Editor’s note: The following is part 4 of the comprehensive Season Preview Breakdown that can be found here, in pdf form. Follow @MGN_Breakdown for more stuff from Greg and @meangreennation for more MGN.
QB Derek Thompson
Whoever eventually takes over the QB position will have a huge void to fill. Thompson was not flashy nor did he make electric plays like a Johnny Manziel. No, what Thompson did was managed and filled the leadership role that a QB must portray on the field. Fans may not have believed in his abilities, but his teammates did.
Well that is the biggest question mark right now. The battle will go on into fall camp, much like it did last year. The front runner right now is Andrew McNulty with Josh Greer nipping at his heels. You also have to throw in Dajon Williams name to the mix. Although, the redshirt freshman did not have an impressive spring camp, the coaches still linked his name to the jpb.
DT Richard Abbe
Abbe was the immovable object on the Mean Green defensive line. Besides Abbe, UNT did not have another space eater on the line. Abbe not only ate up space, but he was productive and disruptive. He kept linemen off the linebackers so they could roam free and make plays. He penetrated when needed, and he was able to act as a run stuffer
Well UNT does not have a player with the size of Abbe on the roster. In fact not one player on the DL is listed over 300 lbs. Alexander Lincoln and Austin Orr will be your opening day starters barring injury, but they do not have the ability to eat up space and run stuff quite like Mr. Abbe. Lincoln and Orr are good players and quick. They will need to use their quickness to penetrate and be disruptive. Besides those guys, maybe a freshman like T.J. Tauaalo could make an impact. Tauaalo is 20 lbs heavier than Lincoln and Orr and is accustom to playing the space eater role.
S Marcus Trice
Marcus Trice was a ball hawking, heat seeking missile for the Mean Green defense last year. On top of his playmaking ability he was a vital team leader. Replacing him statically is going to be near impossible for one player.
This will be another position where a fall camp battle will ensue to name a starter. The battle will be between Sheldon Wade and Freddie Warner. Warner has been plagued with injuries during his career at UNT, and really deserves some good luck at this point. Wade is SR who transferred in from Austin Peay. He spent time last year as a backup DB and special teams player.
WR Brelan Chancellor.
Chancellor is another player that no one player can replace. It will take a group of play makers to equal his value. As a WR/PR/KR Chancellor did it all for UNT. He was the lightning for the UNT offense. He was one of the few offensive players who could flip the field in a heartbeat.
Carlos Harris. Harris is on track to have a breakout year. He was one of the most targeted WR’s that UNT had last year and he is the only big time receiving threat with production returning. It’s quite possible at the end of the year we are talking about Mr. Harris as an all conference selection.
LB Zach Orr.
Orr was one of the most productive players in UNT history. All he did was tackle everything that moved. He played sideline to sideline, dropped into coverage, and was a tremendous leader.
Fred Scott. Scott has tremendous potential. As fans we’ve seen what kind of nasty hitting display he can put on. He got to sit and learn from one of the best in Zach Orr, but he is still young. There will be moments of mistakes, but there will also be those moments of “wow” with Scott.