This off-season has been uninspiring for most Mean Green fans. It seems as if there is an all time low in confidence among UNT fans that the upcoming 2015 season will be anything other than a disappointment. Why the discontent? Well there are a number of factors ranging from low fundraising numbers to poor scheduling to even lower confidence in the AD. However, there is one thing that bugs Mean Green fans the most. That would be the possibility of Andrew McNulty being the starting QB for the 2015 season. So can UNT get to bowl eligibility with McNulty at the helm? Let’s examine.
The Case For:
Leadership– McNulty brings a sizable amount of leadership to the QB position. He has been around the program long enough and the guys on the team respect him.
Knowledge– No other QB has the familiarity with the offensive system like McNulty does. At this point in his career he should be able to get UNT out of bad plays and into good ones. There shouldn’t be much an opposing team could throw at McNulty that he hasn’t seen on film or on the field.
Increase in play-making ability and explosiveness around him– Last year you could maybe point to 1 or 2 guys outside of Carlos Harris who were a real threat against opposing offenses. This year McNulty has Harris back, but he also has TE Marcus Smith who he seems to be developing a red zone connection with. He has a 2nd year Jeffery Wilson who is explosive. The Jimmy show is back. Also add to the mix Tee Goree, Rutherford, Kahn, and Kidsy. All those guys have been making plays in spring practice. McNulty just needs to get the ball in their hands and they will do the rest.
Simpler Offense– All accounts and sources we’ve talked to have indicated that UNT is trying to work towards a quicker paced and simpler offense for the QB. Last year it just seemed like the QB whoever it was, was trying to read a book back there in the pocket. There were too many reads and too many plays that took a long time to develop. I’m all for seeing more of a 1 read offense. Hey its worked all over the country at many programs. Why wouldn’t it work here too?
The Case Against:
The Schedule– It’s not really McNulty’s fault that the schedule it tougher than in 2013, but it’s still a fact working against him. He has to raise his level of play to beyond that of 2013 Derek Thompson if UNT is to manage 6 wins against the tough 2015 schedule.
The Defense– The defense will not be a top 20 D in the nation. I’m not saying the UNT defense will be awful, but they are replacing a lot of talent and a defensive coordinator. McNulty won’t have the luxury to lean on the defense to keep the score low. He has to move the offense and has to score TDs and not FGs.
The Stats– I’ve seen the thought out there that if McNulty could put up similar numbers to Derek Thompson then UNT has a chance to win 6 games this year. Well DT’s stats were decent his senior year 2896 yards passing, 16 TDs, 13 INTs, 64.4 completion%, and a QB rating of 133.6. It’s not unthinkable for McNulty get close to those except for the completion %. McNulty is at about 55% CMP throughout his career when he has seen significant time. One way McNulty does get close is if UNT goes to a shorter passing game. Combine the facts that the schedule is tougher with the defense being is weaker and it equals McNulty has to put up better than average numbers. He doesn’t have to put up great numbers, but he has to put up good numbers. I’m talking 2:1 TD to INT ratio, at least 2800 yards +, and a completion percentage over 64%.
Overall Talent– How much better can McNulty get, and has he reached his ceiling as a football player? He is not going to shred defenses with his laser rocket arm. He is not a big athletic QB, and I have serious doubts he can survive the punishment of a 12 game schedule. No defense will fear him. He has to be able to beat opponents in the mental game, because he wasn’t blessed with good football talent.
McNulty is a good guy no one here is doubting that, but the deck is stacked against him for 2015. He has to make some serious strides as a QB. He also needs a good amount of help from the guys surrounding him. He needs the newly revamped OL to protect him, because he can’t take the beating that he took last year. He needs the young offensive playmakers to actually step up and be explosive. He needs the coaching staff to develop a game plan that suits his strengths. He will need an under experienced defense to grow up quickly and provide support when the offensive sputters. All totaled McNulty needs a lot of things to go his way if this Mean Green football team can even come close to sniffing six wins. I along with a ton of Mean Green fans will eat a big plate of crow if McNulty is able to pull it off.
Feel free to let us know how you feel about the possibility of McNulty starting at QB this upcoming year!