Offensively how did you like our game plan to attack the UT defense? Did you feel like we did good job setting things up and just poorly executing or was it a combination of both?
BillySee58: Because of the frequent three-and-outs and short drives, as well as the blitzes and pressure that never allowed the passing plays to develop, it was hard to truly get a good read on what we were trying to do offensively. It did look like we were going to try and exploit their inexperienced safeties and big linebackers over the middle in the passing game. Marcus Smith appeared to be open early on but the throws missed high. When you miss high over the middle you’re asking to get picked, and that’s what happened on the second throw.
We’re going to pound the ball in between the tackles. That much was apparent. Our offensive line is built to run the ball. They average over 320 lbs a lineman, but are not that tall across the board. Hulking leverage type linemen as opposed to tall and limber pass-blocking types. That being said, the pass blocking will improve. All in all I’d chalk it up on the execution. But it’s hard to say that adequate adjustments were made as the game progressed.
Greg: I for one didn’t like the game plan and I’m a Coach Chico fan. Like you said I thought we could really attack their youth at safety and their LB’s. I was hoping Marcus Smith would play a big role. I wanted to see us to try and use miss direction. I knew UT was going to be coming hard and fast after our young QB’s. We let their aggressiveness completely destroy our offense. Instead we should have attacked their aggressiveness.
I felt like we didn’t give our guys a chance to be successful and it showed all over the field. What added to it was the fact that our offense didn’t execute. Guys that don’t normally blow assignments did. Guys that we were expecting to be play makers never got a chance to show what they could do.
UNT’s Run Pass Breakdown
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The QB play this past week was atrocious and historically bad. What did you see from our quarterbacks that concerned you the most? Where there any things you saw that gave you hope going into this next game? How would you go about the QB situation from here on out?
BillySee58: The quarterbacks were pressured often. But when you complete less than 20% of your passes there are going to be some accuracy problems. Re-watching the game, even when there was time, some of the throws were just not even close and it was visibly frustrating for the receivers. It was clear the game was moving too fast. They also must do a much better job of handling the blitz. D can always bring 1 more player than O has in to block. Up to QB to make the right decision quick, or D will blitz all day again. This was the toughest environment they’ll face all year, but their composure must take a huge step up.
Something has to be figured out soon. We don’t have the luxury of playing tune-up games like Nicholls State before conference play, which starts two weeks from today against La Tech. If Greer and McNulty are undeniably our two best guys then we need huge improvement out of them. Plain and simple. It is not absurd to give the other two qbs more of a legitimate look. Especially if the necessary improvement is not made. But But Greer and McNulty have earned another shot and hopefully we see them improve with more time to throw and in a less hostile environment.
Greg: To be a good college QB you need to have physical talent, mental talent, and good coaching. I think Josh Greer has two of those 3. I’m not sure he has the mental make-up to be a good QB. I know we’ve all heard Coach Mac saying that he is a smart kid. Well that didn’t show on Saturday. One thing that worried me about Greer coming out of spring was he decision making. I thought he really needed to speeded it up. I understand he was under tremendous pressure, but it made it worse by not getting the ball out quickly. Also the game plan didn’t help him either. Like you said the composure level needs to raise up.
I’m not sure what you do other than simplify the offense. I know that’s going to upset people, but I really think they asked to much of the QB’s Saturday night. Our offense needs to be more like the UT offense in terms of what they asked Ash to do. Ash was most successful vs. us when he only had 1 or 2 reads. Give Greer a play action boot with a WR crossing route and a TE arrow route. Let the young man see completions before we ask him to read the entire field.
If Greer cant step up I’d skip McNulty and go right to Connor Means. He may not be ready to play with the entire offensive playbook, but we don’t need him to. We just need a guy who can move the chains by any way possible. Means showed us that in the Spring Game. He’s got moxy and that ability to keep plays alive. He may be worth the shot.
The defense was the bright spot for North Texas. Which one of the new faces caught your eye the most? Were there any players that didn’t play up to the level you were expecting?
BillySee58: Re-watching the game, the defense really did play great. Played very well on third down as well. Holding the Texas offense to 31 points is outstanding, especially considering the short field they were asked to defend all night. Holding them to just 353 yards is very encouraging. If they can keep improving and feed off the home crowd then we really have a great shot at holding SMU to a low point total.
Anthony Wallace looked great. He was third-string coming out of spring but not because of lack of talent. The Oregon transfer was absolutely playing at a major college football level against Texas. Plays the game with a passion and flies all over the field, especially for a big linebacker. Jarrian Roberts looked great and was too much for the Texas guards in big on big pass protection, when Roberts would slide inside on pass-rushing downs. He could easily lead the team in sacks this year. Both units of the d-line looked very good.
Greg: Boy did Anthony Wallace look great. That kid came to play. He is going to make a major impact this year. I loved seeing Jarrian Roberts make an impact in the pass rush. I really believe that he is going to be able to be a double digit sack guy or close. I was really impressed with the number of guys that got playing time. Great to see that depth developing. Sheldon Wade was another guy who caught my eye. I thought he played a very solid game
How do you feel about the SMU match-up this week?
BillySee58: A low-scoring game plays in our favor. Not going out on much of a limb there. But the way we pressured Texas with a 4-man rush makes me think SMU’s offense may be in for a long day. However, not getting consistent pressure on a June Jones offense can makes things very difficult on us.
Hopefully we see a new and improved Josh Greer, but if not we need to find other ways to get the ball in the hands of guys like Carlos Harris and Darvin Kidsy. I expect a lot of Pegram, Jimmerson, and Wilson regardless. Our qbs will also very likely have more time to throw this week.
Greg: I’m expecting both teams to be improved. Like you said you better be able to get pressure on the SMU QB’s because they are good enough to find open guys and complete passes. I’m not sure our DL can dominate the SMU DL like Baylor did. UNT should still be able to find enough success to make things difficult for SMU to get in the end zone.
UNT’s offense will look better. Not sure what to expect from the passing game. I do expect that everyone will give a huge cheer on the first complete pass. I think we should be able to run the ball. The one thing that kind of concerns me is they have a 3-4 odd front. We struggled against those last year. I think Kirby struggles with a man directly over him. In the end I believe our offense will do enough to get UNT the victory
Finally, any news on the recruiting front?
Not much news on the recruiting front lately. If anything more internal than external. You get 25 scholarships per recruiting class, and that includes walkons who are put on scholarship who have played less than 2 seasons for that school as a walkon. We added DL Andy Flusche, OL Michael Banogu, and P Eric Keena on scholarship and I believe all 3 will count towards our 2015 class. I also believe RB Erick Evans and DB Sheldon Wade will count towards this class. We also have 3 players grayshirting from 2014 who are set to join the team in the spring and sign with our 2015 class. SMU transfer OL Sam Rice also appears likely to count towards the 2015 class. All in all, despite having just 12 commits, we may have as many as 21 of the 25 spots filled for this class. Which means we must be picky with the remaining spots.
Again I want to thank BillySee58 and his great insight. Every week Billy and I are going to go in depth into a few or maybe just one topic. We look forward to putting these together for y’all.