The outlook from around the country is bleak when it comes to predicting the 2015 Mean Green football season. Most people out there dont see North Texas as competitive team in 2015. Just look at these projections from TeamRankings.com
Okay okay enough doom and gloom. The season is almost here and that means we should be pumping you up with hope. As our good friend Andy Dufresne said in Shawshank Redemption
Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
Here are some keys to North Texas proving the doubters wrong.
Walk into Gerald J. Ford Stadium like Kenny Powers would and own it.
Everything starts with game one and building momentum. North Texas has to walk into that stadium on September 12th and own SMU from the kick off. I want to see a team playing with swagger, confidence, and aggressiveness. SMU fans and coaches know this is a must win for them as well. For SMU they get a week to work out the kinks. North Texas isn’t afforded that same luxury. North Texas doesn’t have to play a ranked opponent though at home like SMU does. Perhaps losing big to Baylor will cause some SMU fans to not show the next week. Perhaps the stadium will be painted green with 5000+ Mean Green fans. Perhaps North Texas will come out like ballers and get the season started off right.
I feel this North Texas season is so fragile that a loss against SMU could start a downward spiral that many North Texas fans fear is going to happen.
Let’s say Step 1 has been accomplished and UNT went on the road and defeated SMU. Well then the good feeling vibes will start rolling around the program. Now week 2 well week 3 arrives with a familiar opponent the Rice Owls. Everyone remembers “The Stand” and if you’re new to North Texas do yourself a favor and watch it for yourselves. Magic will be in the air and the stands will be filled with new students and fans hoping to watch a team carry over their winning ways from the SMU game. North Texas does what it has done best under Coach McCarney and that is protect Appogee. Rice will be no match for an Apogee stadium packed with hungry fans and a team believing they are good.
Look North Texas only has 5 home games this year and everyone of those are vital for North Texas to getting back to a bowl game. We all know, well most of know that Coach McCarney has struggled to win road games at North Texas. This team MUST PROTECT APOGEE and they will be counting on some fan support to make it happen. For you newbie’s or people who haven’t been out to Apogee do yourself a favor and make it out to a game. Apogee can be great environment when the attendance is high. I remember the Houston game and the noise. It was pretty damn awesome.
Don’t let the offense become stagnant again.
There has been a lot of coverage this offseason about North Texas and their move to an up-tempo offense. Ladies & Gentlemen is this the beginning of the Mean Green joining the up-tempo movement sweeping through college football? Are we about to see North Texas go “NCAA 14” on teams and put up playstation numbers? Well not quite, but it’s still good that North Texas is making the move to get in more plays and speed things up.
The skill players on this Mean Green team are suited for an up-tempo spread offense. It only makes sense to do what your players do best. Last year’s offensive numbers were oh so bad and change was needed.
Have we mentioned to get better QB play?
Has the QB talk nauseated you yet? I know I feel that way. I want who ever the North Texas QB is to be really successful. I’m just not sure the talent at that position is what many fans are hoping it is. I truly believe the coaching staff believes they can roll with a QB who knows the offense, is a leader, and is respected. They believe they can roll with that type of guy, because the play makers surrounding the QB are much improved. This coaching staff is hoping the 2015 Mean Green play makers are about to make defensive coordinators have many sleepless nights. It’s a big gamble in my honest opinion. The play makers on the 2015 Mean Green football team are loaded with potential, but lack the production to give me a warm fuzzy feeling.
If the QB play is improved greatly then North Texas could be on its way to a pretty good season.
Find the right BIG ugly’s to protect the QB and open up the running lanes.
North Texas is replacing some well aged beef on the OL. The left side of the OL looks to be intact, with Sam Rice at LG and Michael Bangou at LT. The right side of the line remains a question mark. The coaching staff was still mixing and matching players trying to get the right guys in there. There is some concern that the OL could hinder the offense. Here is what you need to know. These guys should be okay in the run game. RT Chris Miles is a better run blocker then pass blocker and the same can be said about RG Micah Thompson. I can live with that and you should be able to as well. Why? Well with the new fancy up-tempo offense the ball should be out of McNulty’s/Greer’s/Smith’s hands sooner. The OL shouldn’t be asked to block for as long. If North Texas gets in 3rd and long situations well just expect a punt, because the QB won’t have enough time to allow for down field routes to develop. It’s still okay folks because we will still be able to run the football and that is the biggest key.
Put the Mean back in the Green. More specifically stop the run.
North Texas gave up 1667 rushing yards in their 8 losses last year. That is 208 yards per game. There was no middle ground for this defense either. In their 4 wins they only gave up 247 yards. If North Texas is able to effectively handle their opponents rushing ability they should be able to win games. Why is stopping the run so important for North Texas? Well it is my belief that Defensive Line Coach Kevin Patrick will mold his pass rushing unit into a top tier group in CUSA. Limiting opponents rushing ability will put more opponents in 3rd and long situations. Last year North Texas was giving up almost 5 (4.7) yards per carry on 1st down. Compare that to the 2013 number of 3.7 yards per carry on 1st down. North Texas was allowing teams to be in manageable short yard situations. In 2015 its all about limiting success of opponents on 1st down, specifically the run.