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MGN Podcast

57: Deuces

In this extra long edition of the podcast, Adam and Greg discuss the end to the 2015 Football season. They give thanks the seniors, discuss the UTEP game, and then the season in detail. Also a long discussion of Carlos Harris and ‘leadership’.

MGN Podcast is the Official Podcast of the Unofficial UNT sports blog Mean Green Nation!

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Football Football Recaps

Still No Offense: SMU 31 NT 13

I really could just get last season’s recap of the Texas game and swap out the ‘Texas’ words for ‘SMU’ words.

Let’s try the first couple of grafs.

North Texas and the fans and students thereof came to Austin Dallas expecting to give Texas SMU a run for their money in DKR-Texas Memorial Gerry Ford Stadium. The defense did just that. The special teams was equal to their Longhorn Pony counterpart. The offense completely disappointed.

These are facts. They are not in dispute.

Both of the quarterbacks The same guy seeking to replace outgoing Derek Thompson underwhelmed. They combined for fifteen yards He managed 128 passing. Combined. For fifteen One-hundred-twenty-eight. Yards. 15 128

This is in an era where passing yards come in bulk. A weekend where three different quarterbacks put up 500+ yards passing. This is the only thing that’s different. Although WKU’s Doughty had 441

Our guys? 15. 128

It isn’t very much different. The offense scored points this time, which was nice. In the previews (and long before) I have been reminding anyone who would listen that the historic, great, amazing 2013 season was filled with Special Teams and Defensive touchdowns. While this one didn’t have those, the other two groups not called offense were huge in this game. Sure, Trevor Moore shanked a field goal, but overall that didn’t lose the game.

Before we continue let’s look at something else I didn’t like.

Awful Analysis of The Week

From our Vito:

Even when one takes that all into account, UNT was just not very effective. UNT had 240 yards all night after putting up 43 points against SMU last season.

Sorry. I’ll accept UNT had 13 points after 43 last year. Or UNT had only 240 yards after 353 last year. Or UNT only converted 6-16 3rd downs after converting 6-16 last — wait what?

That’s right.

Let’s compare offenses from the last two SMU games:

This Last
Passing 128 108
Pass Att 34 17
Rushing 112 245
1st Downs 17 17
3rd eff 6-16 6-16
4th eff 0-0 1-1
YPRush 3.4 4.5
YPPass 3.6 6
Penalties 15-139 15-139

Another dirty little secret that was hidden under the rug of a complete blowout was the fact that the offense was boring. Now, the more discerning among you remember that Josh Greer could have made more of his attempts early and the run game and defense largely carried the day against a toothless SMU squad.

Offense

Let’s begin where we are most concerned. The QB play was terrible. Andrew McNulty put up 47% passing 128 yards and 2INTs. That’s the worst we’ve had since … November of last season.

Wait, what?

Worst passing games in UNT recent history

Date Opponent Att Comp Pct Yds Y/Att
9/22/15 @ SMU 34 16 47.1 128 3.6
11/22/14 FIU 20 9 45.0 105 5.3
10/25/14 @Rice 34 16 47.1 190 5.9
8/30/14 @Texas 17 3 17.6 15 0.9

Yes. We have four (!!!) games with sub-50% passing in the last year. We know what happened against Texas, and the FIU game was followed up with a solid outing against a good UTSA defense. With an entire offseason, a QB competition, and a QB friendly offense, we had reason to expect a more efficient pass game to take pressure off a talented running back stable.

Instead we got more of the same. The outrage is palpable. The groans after Canales called three straight runs after the initial turnover deep in SMU territory were loud.

On the Game Day podcast I mentioned needing special teams to make plays to overcome the Chad Morris / SMU offensive talent disparity. The opening fumbled snap by SMU’s punter Josh Williams was a gift that we squandered. Sure, Trevor Moore is automatic1, but we don’t play offense to score field goals do we?

Do we?

I don’t know.

The play-calling and the decision making from the coaching staff suggests that we are actually playing to score field goals. Carlos Harris and Antoinne Jimmerson are playmakers but surely someone can catch a 15-yard pass in the end zone? Last season against SMU, I complained that we didn’t try to exploit Darius Terrell’s size in the end zone. This year that size advantage is Marcus Smith against anyone. He was missing from the first series but that’s no excuse to not even attempt something going toward six points.

Even more puzzling was that later Canales and company called three straight deep passes from the SMU 40 when down a point.

This sprout of aggressiveness was surrounded by an infuriatingly predictable series of run-run-pass sequences. Keeping the defense honest would go a long way toward maximizing the QB’s abilities and certainly put the players in a better position to succeed.

Really, isn’t that the entire purpose of the coaching staff? The players win and lose the games, but their coaches are supposed to put them in the best position to do the former and avoid the latter.

What Now?

Carlos Harris defended his quarterback — as well he should. Sed Ellis trashed everyone who was calling UNT trash after the game. These are reasonable reactions to feeling like your fans are not supporting you when you are feeling bad. The fans aren’t turning on the team. Just the coaching staff. And with good reason.

This mess of an offense is squarely on Dan McCarney and Mike Canales. North Texas has weapons to score points. Did you see Antoinne Jimmerson rushing for yet another 25+ yard touchdown? Yes. Imagine if the defense wasn’t stacking the box and sitting on short throws.

This is one calendar year of disappointing offense that is handcuffing a pretty solid defense.

Harris also (rightly) complained about some questionable no-calls by the ref on some deep passes in the second quarter. However, if we are relying on these kinds of things for offense, we are in trouble.

Turner Smiley was second in receiving. He looked good. The reciving corps as a whole were solid but dropped a couple of passes.

Here is the drive chart. NT averaged a starting position on their own 41 for the first half and came away with two FG, 1 Missed FG, and 1 fumble. That’s not winning football on the road.

Start Plays Yards Result
SMU 16 4 8 FG
UNT 15 6 25 PUNT
UNT 46 6 14 PUNT
UNT 20 5 26 PUNT
SMU 30 7 22 FG
UNT 42 1 -11 FUMBLE
UNT 13 11 56 Missed FG
UNT 25 2 0 INT
UNT 1 3 0 PUNT
UNT 25 9 75 TD
UNT 25 10 41 FUMBLE
UNT 22 3 5 PUNT
UNT 25 3 4 INT

Defense

The heroes of the game. Ladies and gentleman, the defense deserved better than what their offensive teammates gave them. Two goal line stands, a couple of forced turnovers, short fields and solid tackling against good playmakers early.

Yes. Matt Davis and that Malone kid had themselves a helluva time running through the teeth of the defense in the fourth quarter.

Still, SMU had the defense on the field for 35:50.

SMU’s drive results for the 9 possessions prior to scoring 24 on their final four (meaningful) drives: Downs, TD, Punt, Fumble, Fumble, Punt, Fumble, Half, Downs.

