you were a character on Family Guy, who would you be?
Man, that is a tough question. How about a brown-haired Bertram with a slightly less irritating voice? You've got me stumped.
Last question of the day:
If you were returning a kickoff and saw me running towards you, what would you do?
I'd call for fair catch, take my 25 free yards and keep my limbs.
Thanks for your time and questions today, guys. Really appreciate it. And keep reading our stuff over at HornsNation.com, there's some great stories on the site today. If you haven't read the one about Nate Boyer you are really missing out.