So much of the focus coming out of week one was on the QB position. This week there is still plenty of concern among Mean Green fans about the QB. What are your thoughts on where UNT stands with its QB position going into the Louisiana Tech game?
Our qb play is not going to change drastically by year’s end. You hope to see more improvement throughout the year, but our qb play is not going to win us games anytime soon and it would take monumental progression for that to happen at any point this year. We want to get up early, let our defense suffocate our opponent, and pound them away for 4 quarters. No interceptions is huge, but we are still lacking much consistency, especially throwing downfield, from our qbs and Greer. QB play was better, but that’s to be expected with more time to throw and playing at home in a less hostile environment. We may need a bigger step up this week.
It’s great to have a kicker as automatic as Trevor Moore was on Saturday. But you don’t hope to kick five field goals. We are likely going to need to convert those field goals into touchdowns if we are going to contend for the division and being able to throw it in while in the red zone would be a huge help towards that. That is going to matter this week, and we can’t continue to afford missing on these opportunities.
Look there is just no easy way to say this, but our passing game is ugly. The numbers don’t lie and they are the reason that most people are concerned. You can spin it any way you want. The facts are UNT didn’t have to throw to beat SMU, but what happens this Thursday when UNT does have to throw to win? Not many people have confidence that UNT can do it efficiently enough to win. Fans see those high tempo high powered offenses at Oregon, Auburn, Oklahoma St, and Arizona St and they automatically think we need to be doing that. No were are North Texas we are different. Remember we are the Stanford of CUSA, but even Stanford is explosive on offense.
Overall I’m just as concerned as the next fan. Josh Greer has looked the best. He improved his accuracy and game management from week one. He still locks onto that one guy. Perhaps that was a coaching move to give him one read passes to see if he could handle it. When he knows where he is going with the ball before the snap you see the good things come out. You see the confidence in those throws. When Greer has to sit back and read a defense he struggles. He needs to keep getting reps. Why did he come out on Saturday? He needed to stay in there and continue to get live reps. Last year Thompson stayed in games even in blowout situations. I was happy to see the improvement, but it’s not even close to where it needs to be if we want to get to a bowl game. Still amazed that people think he doesn’t have a strong arm. He does.
Last thought, why not give Dajon a package? If you don’t think he can handle starting fine, but if you love the physical tools why not give him a look. All I’m saying is 5 plays. Give him 5 plays to master. When the offense needs a spark throw Dajon out there. Run a little zone read and bounce some easy play actions passes off of that. Perhaps giving him something to work towards would get him more engaged in practice.
UNT PASSING GAME RANKS
Pass Attempts per Game: 17 (NCAA RANK – 115)
Completions per Game: 7.5 (NCAA RANK – 116)
Completions %: 44.12% (NCAA RANK – 113)
Passing Yards per Game: 61.5 (NCAA RANK – 117)
Average Team Passer Rating: 51 (NCAA RANK – 119)
Passing Play %: 28.47% (NCAA RANK – 114)
Yards per Pass Attempt: 3.6 (NCAA RANK – 118)
Yards per Pass Completion: 8.2 (NCAA RANK – 111)
Last year’s defense was lights out and quite possibly the best to unit to ever play at UNT. This year we were all expecting a decline, but the defense has continued to impress. How close do you think this year’s defense is compared to last year?
The defense definitely has a chance to be as good, or possibly better, than last year’s. According to Kenny Buyers during the Coaches show, Coach Skladany said the defense was farther along after one game this year than they were last year. We lost some big names, but the defense is playing well together as a unit, Coach Skladany is dialing things up well again, and that depth is really coming in handy.
The defense should keep us in games consistently again this year. Last year a bad game was still only giving up 20 points to UTSA. If that can be considered a “bad game” again this year then we will be able to contend for the West Division title. With all the young players it’s fun to think how much room these guys individually and collectively have left to grow.
This D is certainly making people think they have what it takes to be as good as or better than last year. The sample size is small, so I’m not going to say just how good they are yet. What I will say is they are fun to watch. They fly around to the ball and when they get to it they deliver these bone jarring hits. It’s almost like watching a segment of “Jacked Up” every week.
Two areas where they are better than last year: 1. Speed and 2. Depth. There is speed all over this defense. When they get to defend against spread teams you really get a sense of it, especially in the LB unit. J Marshall showed up a lot last week. The other area is depth. You see it on the DL with all the rotation. You see it at LB and DB too. It’s awesome to see how far this defense has come under Skladany and Mac.