Remember SMU scared half the fanbase with their first quarter performance against Baylor last week. Everyone, including this blog thought we were going to struggle with Courtland Sutton and Matt Davis. In the end Davis was the player of the game but only after being corralled successfully for the best part of 45 minutes.

The defensive line did a great job stepping up to the challenge of shutting down the inside run game on which the entire Morris offense is based. They did a slightly poorer job tackling him, Malone, or anyone in the open field with consistency. He is shifty, so it’s hard to blame them.

Blake Bean led the team with 10 tackles and forced a fumble. Kishawn McClain was second in tackles and also forced a fumble. James Gray, Cedric Fernades, Zac Whitfield (welcome back!) were all very solid in pass coverage. Whitfield has always had a problem with double-moves and got burned on one but overall he was very solid.

Of course, the defense was without Kenny Buyers, who will miss significant time with a bad back. Chad Davis and company performed admirably in his stead.

Sack Watch

3.0

Leaders:

  1. Rod Young, Chad Davis, 1.0
  2. Andy Flusche, Sir Calvin Wallace 0.5

Very Early Look Ahead

Rice can run and they are very good. The mood of the fans after what was essentially a home game will be interesting to watch. Lots of message boarders and online people were suggesting they weren’t going got show up. That likely is a lot of immediate frustration talking.

Still, Greg mentioned that the students were complaining about having had taken the bus and having to watch a disappointing ending.

Three weeks into the college football season is a difficult time to play your first true home game. I’ll be there. This game with Rice was always going to be more important that the one with SMU, rivalry aside. Rice is a private school that looks down their noses, also, and they are in the conference. A win at home against a solid Rice team will go a long way to soothing the hurt everyone feels.

Random

This guy was very annoying.

face_of_smu


  1. Yep. He did miss one. 
Categories
Football

Previewing the North Texas Offense

Can UNT turn potential into production?

In 2014 the North Texas offense never got going. It was atrocious and just out right unwatchable at times. 2015 will be different it has to be different. If changes aren’t made and there is no progress then the 2015 Mean Green will be staring at a 2 or 3 win season. Nobody wants to see that, but its truth. 2015 has presented NT with arguably the toughest conference schedule they’ve had to face in a long time. There is reason for hope with this new Mean Green team. The offensive roster is loaded with potential. Yes its un-proven, but talent is there. There should be no complaints this year about NT not being talented enough to win games. The WR and RB positions have enough potential weapons to make this NT offense the most explosive since Coach McCarney was hired in 2011. It would certainly be nice to do it in those new jerseys that just got teased. I believe in the motto “look good, feel good, play good.” Yes the QB position is up for debate again, but McNulty should be better, and DaMarcus Smith really looks like he could be the answer. The OL lost a lot of starts, well more like a ton of starts, but Mike Simmonds really can coach’em up. He has Kaydon Kirby at C to direct traffic out there. Its not like there isn’t talent at that position either.

Then there is the debate of spread up-tempo offense vs. the traditional grind it out power rushing attack. McCarney is in favor of the grind it out offense, but he may be leaning towards the move to a spread up-tempo look. Spring games arent usually a good indication of whats to come, but I believe what we saw this spring is the type of offense we will see in the fall. Why? Well it favors both McNulty and Smith at QB. They are both spread QBs instead of drop back pocket passers. It will create simpler decisions, which will lead to quicker decisions for the QBs. Those quicker decisions get the ball out to the play makers like Carlos Harris or potential play maker Tee Goree in space. Explosive play makers in space equal points on the board and the Mean Green would love to light up the scoreboards this year. Plus with a new defensive scheme being put in, it could really help the defense. The spread up-tempo could also still do the things that Coach Mac wants. It could still wear down opposing defenses in the 4th quarter. Jeffery Willson and Jimmerson could be the dynamic duo that seals games. Oh wouldn’t that be a pretty site?

In order to be successful the 2015 NT Offense Must:

  • Solve the QB Problem
  • Improve explosiveness (4.4 yards per play is unacceptable)
  • Balance the play calling
  • Spread the ball around to the weapons
  • Shore up the pass protection, way to many hits on the QB last year
  • Open up better running lanes
  • Find a WR to complement Carlos Harris
  • Score more TD’s in the red zone, FGs are nice but TDs win games

 

 

QB

By now everyone is aware of the troubles that NT had last year at QB. From the first snap against Texas it was nothing, but bad. Sure there were a few moments of good play, but those were short lived. The thought by many fans heading into last year was that NT would be better at QB. Well not so much. It was a constant struggle for the QB unit to find a suitable replacement for Derek Thompson. JUCO Josh Greer started and quickly showed he didn’t have the goods. Dajon got a look, but couldn’t get over the turnover bug. Andrew McNulty got his chance and showed good effort, but didn’t have enough talent to make a difference. Now NT has turned the page to 2015 and they are still searching for answers. McNulty had a good spring and showed some strides during the spring game. Williams left the program and Greer is still searching for his confidence which disappeared against Texas in about 2 minutes. So NT is left with McNulty and another JUCO hero DaMarcus Smtih. Smith was a highly recruited 4 star QB out of Kentucky who has been all over. Smith did some nice work for Butler CC and his highlight reel has NT fans hoping that he make those same highlights in a green and white jersey.

 Biggest Question Mark

Can DaMarcus Smith unseat McNulty a top the depth chart before the season opener against SMU?

 

RB

One word will define the 2015 NT running back unit – explosiveness. Jeffery Wilson will go into fall camp as the number 1 guy on the depth chart and he deserves it. Wilson combines an aggressive running style with speed. Both the coaching staff and fans are exciting about what Wilson could bring to the offense this year. When talking about the RB’s one can’t forget about the Jimmy Show. Antoinne Jimmerson is Mr. Big Game. When the lights shine brightest is when Jimmerson puts on his show. Jimmerson is sometimes a dancer in the backfield, but he does always tend to make that first tackler miss. He is a nice complementary back to Wilson. There are a few other guys who could make impacts for this unit. Willy Ivery is a speed back that could see touches in multiple ways. Look for Offensive Coordinator Mike Canales to get Ivery the ball in space with screen and swing passes. Fullback Jarrod Lynn can pick up those 3 & Short situations and is a capable blocker. Rex Rollins is coming back from a nasty shoulder injury, but he has some good straight line speed and size.

Biggest Question Mark

Does the lack of a power back signal a change in the offensive philosophy?

 

WR/TE

Was it the QB or failed development that held the 2014 WR unit back? It was probably a little bit of both. One player who stepped up to grab the spot light was Carlos Harris. Harris is a tremendous competitor who just wanted to succeed. At times you could see the frustration in his body language, but he never stopped competing. Harris is back to close out his career at NT with bang, but he will need help because he can’t do everything himself.  To help Harris NT has a young up and coming speedster Turner Smiley. Smiley had a great spring and spring game. He has vaulted himself into a starter role. Highly touted Tee Goree redshirted last year, but he has the potential to be really good this year. Darvin Kidsy is explosive with the ball in his hands just look to his return ability. Problem for Kidsy is he struggles to catch the ball sometimes. O’Keeron Rutherford has the size to be a great red zone target, but needs to add a little muscle. UNT also brought in JUCO WR Thaddeous Thompson who racked up 642 yards and 7 TDs last year at Scottsdale CC. Thompson could provide a big outside target WR that NT is lacking right now. All these guys have potential to be weapons, but Carlos Harris is the only proven weapon. Whoever the NT QB turns out to be he should have plenty of options to sling the rock to. This WR group could turn out to be the best NT group in a long time.

