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Inside the Numbers: Can McNulty Have a Breakout SR Season?

Last week at CUSA Media Days Coach McCarney caused a bit of a stir with his answer to a question about whether or not current Mean Green starting QB Andrew McNulty could make the jump and have a break out season like Derek Thompson did in 2013. Here is  his answer to the question.

“I think it can happen. There is no doubt,” McCarney said . “The guys who have been around the program have seen the same things from Andrew as they did Derek. Does he have the biggest gun you have seen in college football? No. Is he the fastest cat you have ever seen? No. But he has intangibles. He has heart. He has toughness. He has respect and a great understanding of our offense and the way we want to play football.”

Now, I understand that Coach Mac was going to use his coach speak vernacular to answer that question. I’m mean really did you think he was going to just flat out say NO? His response got me thinking if it was within McNulty’s ability to improve as much as Derek Thompson did his senior year. So with that I started to look into the stats.




Both of these guys possessed the following characteristics heading into their SR years.

  • Heart
  • Toughness
  • Respect of the Team
  • Knowledge of the Playbook
  • Understanding of how the Offense should be Run

So far McNulty is on pace to make the jump like Derek did. He has all those intangibles that you would like to see in your SR leader QB.




Thompson clearly had seen more game time coming into his SR year. Dont underestimate those 4 games vs Power 5 teams. Thompson proved that he could go on the road in hostile environments and play at a high enough level to compete. McNulty has never started a game vs Power 5 team. He has only played meaningful minutes one in game against a P5 school. That would be last year against Texas where he completed just 1 pass.

McNulty is losing ground in this argument now. You cant replace game experience. Its great to know everything about your offense, but being able to execute it in game is a whole other story.






If you take Andrew McNulty’s stats from last year and add in the same improvement that Derek Thompson had from his JR to SR years McNulty’s stats for next year would be:AM Improve

Now that is not a big improvement at all, and I doubt that would be enough lead North Texas back to a bowl game. In order for McNulty to improve to a level statistically that DT had his SR year he would need to improve in each statistic by the following percentages:

AM to DT

Okay now we are talking about McNulty being one of the most improved QBs in college football. Maybe one of the most improved ever. I find it pretty hard to believe that he could make that kind of improvement on the field. Are we being fair to McNulty though? Maybe not. His stats from last year were really from only 6 starts. What happens if we average those out over a 12 game season. How much improvement would McNulty need to reach Thompson type statistics?

AM 12

If you compare those numbers to the type of jump that Thompson made his SR year it doesnt look as bad now. Still its pretty much double of what Thompson did, with limited game experience. So in reality is it possible for McNulty to make a jump to Thompson’s in terms of statistics? Most likely not.


North Texas does have a new QB on campus who is providing fans with hope. His name is DaMarcus Smith, and he is a JUCO transfer from Butler CC. Many fans are hoping Smith beats out McNulty to earn the starting QB role. Well Smith has a lot to work to be done, because he missed out on spring ball. Smith does bring some big time talent and stats with him.

DaMarcus Smith


Compare those to another QB who followed a similar path that Smith took. Zach Mettenberger was a high recruited QB just like Smith.

Met Butler CC



Mettenberger landed at Georgia before transferring to Butler CC after running into some trouble. Mettenberger put up similar numbers to Smith at Butler CC and eventually landed a scholarship to LSU. The Head Coach at Butler CC said Smith had similar arm strength to Mettenberger. I know a lot of Mean Green fans hope that Smith turns out to be as successful as Mettenberger did at the FBS level. Mettenberger sat for most of his first year at LSU before taking over as a starter his JR year. The LSU stats I threw in were from his JR year. If Mettenberger could have success against SEC level competition why couldn’t Smith do the same here at NT vs CUSA competition?




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