UNT DEFENSE RANKS
Yards per Game: 313.5 (NCAA RANK – 30)
Yards per Play: 4.5 (NCAA RANK – 39)
Third Down Conversions per Game: 2.5 (NCAA RANK – 11)
Rushing Yards per Game: 85.5 (NCAA RANK – 27)
Average Team Passer Rating: 106.2 (NCAA RANK – 35)
Sacks per Game: 3 (NCAA RANK – 27)
Yards per Pass Attempt: 5.8 (NCAA RANK – 34)
Yards per Pass Completion: 10.6 (NCAA RANK – 42)
Louisiana Tech is coming off a butt whipping of rival ULL and we are coming off a curb stomping of our rival. Both fan bases are feeling pretty confident heading into Thursday’s game. How do you see this game playing out?
La Tech is coming off of a big in-state victory over UL Lafayette. La Tech’s win total dipped down to 4 wins last year, after posting 9 in 2012. A huge reason why was the lack of production and turnovers from the quarterback position. This year La Tech has added a journeyman qb in Cody Sokol who has really helped their offense early on. Sokol has bounced around, playing at Scottsdale CC (former temporary home of Brock Berglund), then to Iowa where he redshirted and appeared set to win the qb job last season but lost it, and finally to La Tech. He has looked good early on, passing for 295 yards with 2 tds and 0 picks last week.
Louisiana Tech is a school that has recruited well and has talent, despite losing 2 starting defensive linemen off last years roster to the NFL (both were drafted). They also feature preseason CUSA offensive player of the year Kenneth Dixon. Dixon rushed for 27 touchdowns as a freshman in 2012. Keeping this offense in check will be a difficult task. Allowing them to get going early and asking our offense to come from behind is very dangerous with the current state of our passing game.
And as bonus, as we continue to get a strong footprint in East Texas, La Tech is a pivotal rival due to proximity. Ruston and Denton are about the same distance for many recruits in East Texas. Winning the head to head matchup here can really help us continue to keep our success going out there.
This was always marked off as the most important game of the season in my mind. Before the season started I thought this was a must win. I still feel that way. LA. Tech is riding high and they are playing well. They have a QB who is playing at a much higher level than ours right now, and that might be the difference in this game.
If UNT is going to win this game, it’s going to be a lot like last year’s Rice game. Special Teams and the Defense are going to have to score points or set up easy scores. UNT’s offense is not capable of driving the length of the field on this LA Tech D. Tech has a good secondary that’s going to shut down our passing threat. Tech is going to load the box and sell out vs. the run. The one hope that UNT has is controlling field position and time of possession. Winning this game means everything. A win here means we are most likely 3-1 going into a bye. Plus UNT would be 3 games from being bowl eligible with 3 winnable home games left.
Finally breakdown the two new verbal commits that UNT received over the weekend. Also give us your thoughts on what the SMU game may do for recruiting from here on out.
We added commitments from DB/ATH Jerbrell Lipscomb out of Navasota and Interior OL Creighton Barr out of Flower Mound Marcus.
Lipscomb is very interesting because he represents our 6th DB commits out of just 14 commits. 5 of which, including Lipscomb, were being recruited by us as cornerbacks. Lipscomb is a very fast athlete, with verified 4.4 speed, but at 5’8″ is limited in the positions he can project to, but may get looks at slot receiver and/or returner. It will be interesting to see which of our cornerback commits do sign with UNT, which change positions, and which end up transferring. History suggests that none of those three happening is extremely unlikely.
Barr is our 3rd interior lineman committed and he was recruited as a center. Barr was rated 3-stars by scout and had a good offer list including schools like Nevada and Fresno State. Adding depth to the interior offensive line is helpful, but I still expect us to sign at least one more offensive tackle this class. Barr helps continue our recent success at pulling offensive linemen from the city of Flower Mound.
Going forward, recruiting against SMU hopefully will be helped out by the outcome this past Saturday. We do go head to head with them quite a bit for recruits, and they have come out on top more than we have in recent years. As for this year, hopefully the game helped convince our commit Ashton Preston to stick with us over them, as SMU had offered recently. Another big commit of theirs is Billy Ray Mccrary, an athlete out of Leander who committed to them over us. Many UNT fans, myself included, would really like to see him reconsider us after the June Jones firing. It’s obvious, but who they hire will be very important as we will compete on the field and in recruiting with them for a long time.
I want to thank BillySee58 for his great insight. If you guys have topics or questions that you would like us to cover please let me know and we will work those into these pieces every week.