 

We can’t forget about the TE targets. Marcus Smith could be an absolute beast out there. He is the one guy on this team that I could absolutely see on Sundays.  NT is going to line Smith all over the place. His athleticism allows NT to spread the field while still providing good run blockers out there. Chris Loving was supposed to be a big time player, but he hasn’t lived up to the hype yet. The good news for NT fans is that he showed some flashes in the spring game that lead me to believe he could be a weapon this year. He isn’t as athletic as Marcus Smith, but he still pretty athletic. Smith and Loving on the field at the same time could give a few team trouble this fall.

 Biggest Question Mark

Carlos Harris and Marcus Smith are the top 2 targets, but who steps up at the WR position to take pressure and coverage off of Carlos Harris?

 

OL

Paul Brown one the greatest NFL Coaches always thought the best way to build teams was down the middle. Well NT has a really good building block in the middle with Rimington and Lombardi Watch List C Kaydon Kirby. Kirby is quite the story. He came to NT as a walk on and worked his way into a starting position against some great competition. Outside of Kirby there are a lot of unknowns. NT brough in JUCO transfer G/C Brian Ochs to help out at one of guard spots. Ochs played with DaMarcus Smith at Butler CC. OL Sam Rice transferred from rival SMU to NT last year and had to sit out. Now he is eligible and provides experience and talent to an OL in need of it. At the Tackle positions it will be intresting to see who the Mean Green walks out there against SMU. Michael Banogu had a good spring and got some time last year at LT. Banogu looking more and more like a lock for the LT position. At RT there is a little bit more uncertainty. Chris Miles and Micah Thompson will be battling it out. Miles was a highly recruited kid and has great potential. Miles should be able to hold of Thompson for the starting RT job. This OL unit may not have the accolades that the 2014 unit had, but they do have an edge in athleticism. That should allow the Mean Green to really work the zone blocking scheme out of the shot gun formations. Ideally you want an athletic OL if you’re going to be running a spread offense instead of the road graders.

 Biggest Question Mark

Can Tackles Chris Miles and Michael Banogu prove to be suitable tackles?

Project Offensive Starters

 Returning Production

  • 86 Career Starts
  • 6 Starters
  • 55% of the Total Rushing Yards
  • 52% of the Total Rushing TDs
  • 71% of the Total Passing Yards
  • 46% of the Total Passing TDs
  • 76% of the Total Receiving Yards
  • 92% of the Total Receiving TDs

2014 Outputs

Off 7 Off 6 Off 5 Off 4 Off 3

Off 1

5 Factors

Off 2

 

Mean Green Nation Preseason Preview Series

I’m no expert, but I enjoy putting together a decent preview for the NT football season. This year I’ve listed out what to look forward to in our Preseason Preview.

Previewing the North Texas Offense

Previewing the North Texas Defense

Top 5 Impact Newcomers

Schedule Breakdown

North Texas Player Ratings (Madden Style)

CUSA Power Rankings

CUSA Unit Rankings

CUSA Predictions

North Texas Stat Predictions

North Texas Bold Predictions

Categories
MGN Podcast

38: The Season’s Gone

Hello ladies and gents, listen as Adam and Adam Rosenfield from Underdog Dynasty talk some North Texas vs UTSA, and recap the season. Greg chimes in from twitter.

MGN Podcast is the Official Podcast of the Unofficial UNT sports blog Mean Green Nation!

Click here for the podcast feed. That should get you everything you need. You can play the episode from there or subscribe via your favorite podcast catcher.

We are also in the iTunes store.

You can contact the podcast at podcast@meangreennation.com.

Important Links:

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Categories
Football Football Recaps

It’s Over: North Texas 27 UTSA 34

It is over. This season was disappointing in many respects. The offense was the worst in recent memory. The defense had to defend with short fields or deficits all year.

In this game the offense exploded (comparatively speaking) for 27 points thanks to Trevor Moore and muffed punts from UTSA. It is ironic that we lost the game thanks to a muffed punt of our own. The defense gave up some big runs and big passes that did us in. The offense managed to score enough to stay in it early and benefited from the special teams pouncing on those UTSA muffed punts.

Such was our season.

It was a great time seeing my alma mater playing in my hometown. I will never forget it and no loss can make it any less awesome. I still love my alma mater. No matter the losses, no matter the disappointment this team is my team and it always will be.

The Woman and I went down to sing the school song with the squad from my perch in 144 and thank whomever I could as they walked disappointedly off the field. Reggie Pegram, great guy that he is threw over his gloves. Antoinne Jimmerson came over and said hi.

It hurts to lose another game against UTSA but no one feels it more than the guys that played the game. 2014 is over. Here’s to 2015

North Texas.

Categories
Football Football Recaps

Jimmy Show: North Texas 31 – FAU 10

I mentioned in the Breakdown that the run game has been sneakily suspect. For a team with a pound the ball mentality, the run game has only been good against not-so-great run defenses. The game notes threw out the stats as well.

149 – The North Texas ground game is averaging only 149 yards a game this season, seventh in the C-USA. However after eight games in 2013, the Mean Green ground game was only averaging 157 yards a game on the ground, before finishing the year with a bang, and pounding out 217 yards a game in the final five games of the season. FAU has struggled against the run, allowing 212.7 yards a game on the ground, 12th in C-USA.

Full credit to the SID staff for being so positive. We were pretty mediocre last year, too! But we turned it around! Maybe we’ll do so this year! They were right, however. It isn’t a trend that anyone wants to see year-to-year but it is hard to not like the fact that the offense improved after a bye week. Antoinne Jimmerson looked explosive in his first handful of carries.1 He had two highlight plays in the first quarter. The first was him Barry Sanders-ing a run from left to right for about 15 yards. His second was the explosive 41-yard run where he showcased his speed on an inverted veer.

North Texas made liberal use of pulling lineman on both power and counter runs left and right. On first viewing they looked like power plays but McNulty’s movements suggest they could have been counter plays. There isn’t a marked difference between the two. It is just the difference between running weak side and running strong side.

So the run game was great. . . in the first and fourth quarters. In the middle it stagnated a bit, which we’ll credit to FAU of not taking the game lying down.

