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Football Football Recaps

No Shows: Louisiana Tech 42 – North Texas 21

Hey! We sure had some dope lids.

We sure had no offense in that first half. Look at those six straight 3-and-outs. That’s not winning football, ya’ll.

Drive Chart
Drive Chart

Josh Greer looked poor again. His decision-making was too slow to break down the Louisiana Tech pass rush, which was augmented by an assortment of blitzes. Why? Well the Bulldogs scouted the Mean Green well enough to know that OC Mike Canales’ offense can pretty much only run well.1 LaTech loaded up on the run and brought the house on the passing down (usually third-and-long).

That meant we punted often. The Mean Green defense, our only hope, was predictably tired and began giving up touchdowns instead of forcing punts. Give a ton of credit to much-hyped Cody Sokol. He stood tall in the pocket and delivered strikes.

Still, North Texas nearly overcame the hellish first half — really the hellish 2nd quarter — and almost got back in the game in the 3rd. The game was all but over after Carl Caldwell fumbled the ball into Terrell Pinson’s hands who returned the ball 61 yards to the North Texas 2 yard line. Kenneth Dixon punched it in on the very next play putting North Texas down four scores and sucking any life out of the team.

It could have ended there but a turnover on a Louisiana Tech punt allowed Cody Sokol to pad the stats a bit late. Dajon Williams stoked the fire of the QB controversy by leading his second unit to two scores that made the final score somewhat more respectable.

Offense: C-

Once again the offense looked inept against a good team. Louisiana Tech is not bad in that they aren’t SMU, the worst team in America. Josh Greer isn’t helping his case as starter. The run game couldn’t get any traction with the entire defense keying on it. Later, when Josh Greer put together a couple of decent drives, Carl Caldwell fumbled and the game was basically over after that.

Dajon’s TD drives were against the second unit, and freshman, and they came when the game was no longer in doubt. Does that mean he should start? No. He should get a start because Josh Greer looks like he is processing the defense too slowly, delivering ducks, poor balls, and is to slow when attempting to evading the rush. Dajon, whatever rumors you believe about him, looks decisive and at the very least can make the defense miss a bit.

Nicholls St and Indiana are up next. There are nine days before Nicholls, and fourteen before Indiana. I imagine we shall see some hard looks at the offensive units.

Defense: C+

They looked good in the first quarter, but that may have been because Cody Sokol was going through his usual slow start. The secondary gave too much cushion to the receivers as Skladany said, but the real problem was the penalties. The drive-sustaining roughing call in the first half led to a score, and the holding call against CB James Jones overturned an interception. Would he have picked that off if he didn’t hold? Probably not. It doesn’t matter because no good defensive play was going to come after a penalty.

This defense needs to play perfectly for the team to expect to win. The offense is completely unreliable right now. They did not and so we got rolled. That doesn’t mean they didn’t play okay-to-good.

They had to defend short fields all first half as Josh Greer and company put up six-straight three-and-outs. In the second half, they had to defend a 2-yard field and a 12-yard field that both led to immediate scores. It would have been nice to see FG attempts there, though I realize completely how difficult that would have been to do. Again, they need perfect defense to be able to expect to win.

Special Teams: C-

They didn’t do anything especially good but one thing really bad. The turnover put a stake in the heart of any miracle comeback that even the most hopeful fan had. Carlos Harris forever looks on the verge of taking one back but still hasn’t. CUSA Special Teams Player of the Week Trevor Moore didn’t get a chance to show off his skills.

Coaching: D

Two runs and a pass. Two runs and a pass. Two runs and a pass. Missing on a recruit happens. That is why you recruit some depth. It looks like we have two poor options at QB and one talented option that doesn’t go to practice2. The offense was this predictable last year and without Brelan Chancellor and the message-board hero Derek Thompson, this thing looks completely inept.

Mike Canales has some talent at his disposal. Carlos Harris is capable, Darvin Kidsy has some speed. Erick Evans and Jeffery Wilson look breathtakingly explosive. And yet we saw six-straight three-and-outs.

That is simply ridiculous.

John Skladany has his guys playing like Spartans at Thermopylae. They are losing the battle but winning lots of fans.

Alumni: F

Way to show up for a big game ya’ll. I can’t wait for the current crop of students to buy all your seats and fill up the stadium. The worst part of this game is that you have your ready-made excuse for your absence. “I won’t show up until we get a consistent…. ” Oh shut the hell up.

Show up.

Put your venting posts here.

Greg and I will podcast Saturday and discuss the win over SMU and this disaster tonight.

#GoMeanGreen


  1. I mean, relatively speaking. 
  2. Or so I hear. 
Categories
Football

2014 Preview: Offensive Outlook & Coaching Staff

Editor’s note: The following is part 3 of the comprehensive Season Preview Breakdown that can be found here, in pdf form. Follow @MGN_Breakdown for more stuff from Greg and @meangreennation for more MGN.