The Good

The running game produced 235 yards of offense. Antoinne Jimmerson ran for 111 in the first half alone. The offensive line was physical, after being challenged by pretty much everyone including Y’Barbo himself. The defense completely owned FAU for the most part. The Owls’ first half yardage total was something like 65 yards. They finished with just 197 yards and a good portion of that was garbage time when their fate was settled. Jaquez Johnson went 14/25 for 99 yards. That’s only 4 yards per attempt. Those are run game numbers. For a defense that has been suspect in these last four losses, this was a return to North Texas football.

McNulty did a good job driving the bus and making some solid throws when he needed to. He wasn’t called on for a ton of important passes but he completed some big drive-sustaining ones. He floated a few passes that were lucky to avoid interception, but he also threw a score and ran for another.

 

The Bad

FAU isn’t very good. They’ve been salty in some of their games — with some close losses to WKU and even UAB. They gave Marshall some kind of game a few weeks back by holding them under 40 points for the first time all season. The run game’s return was great for about two quarters and gone for the middle two. The explosive first quarter set up some potential easy passes for McNulty, but he was a bit slow in getting the ball to his guys. Given that the season goals have changed to “get better” instead of “win the conference/make a bowl” this is not a huge deal. Still, you’d like to see the offense develop a bit beyond quick screens complimenting the run game. There were few, if any, deep shots down the field to take advantage of the successful run game. The one shot was intercepted in the end zone.

For the most part this game was wrapped up some time in the third quarter. FAU didn’t really look threatening at all. Most fans on twitter (from what I could tell) were hoping for the offense to step on the throat and win the game with a big touchdown drive. That didn’t happen. McNulty’s pass was intercepted.

 

So What?

This game is a positive note in an otherwise disappointing season. That much is obvious. It is great to see the defense return to form, and for the running game to show signs of dominance. Antoinne Jimmerson is quietly having a really nice season. He’s on pace to set career highs in yardage, carries, and scores running the ball. He very well could have a 1000 yard season if he things break right.

There is an outside shot at bowl-eligibility. If North Texas wins out, they’ll end with 6 wins. Will that be enough to garner a bowl invite? Who knows. It would be an incredible end to a bad start and might just recapture the lost momentum of 2014. While UTSA isn’t nearly as good as they were last year, and FIU is about as good as FAU, UTEP is scary. They can run the ball2 and play much better defense than they did last season. UNT handled the Miners pretty easily last season. That won’t be the case in El Paso.

In a perfect world, we’d have seen some improvement in the pass game as the offense exploited the defensive performance. Alas that was’t the case.


  1. Which is something Greg has posited that only occurs after he gets warmed up. 
  2. UTEP is averaging 210 yards per game rushing.  
Categories
Breakdowns Football

THE BREAKDOWN: Rice Owls

North Texas Mean Green

vs. 

Rice Owls

Time: 11:00 pm CT

Location: Rice Stadium Houston, TX

Line: Rice -14

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Weather: Sunny, with a high near 84. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.

 

Stats

Stats L 3 Games

Player Stats

O Starters D Starters

ST Starters

 

 

 

Game Notes

North Texas

Rice

CUSA


Match-ups

 

 

UNT O UNT D SP T

 

 


 Five Factors

 

Five Factors

 


Rice Scouting Report

 

Offensive Overview:

The Owls continue to  have a zone read option attack and this year its lead by Driphus Jackson. Jackson is pretty good threat to run or pass. When he does hand it off it will be to one of their two explosive RBs. Those RBs are Jowan Davis and Darik Dillard. These guys are compact, but are tough physical runners. Davis and Dillard are also capable receivers out of the backfield. They have racked up 162 yards receiving. Rice has a few good receivers that will be tough for UNT to stop. Jordan Taylor is the first that comes to mind. Talyor was hurt early in the year, but is back in the line up. He has had 175 recieving yards in the past 2 games averaging over 20 yards per catch. Besides Taylor look to for Mario Hull and Zach Wright to be the other targets Jackson looks for. On the OL they are led by Andrew Reue and Matt Simonette two guys who were selected to Phil Steele’s Mid-season All Conf-CUSA team.

Rice is going to attack the edges of the UNT defense with WR screens and option plays much like last year. They are also going to use play action to get the ball down the field. Dont be surprised if Rice attacks the UNT defense with short passes early in the game only to set up the deep passes later. I could see a few double move plays.

 

Play Calling WR Targets

 


Defensive Overview:

Rice’s defense is led by two potential All American/All Conf/Draft-able players in CB Bryce Callahan and NT Christian Covington. This Owl defense has gotten better as the season has progressed and you get the sense that they are primed for a shutdown type of game. Their only loses came against teams with very good QBs, which is something that the UNT offense does not have. The last 3 games they are only giving up around 300 yards per game, which is pretty tough to do in today’s game. Last year the Owls secondary really shut down UNT’s passing attack holding it to only 104 yards. That was primarily because Rice had two great CBs. This year they only have one, but should still be able hold the UNT passing game in check. UNT only has one real receiving threat between the 20’s and that is Carlos Harris. If Callahan is able to lock down Harris, it could be a really long day for UNT.

The main Rice alignment will be a  4-2-5 defense with the 5th DB being their KAT safety. Not an overly aggressive defense and wont blitz as much relying on their front 4 and playing coverage. I feel like UNT should be able to run on the Owls. They have been average in shutting down the run, but they are likely to load the box to make UNT throw the ball.

D Play Calling

Against the D 3 Against the D 2 Against the D 1

Against the D 4

Against the D 5

 


Special Teams Overview:

Brandon Hamilton is a prime time returner who is averaging 29.7 yards per return and could have a big day, but he shouldn’t get to many chances. Callahan is decent punt returner, but only has 2 on the year. The Owls have switched to K James Farrimond after James Hairston went 2-6 to start the season. Farrimond is 4-4, but hasn’t attempted anything over 30 yards.

 


Rice Players to Watch:

QB#6 Driphus Jackson – 88-144, 11 TDs, 3 INTs, 197.5 yards per game passing, 190 yards rushing

 

WR#15 Jordan Taylor–9 catches for 176 yards,2 TDs

 

RB#3 Jowan Davis–121 carries for 517 yards,2 TDs,11 catches 101 yards

 

NT#1 Christian Covington– 14 tackles, 1 Sacks, 2 TFL

 

CB #29 Bryce Callahan– 20 tackles, 1 Sacks, 2 TFL, 1 FF, 1 FR

 

 


North Texas Players to Watch:

RB #22 Antoinne Jimmerson – 73 carries,392 yards, 4 TDs, 5 catches 66 yards

 

WR #9 Carlos Harris– 42 catches for 558 yards, 2 TDs

 

LB #7 Derek Akunne– 65 tackles, 3.5TFL

 


 

 Game Plan for Victory

 

How Rice will win:

If Rice plays a balanced game on offense its going to be tough for UNT to beat them. UNT doesn’t have anybody to match up with Jordan Taylor who had 71 yards receiving against UNT last year. Basically if Rice is able to run the ball effectively they should be able to set up play action and go deep. Almost every team has had success against UNT down the field. Defensively Rice should load the box and play press man, which they are going to do. Give help to Callahan over the top in case he gets beat by Harris and the rest of the DBs should be good. Make McNulty beat you from the pocket and limit is throwing lanes. Alot has to go wrong for Rice to lose this game, but it is the CUSA West and crazy things do happen. I will say that UNT is losing games on the road by an average of 30 points and that Rice is 3-1 after a bye week since 2012.

How UNT will win:

There is a lot that has to go right for UNT to have a chance to win the game so lets start off with the QB position. McNulty has to play mistake free football. He has to be really careful about when he does take is chances down the field. Secondly someone other than Harris has to step up in the receiving game. I would like to see Turner Smiley get some more work. When he has been in this year he has made some plays at the end of games.  UNT will have to really dominate in the run game and get back to the physical football that they played last year. It seems like we’ve seen 3 different types of offenses this year. I wan the one closest to last year. UNT will also need to shrink the game. The UNT defense has really struggled against balanced offenses this year. They are struggling with play recognition and well just about everything. Having a good run game could shrink this game and get the defense off the field. UNT will need to keep everything in front of them, no big plays over the top. They will need to use a contain rush against D. Jackson. He is only 6’0 and has a tough time seeing over the OL. If UNT rushes the passer like they normally do it will open up all kind of running and throwing lanes for Mr. Jackson. Finally UNT will just need to get lucky. Seems like they haven’t had a bounce go their way in awhile. Perhaps a big play to start the game could get momentum rolling in the right direction.


 

Predictions

Adam (2-5) – Rice 34  North Texas 21

Greg (5-2) –  Rice 35  North Texas 28

TEAMRANKINGS – Rice 35  North Texas 21

numberFire – Rice 31 North Texas 22

Bleacher Report – Rice 33 North Texas 20

Sports Network – Rice 41  North Texas 23

Sports Chat Place – Rice

Brett Vito – Rice 31  North Texas 17

GMG.com

 

Categories
Football

Perspective Time: Southern Miss 30 North Texas 20

Instead of doing important things with deadlines attached to them I am writing about college football. You are reading my writings about college football. That says something about you and me.

It means that we care about this thing. We care enough to think about it when there is no “reasonable” excuse to be doing so.

Maybe it is the latent tribal mentality expressing itself in the recesses of our brains. Maybe we are all a little bit stupid.

I don’t know about such things. I do know that Saturday was a tough day to be a North Texas fan. Against a program that North Texas beat 55-13 just one year ago, they looked overmatched against a Southern Mississippi running game. The resemblance to last year’s ferocious defense is limited to uniforms and a few familiar names. This isn’t the unit that carried the North Texas program to a bowl game.

Did we expect it to be? Well that depends. I had belief. I had hope. After seeing the effort (and result) against Texas and SMU I thought this unit had the requisite toughness and knowledge of the scheme to approximate The Zach Orr Defense. From the second quarter against Louisiana Tech to now there has been an obvious regression. Whereas Indiana boasts college football’s leading rusher, and UAB a good CUSA offense, this Southern Miss team came in averaging a paltry 320 yards per game. They exploded for 500+. They ran for 201 yards, outpacing their average by 109 yards.

Any hope for a conference or a division title are remote at best. The season isn’t over — there still remains the very small chance of another bowl appearance. That would require a herculean effort the likes of which this team — staff and players — do not seem capable of pulling off.

All that sounds harsh. Sure. It is fun to be a fan and read articles that think up new and ever more fun ways to say how good our favorite team is. It is just as fun to write those.

Is this not fandom? Is this not loyalty? What the hell are we supposed to do?

My favorite1 thing after a loss — particularly bad ones — is to see the twin overreactions of a fan base.2.

Overractions

  1. THIS TEAM SUCKS. EVERYONE SUCKS. FIRE THE COACH. SAME OLD NORTH TEXAS
  2. WE NEED TO SUPPORT THEM. NO NEGATIVITY. YOU WOULD BE RIGHT THERE ALL ON HIS JOCK IF WE WERE WINNING. BE A TRUE FAN.

The right place to be is away from both camps, of course. I don’t know how you can enjoy anything in this world of ours without a little passion. I can’t see how you make it through the drudgery of this world without a little reasonableness. The right mix of the two should get you through this thing just fine.

If you care, you can’t help but learn more about the game. If you learn about the game you can’t help but notice when it isn’t being played well. If you notice that, you might want to elucidate your observation.

There isn’t anything wrong with that.

Generally, you are under no obligation to be positive for positivity sake, though you should probably realize that your elucidated opinion has an effect. Just like your cheering. Over-negativity does no one any good. It makes you look like an asshole. Over-positivity makes you look like a psycho.

But you know that.

That said, let’s figure out what we saw on Saturday.

Reviewing the Storylines

  1. McNulty to Start!

He started. He got behind that big ass green bus and steered. He handed the ball off to Jimmerson and Pegram a bunch and passed to Carlos Harris 15 times for 216. It looked like a mix of Darrell Dickey’s bus drivers and Todd Dodge’s overfeeding Casey Fitzgerald. The important stat (to people who think like McCarney) is that there weren’t any turnovers.

It can be argued that there wasn’t enough explosiveness either. The offense, for all it’s efficiency and steadfastness, only scored 20 points on 395 yards. They only converted 5 of 13 third downs. For what it is worth, McNulty put up more yards in this game than Dajon did in either of the last two. He also threw for significantly less TDs. It has been my contention that I’d rather live with Dajon learning on the job than playing conservative football right now. But they don’t pay me money to make these decisions, yawl.

  1. North Texas Looks to Rebound at Home

I’ve complained about Danny Mac’s self-leniency when it comes to judging his road record. His (and our) beloved Apogee resume is looking a lot worse after losses to La Tech and Southern Miss. In case you are scoring at home, that is three straight conference losses going back to the debacle against UTSA. That was another we were favored in.3

The frustration most Mean Green fans feel comes from the fact that the team looks so uncompetitive in the games it is losing. The losses aren’t bothering people, it is the way they are coming. Losing at home as 2-TD favorites feels like a blow out. That explains the dejected reaction.

  1. The Defense Will Play Better At Home with Positive TO Margin

Nope. This ties into the previous storyline. In each of the last two games, North Texas has been down 21-0 thanks to very early turnovers. In this one, they managed to grab a couple themselves. It didn’t help. Outside of the interceptions, this defense was getting sliced up. Mullens was dealing. He looked like Cody Sokol a few weeks back. After seeing Sokol and Louisiana Tech in the following games, I’m thinking that the Mean Green made him look a tad better than he really is. That is incredibly frustrating.

The Good News

Hey, both Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech had horrible seasons last years. USM has had a horrible string of seasons. College football is dynamic and this is especially so in CUSA. With a little tweaking, a little maturity, and a few adjustments this team can learn a lot from the previous games and improve next year. This is all part of the learning process.