See Part 1 here
See Part 2 here
*

On the offensive side of the ball UNT will be trying to replace some of the most productive players and explosive players the program has ever had.

A quick look at what McCarney will be replacing: 7248 total yards, 44 touchdowns, 13 offensive line starts, and 60% of all the passing targets from last year. Gaudy numbers indeed. Replacing guys like Brelan Chancellor and Darnell Smith will not be easy. Offensive Coordinator Mike Canales will lean on Carlos Harris, Darvin Kidsy, and Darius Terrell. They should provide a solid group of targets for whomever wins the starting QB job.

Also look for production from Turner Smiley, John Chelf, and Carl Caldwell. It would also not be surprising to see one of the true freshmen make some kind of impact. The most dynamic of the freshmen group may be Tee Goree who destroyed his high school competition. The WR group looks to be a fun to watch once the fall rolls around. In discussing the receiving core one can’t forget the TE. Last year’s group was nothing flashy, but they were solid and did exactly what was needed. This year TE Marcus Smith returns and he looks to build upon what was a great ending to the year. If Smith can improve his catching he has the ability to be a difference maker for the Mean Green. At 6-4, 255 he is a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses.

At running back the program is loaded with good talent. Yes, Brandin Byrd was a great productive back, but together Antonnie Jimmerson and Reggie Pegram could match his production. That’s only two of the players who will get touches.  Guys like Erick Evans, Mark Lewis, Rex Rollins, and possibly FR Willey Ivery could all get looks. All of whom have shown ability to make big plays. It will be a crowded backfield, but that’s exactly how UNT likes it. Each one of the guys mentioned brings a little something different. Jimmerson is shifty, while Pegram is a bruiser. Evans is lightning quick while Lewis excels in short yardage situations.

Finally, and what may be the most vital group to the team’s success is the offensive line. This group will return 4 out of the 5 starters. Two of the guys in this group Cyril Lemon and Antonio Johnson could end up being the guys that break the draft-drought for North Texas. Cyril Lemon has started every game the past three years, which is quite the feat. Lemon who has played OG for most if not all his time at UNT will get a chance to spread his wings this year with a move to OT. Moving into Lemon’s guard spot will be Shawn McKinney. McKinney played in 12 games last year and started 2 at RG. Shawn is a mountain of a man standing at 6’4 365 lbs, he will be a key part is clearing paths for the UNT run game. Center Kaydon Kirby was a great success story last year, coming from nowhere to earn the starting job. He is only a RS-Sophmore and should benefit from starting 13 games last year. Starting at LG will be SR Mason Y’Barbo. Y’Barbo is the nasty man of the offensive line. He not only looks the part of a tough rugged man he plays the part too. Finally at LT will be Antonio Johnson who has been a starter since his FR year. He has been a rock at the LT position for UNT. This group have been outstanding during their years here. The past two they have given up the fewest sacks in the country while also helping the running game amass over 4400 yards.

This year’s offense attack will not differ from years past under Coach McCarney and Coach Canales. It will be focused on a punishing running game and ball protection. Canales will also not shy away from taking shots down the field when it has the opportunity.

What is different from years past is that there is new quality talent ready to step up and replace the stars of the past right away. In 2011 & 12 it was a huge question mark if there were any play makers on the team– outside of a few names. Now it is a question of which guy out of 5 or 6 will step up. Unlike years past the talent is there; now that talent just needs to be paired with opportunity. There will be plenty of opportunity for the new guys to put their stamp on this 2014 UNT football team. This year’s offense has explosive ability. Five or six WRs have the ability to turn 5 yard catches into 20+. The running backs are explosive and powerful, and at least 2 or 3 of them could have 100+ yard games. The quarterback position is a question, but the guys battling for the job provide a boost in athleticism. UNT could also see more production from the QB-run game. It all adds up to an offense that has the potential to take people by surprise. The question is, how long will it take for everything to come together?

COACHING STAFF

Coach McCarney lost two of his key assistants this offseason and both of them were on the defensive side of the ball. There are no worries because of his connections and respect in the college football landscape he was able to replace the departures with quality hires. The new DL coach is Kevin Patrick who spent time with Coach Mac in South Florida. In the secondary the new hires are Perry Carter (Safeties) and LaMarcus Hicks (Corners). Both of these guys spent time in the NFL as players. Coach Carter was recently coaching with the Houston Texans. Coach Hicks coached DB’s at Concordia University in 2013. Hicks is a previous player for Coach Mac at Iowa St.

The coaching staff at UNT is one of the best in CUSA and in the state of Texas. Most of the coaches have been with Danny Mac since he started at UNT. They’ve played a tremendous role in resurrecting UNT from the college football graveyard. While some fans criticize play calling, development, and other things I will chose to congratulate this staff on what they’ve accomplished. There are a lot of wise men on this staff and the fan base is lucky to have such a great collection of coaches for cheap.