The Bad News

Dan McCarney was famously critical of the previous regime’s recruits. He called them small and slow and not FBS material. He then proceeded to win with Dodge’s recruits. As his own crop of newbies come into prominent positions he has fired off Hot Sports Opinions about the difficulty recruiting to Denton.

These comments met an unhappy audience, myself included. I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt4 however. On January 1, 2014 I couldn’t imagine being the slightest bit disillusioned with Coach Mac, but I now see where things could become ugly.

I mean, it can be argued that Iowa State’s biggest mistake wasn’t forcing McCarney out, but not finding anyone better qualified than him afterwards.

Next Week

Rice. The big season turnaround more or less came on Halloween last year. North Texas clinched bowl-eligibility then. This year, the Mean Green look to get half way to that mark.

Here’s hoping we do so.

GMG


  1. Read: It isn’t my favorite 
  2. Ours, of course, included. I live in San Antonio and follow UTSA a bit so I saw a lot of that during their LaTech loss before our game. 
  3. Against UTSA I think it was 13, La Tech 3.5, USM 13.5. We lost by 8, 21, 10 respectively. 
  4. Chalk it up to frustration, to context, to the heat of passion after a tough stretch. 
Categories
Football

BILLY & GREG’S COVER 2

1. Whats wrong with the defense? 

BillySee 58:

It really seemed like the turning point in the season was the second quarter against La Tech. Prior to that we had a solid defense outing against Texas, beat up on a bad SMU offense, and shut La Tech down in the first quarter. Since then we just haven’t looked good. Even against Nicholls we gave up big run lanes, with their starting back rushing for 95 yards on us, despite not having a passing threat to back us off.

We have really struggled getting off blocks and wrapping up. Anytime a team runs the ball at will, you’ll hear people saying they’re driving us 3 yards off the ball. That wasn’t really the case, as much as they were just sealing us off and not letting us get our run fits.

Another thing we desperately need is a star on defense. You always heard how this team would miss the senior leadership. How about the senior playmaking ability? The ability to strip a ball loose by Marcus Trice, and scoop it up and score by Zach Orr, like when we were down last year against Rice. Or ability of Bellazin to get consistent pressure, allowing us to not have to blitz as much. We need someone to step up and give us some of that.

We have a bend but don’t break defense. We’ll give up yards. We’re built on makng big plays and forcing turnovers. You don’t have a chance to make big plays or win on third down if you’re giving up 50+ yard touchdowns and having zero picks and zero sacks just isn’t making plays.

 

Greg:

Here is the problem with this defense. It’s built on the core principles of bend don’t break like you mentioned, which is similar to a Tampa 2 defense. The problem is we don’t have a LB like Zach Orr to cover the middle of the field like he did last year. That’s a pretty big problem to have if you’re going to play bend but don’t break. Also in that type of system it’s all about your DL being quick and disruptive. They have to be able to get pressure on the QB without the aide of a blitz. Well so far this year our guys have struggled with that. So QBs that are fairly accurate are getting plenty of time to pick apart our defense.

The other problem is that these guys are coached to be aggressive and force turnovers and all that jazz. See ball get ball. Sometimes that causes players to forget about their reads and keys. They get out of position and boom a big play happens.

Bottom line is this is a defense with average talent. There are no playmakers like you eluded too. So defenses that are faced with that problem must play with excellent fundamentals and technique. We haven’t done that this year and that’s why we have given up so many big plays. I do feel like as the year progresses we should start to see the defense play better.


 

2. How has Dajon performed under your expectations so far? Do you like the offensive play calling since he has taken over at QB

 

BillySee 58:

I think Dajon has played great so far. The mistakes are just going to happen, but he’s been able to bounce back well and make big plays. It may sound simple, but he’s clearly capable of throwing touchdown passes. We’ve had times in the past where we’d get down to the red zone but just could not throw the ball in the endzone. We just need him to protect the ball better than he did against Indiana, but that’ll come with experience. Dajon is capable of that. He’s developing before our eyes, and it’s fun to watch that kind of talent develop, as a fan.

I like the playcalling. No need to try and fit a square peg through a round hole. He’s a dynamic, dual-threat guy. The offense has been tailored to utilize those talents and not just line up under center and have him hand off twice and throw on third down. I hope we see a lot of Jimmerson this game (15+ touches), Jeffery Wilson when he gets healthy, and Evans and Ivery. Jimmerson and Wilson’s greatest strength is their cutting ability. In this offense that ability is magnified. Still use Pegram, mainly short yardage, but those guys are your best cutters and speed-wise, most suited for this offense.

 

Greg:

Dajon has impressed me with his poise and ability to move on after mistakes. The question I have moving forward is how does he and Coach Canales react once teams force him to beat them from the pocket? We all know they like to get Dajon out on those sprint roll outs. What happens when teams take that away. Can Dajon sit in the pocket and read the defense and make good decisions? He gets a little ancy sometimes when he has to sit back and read the defense. You see his mechanics suffer when the pocket starts to collapse. There are also those times when he know where he is going with the ball and he delivers is beautifully. So you know he can do it, just needs to trust what he is seeing and that comes with time. If he gets more help from the running game he could have a really good day on Saturday.

Final thought can you imagine if we were still rotating between Greer and McNulty? I don’t want to because that would be a night mare. We needed Dajon because is the only hope we have to making a bowl game.


 

 

3. Always seems like we’re talking about finding play makers. Give me your top 5 for this year’s offense.

 

BillySee 58:

#1. Dajon – we need him to be, he has talent at the most important position, and he dictates so much of what the defense does.

#2. Carlos Harris – just keeps getting open. We need that to continue.

#3 Darvin Kidsy – he has to catch the ball with more consistency. He’s possibly our best YAC receiver, we just need the catch secured before YAC can occur. We need him to be a solid number 2 receiver.

#4. A number 3 receiver – doesn’t matter too much who this is. TE Marcus Smith, Darius Terrell, Skip Caldwell, it doesn’t matter. We need someone here capable of catching more than 2 passes a game.

#5. Jeffery Wilson – a healthy Jeffery Wilson would make a great running mate in the backfield with Dajon for years. He was listed #1 on the depth chart before his injury, and he did start against La Tech. His ability to catch the ball can help as well.

 

Greg:

#1 Dajon Williams – Is there really any question here? He can beat teams throwing and running. UNT needs him to continue to grow and mature as the leader of this offense. Once he gets comfortable with this offense he could be really special.

#2 Carlos Harris – He has been the most consistent play maker and has benefited the most after Dajon took over at QB. You wonder though if the work load is too much. I know Carlos is a beast with a big heart and huge competitor, but you don’t want him taking all those hits.

#3 Darvin Kidsy – Kidsy just needs ways to get involved. The dude makes plays with the ball in his hands and I think most UNT fans would agree. Maybe get him touches on kick off returns too. Do what ever you can to get him more touches. He should be targeted at least 20 %. 237 All purpose yards. 16.9 Yards per touch.

#4 Antoinne Jimmerson – Jimmerson is a fan favorite when he is not auditioning for “Dancing with the Stars” in the backfield. He is the most explosive healthy back. The point is he needs 10+ touches per game. In games where he has had at least 10 carries he has 809 yards rushing, 4.81 ypc, 7 TDs. He like most backs needs those carries to get going.

#5 Marcus Smith  – 5 catches and 2 TDs. He needs to get more looks down the middle of the field. I love the looks we are getting him off the play action calls. Once Dajon settles in I see more plays and completions to Marcus.

 

4. What are your feelings about the UAB game? How crucial is this game if UNT is going to get back to a bowl?

 

BillySee 58:

Yeah, this could easily be a turning point game. Lose and you have a real uphill battle. Win and you have some confidence and a real legitimate shot at getting a winning streak going at home against a very beatable opponent.

This is the type of opponent who, if we’re going to be a bowl team, we need to be able to slow down and put up plenty of points against. It looks like we’ll find out more about our team than we have against any opponent this season. But we absolutely need a quick start. Playing on the road is hard enough. We can’t afford to dig ourselves in a big hole again.

 

Greg:

This is one of those games where UNT needs to come out like IU did last week. Yeah, I know it’s on the road and all, but we need to come out and put UAB in its place. I know Coach Mac probably challenged his OL this week to do something. Start being the road graders that we thought you’d be. We are going to have to put up over 200 + yards rushing to beat this UAB team.

I do think this is a crucial game if UNT is going to get back to a bowl. It’s not must win time mathematically, but its must win time mentally. This is a young team and it needs to get the good mojo rolling. A road loss to UAB could seriously damage this team’s mental resolve.


 

5. Give us the latest on the recruiting front

 

BillySee 58:

We had a parting with our now former JUCO CB commit Zavian Bingham, who tore his ACL. It was a very tough situation that is, unfortunately, part of recruiting. Hope Bingham can catch on some place else.

As for the rest of recruiting, the weekend of the Southern Miss game (next weekend) is going to be a huge game and showcase for recruits. We have a lot of visitors expected to be on hand for visits, including some big name guys. The last time we had a big weekend for visitors was against SMU, and we got two commitments after that weekend. Another big chance for us to impress some recruits.

 

Categories
Breakdowns Football

THE BREAKDOWN: NORTH TEXAS MEAN GREEN VS UAB BLAZERS

North Texas Mean Green

vs. 

UAB Blazers

Date: October 11th, 2014

Time: 2:30 pm CT

Location: Birmingham, AL

Line: UAB -6.5

TV: American Sports Network

Weather: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 82. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.

 

 

Stats

O Starters

D Starters

 

ST Starters

 

 

 

Game Notes

North Texas

UAB

CUSA


 

What They’re Saying

Adam (2-3) – North Texas 31 UAB 24

Greg (4-1) – North Texas 38 UAB 28

TEAMRANKINGS – UAB 32 North Texas 25

numberFire – UAB 31 North Texas 25

Bleacher Report – UAB 37 North Texas 29

Sports Network – UAB 38 North Texas 34

Sports Chat Place – UAB

Blitz Weekly.com – UAB 42 North Texas 27

Brett Vito – North Texas 31 UAB 28

SportsDayDFW Experts

GMG.com 


 

Match-ups

UNT O

UNT D

St Match

 


Five Factors

5 Factors

 


Scouting Reports

UAB

Offensive Overview:

UAB has a very good offense that ranks in the top 20 in yards per game. The Blazers are balanced in terms of yardage and 60-40 when it comes to their run pass ratio. They have a host of explosive play makers that will make it tough for UNT to stop them. They are going to attack UNT up the middle with their ground game. Josh Howard is a big bruising back with decent speed, but he does a great job as the hammer for this offense. Howard get’s the bulk of his yards and work on 1st down ( 62 car for 400 yards). Also he does a lot of his damage in the second half when defenses become worn down (353 yards). UAB’s rushing attack is not similar to Indiana’s. Indiana featured a zone blocking scheme that can give small defensive lines problems. Instead UAB likes big on big and power running plays. What UAB is going to do is come out in 11 personnel which is 1 TE, 3WR, 1 RB. Its going to be a shotgun formation. The TE is going to be lined up in the backfield slightly offset of the T’s. Once the ball is snapped look for either G to pull towards the direction of the run. So if UAB is running to the left they will pull their RG Cameron Blankenship. A lot of times they will have the TE Kennard Backman lead block and have the G’s get right up in the gap between the G and T. UAB doesn’t do a whole lot of running to the outside. Dont just expect Howard to carry the load either. RB D.J Vinson will get quite a few carries and QB Cody Clements is capable of using his legs to give the UNT defense fits.

The UAB passing game is a big play passing attack. Clements is very efficient in getting the ball out of his hands on the short passes, but this is a pass attack that likes to get big chunks. They are in the top 10 in the country in yards per pass attempt (9.5) and yards per completion (15.7). The reason behind the big number is UAB likes to take shots off of play action. The Blazers will give the defense the same look as a run with the pulling G and boom Clements pulls the ball out and takes a shot down the field to speed demon J.J. Nelson. Nelson ranks 16th in the country in yards per catch with 22.6. Most of his big plays come on 1st down as well. Nelson is not the only weapon UAB has in the passing game. UAB has a pretty talented TE in Blackman who leads the Blazers in receptions. Look for Blackman to do his work on 2nd down. The Blazers passing attack is not immune to mistakes. In fact they’ve thrown 8 INTs so far this season. Quite a few of those have turned into TDs. Clements does stare down his WRs at times and that’s where those picks come from. Besides Nelson be on the look out for Magee and Humphrey. Both of those guys are capable of making big plays against the Mean Green.

Play Calls

Formation


 

 

Defensive Overview:

UAB employs a 3-4 defense with an even front. What do I mean by even, well your going to see the Blazers DL line up in even techniques. Don’t expect to C Kaydon Kirby to be covered up with the NT a lot. I’m not saying that it wont happen. I’m just expecting it not to happen often. What Kirby will have to deal with is LBs Jake Ganus and Alonzo McGee. UAB likes to line both these guys up in the A gap. Ganus more often than not will be the guy blitzing and trying to disrupt the play. On the outside UAB will play man coverage something that UNT WR’s struggle with. There wont be those easy pitch catch plays like Indiana was willing to give up. Thats not to say that UNT still can hit on some big plays. UAB is giving up 13.7 yards per completion. There are big plays to be had, but can UNT make them?

UAB likes to bring pressure. I would expect to see multiple pressures from the edge and up the middle.


 

 

Special Teams Overview:

JJ Nelson is a home threat every time he touches the ball, so the UNT coverage units will need to be on high alert. Cant stress enough that they need to stay in their lanes against this guy. UAB’s kicking game is very strong, both Long and Mullins are All Conf type of players. Mullins does a pretty good job with the hang time on his punts. When Mullins doesn’t get a good hang time the Blazers are vulnerable to a big return.


 

Players to Watch:

WR#1 JJ Nelson –15 catches, 339 yards receiving, 1 TD. 8.8 yards per punt return, 33.2 yards per kick off return

The truth is UNT has no one to cover Nelson. He was picked 1st team All CUSA by Phil Steele. Nelson is your classic deep threat guy and will run past anyone UNT has. This is where you need safety help over the top, but that wont happen. Nelson is also one of the most dangerous return guys in the country.

RB#7 Jordan Howard –564 yards rushing, 5 TDs

Howard is big back who is the hammer for the UAB offense. He is not as explosive as Coleman from Indiana, but he is productive and should have a good day vs the Mean Green.

LB #4 Jake Ganus – 25 tackles, 2 Sacks, 6.5 TFL

Look for the ball and you find Mr. Ganus. He led the Blazers in tackles last year qith 93. He is a converted safety so he has plenty of athleticism to fly to the ball.

 


 

North Texas

Offensive Overview:

The Mean Green offense started out slow last week against IU, but picked up the pace and was able to move the ball. Dajon Williams continues his growth and should feel more comfortable with how the offense is developing around him. Williams will need help from his WRs this week. Harris, Terrell, and Kidsy will need to win at the LOS. Big plays could be in store for this group. The running game has been all over the map. UNT has Reggie Pegram who can pick up the tough yards, Jimmerson who can be electric, and Dajon who gives defenses something else to worry about. Jimmerson showed us again why he is so frustrating. When Jimmy doesn’t dance in the backfield he is really good. Perhaps the OL will get better production this week. I’m still waiting for this unit to dominate a worthy opponent. If they don’t do it this week I would threaten to take away their man cards.

This UNT offense could be on the verge of a break-out game. UAB is okay on defense they are not great. They are going to challenge Dajon to make quick decisions. You can bet that they are going to be playing a lot of contain type defenses. The book is out on UNT liking to use Dajon on sprint roll outs. UAB is going to try to take this away with edge blitzes. The goal is to see if Dajon can beat them from the pocket.

If you want to see more about how this UNT attacks it opponents check out this piece we did earlier in the week- Lets Analyze: Offense


 

Defensive Overview:

The key for UNT is to read your keys appropriately. How many times are we going to hear the coaches talking about reading your keys to this team? My bet is your going to hear it a lot this weekend too. With the way that UAB likes to attack its opponents with play action and deep passes it will paramount for UNT to accurately decipher plays. If the Mean Green don’t then your going to be seeing lots of plays over the top. One concern of mine for UNT is the speed that the UAB receivers posses. They’ve got a couple of guys that no one on UNT can match up with. UNT can not get away with no safety help over the top. Again how does UNT do stopping the run will determine a lot of whether or not UAB is able to consistently beat UNT over the top. The front 7 has to do their job in handling the run. The DL should not get obliterated and shoved around like IU did to them. Its a different scheme and more manageable for UNT to win battles. All UNT fans know that Derek Akunne is going to show up, but how about the other LB’s? They are young, but we are now 5 games into the schedule they should be starting to understand what their seeing a lot better. If UNT is able to get UAB in 3rd and long situations you should see some pressure on Cody Clement. The UAB RT Hayden Naumann is a guy I think UNT can beat. Get Chad Polk or J. Roberts matched up against him I think we can win that battle. In the secondary we need to see a better effort from Buyers, Lee, and Jones. That trio is good enough to stop the bleeding. If they don’t play well then UNT has no chance in this game.


 

Special Teams Overview:

For the most part the UNT special teams have been pretty rock solid this year. They do a good job in coverage, but will be tested by a really good returner this week. D. Kidsy is an electric return guy for the Mean Green and could hit a few big returns in this game. K Trevor Moore has been really good and so have the punters Eric Keena and Blake Macek.


 

Players to Watch:

RB #22 Antoinne Jimmerson – 47 carries,228 yards, 2 TDs, 3 catches 44 yards

Get Jimmerson involved early and don’t go away from him. Once he gets 10 touches he starts to get better. He could open this whole offense up.

WR #4 Darvin Kidsy – 9 catches for 92 yards, 5 pr for 145 yards, 1 TD

UAB is likely to be focused on stopping Harris. That should open up things for Kidsy. I’d like to see UNT get the ball in hands more, because he is just as explosive as Harris. Kidsy also needs to catch the ball when targeted. He should be catching over 50% of what thrown his way.

CB #13 James Jones– 24 tackles, 1TFL, 2 INTs, 1 TD

This is one of those games where I could see Jones coming up with an INT. Somebody for UNT is going to to get an INT and I have my money on Jones. He is UNT’s best cover corner and will be under fire all game long. A big game is needed.

 


 

 Game Plan for Victory

 

OFFENSE

  1. DOMINATE the line of scrimmage
  2. Attack down the field. Take those shots
  3. Limit early mistakes, and mistakes in your own territory
  4. Hit at least 24 passing attempts
  5. Average 6 yards per 1st down play
  6. Average 6 yards per play through the game
  7. Get close to 200 yards passing
  8. Get close to 250 yards rushing
  9. Convert over 50% of 3rd downs
  10. Score over 35 points

DEFENSE

  1. Force UAB into a 3&7 or longer 70% of the time
  2. Limit UAB  to under 120 yards rushing
  3. Limit UAB  to under 230 yards passing
  4. Limit UAB to under 5 yards per play and under 5 yards per play on 1st down
  5. Limit UAB to under 30% 3rd down conversation rate
  6. Force 3 UAB turnovers
  7. Sack the QB 5 Times
  8. READ the KEYS CORRECTLY
  9. Dont let the QB scramble convert 3rd downs
  10. Limit UAB to 28 points and under
  11. DON’T GET BEAT DEEP ON PLAY-ACTION

 

Final Thoughts

This is game where I fully expect UNT to come out and play aggressive. Like Vito mentioned in his prediction, Coach Mac is a great motivator. The proof is that he is 14-6 after a loss winning by an average score of 38-15. This team is angry and focused after losses. Right now UAB is playing at a higher level than UNT and they do things that UNT does struggle with. That being said, they are also trying to learn how to win and deal with success. After every win this year they’ve lost. UAB has heard all week how good they are playing and how great the homecoming game will be. That will translate into a let down. They won’t be play at their highest level.

Mostly everything in my head told me to pick UAB to win this game. Their explosive offense, it being a road game for UNT, their play action offense, and their decent defense. I hate to do this, but I just feel like they will turn the ball over a lot vs. UNT. Turnovers is not a stat you should rely on when picking a game, but I do feel its why UNT has a solid chance at winning this game.  This is a 50/50 game and a chance for one of these programs to really jump start their season. For UNT its about gaining momentum. For UAB its about keeping that momentum going.

You want to know why North Texas will win this game?

Because Dajon Williams that’s why.