Categories
General

The (Half-Ass) 2014 North Texas Sports Media Awards

2014 started with so much promise. We traveled deep into the Heart of Dallas, felt its rhythmic, tribal beating, and took what was rightfully ours. I remember when the game started and UNLV marched right down and scored early, that familiar “ol’ North Texas can’t have nothin’” dread quickly washed over and started numbing my extremities in a way only this fan base understands. Then, the team just beat the crap out of them and there was joy and a sense that anything was possible.

Now, we’re a year out and all of those happy thoughts have been replaced by anything ranging from this

http://memegenerator.net/instance/57599916

to this

http://memegenerator.net/instance/57599959

depending on a number of factors ranging from world view, age to political preferences. On the plus side, the last sports match of the year featured our Hoops Benfords on the road holding Texas Tech to 43% shooting (and still losing by 15.)

Wait — was that last sentence a compliment?

I’m glad you asked, because the only thing that seemingly evolved this season was the media coverage around the program, including how things were reported out, spun and otherwise covered. That is why I am proud to present the first Mean Green Nation media year in review. This is by no means comprehensive or coherent, so please direct any and all hate mail to your personal twitter account and hashtag appropriately to fully capture your outrage.

The Quoner Memorial “Hey – Remember When Johnny Quinn Was Everywhere?” Award: Johnny Quinn, for being everywhere
Who else but Olympic hero Johnny Quinn. Now that he broke down the walls to everyone’s hearts, we surely won’t hear the end of him, right? See, he’s right there between the TCU/Baylor controversy and Donald Sterling forever!

The George Dunham Bravado Award: SMU speech at the coach’s show
George usually finds ways to show how little he cares for the message board/blog crowd on his show, but that didn’t stop him from firing up his own YouTube comment section-worthy “HOT TAKE” on SMU before the game:

“I am a North Texas grad,” Dunham said on the radio show. “That is our rivalry. I hate SMU and always have. If they were playing Russia State, I would root for Russia State to beat them by four touchdowns.”

Two theories here – he’s been watching Red Dawn between film study and show prep, or he just hadn’t fired up the old Taketronic 6000 since the Reagan years. Don’t worry, those sea legs come back quick.

“I Bet Coach Wants This One Back” Award: Dan McCarney on how hard it is to win at North Texas
Of all the Dan McCarney decisions that can be second guessed this year, I think the one to complain about his situation is the worst one – because if he doesn’t win next year, you’re going to read it endlessly from every angry internet hot take artist with a pulse.

Weirdest Twitter Feud Award: The SID and Student Body President
It all started with an attempt by the North Texan to explain why people aren’t attending basketball games anymore (probably a major mystery we should put out best men on), and ended with a very weak quote to come out of a student representative’s mouth. That said, I think most of us would have missed it if not for some hot Twitter action a few days later. It looks like they hashed it all out and even came to an understanding, but it just seemed weird to do it publically. Thanks internet.

Best Rehash of an Untrue Origin Story Award: Each CUSA Broadcast team who recited the Mean Joe Greene story.
We didn’t name the team after the player. It is a fun story but untrue. Do we want it to be the origin story? Doesn’t matter. Do we think it would be easier to just let the announcers run with it and keep up the fun? Doesn’t matter. Is it laziness on the part of the announcing crew, who are either inexperienced weatherman doing a gig where they get to be Pat Summerall and John Madden; or a couple of pros who actually wish they got the TCU/Baylor game on FSSW? Doesn’t matter. Is it on the SID’s plate o’ facts that are always ignored? Doesn’t matter. Where is Snopes when you need them?

I Hope That Guy Does Well Award: The kid that did the sideline reporting during the CUSA broadcasts that writes for NT Dailyit turns out he doesn’t write for the Daily. Where did I get that from? — and also does the Green Guys show. Green Guys isn’t particularly great, but it is a show about MG and I love them for it. Three cheers for good ol’ Evan Nemec, who was miles ahead of any of the other school’s sideline kids. A special shoutout to UAB’s sideline reporter lady, whose less-than-awesome dispatches spawned a bit on the Deranged Pengwin Podcast that no one understands. Woot!

Most Random/Optimistic Tweet in the Face of Sorrow Award: Mean Green Sports Social Media
Running the official social media feed is a thankless task – so why start thanking anyone now? They knew what they signed up for. Sometimes, when things are going poorly or the situation is a little odd, you got to just dive in and make the best of it. [You can totally pick which one here]


https://twitter.com/FSSWGirls/status/456892448854114304

SID Intern Working OT Fun Fact of the Year Award: (Tie) November Record vs. Four Year Record
We won November, which is more than Indians can say. Also, it was pointed out we have 22 wins in fours years in some game notes. Don’t be depressed about that – just the number make you feel like you just got 4 Dodges worth of wins.

Best North Texas State Reference: All of Them!

I didn’t get a chance to see the LHN coverage of the first game from the crowd, but dammit I know one of them called us North Texas State. Damn you 1961-1988! Damn you SCOTT BAKULA!!

Craig Miller Memorial Allegiance Award: Mike Taylor of the Ticket in San Antonio
Imagine if Randy Galloway’s less talented clone from another dimension was trying to do Ticket (Dallas) bits and you have imagined Taylor. In his defense, he is the best San Antonio has on the air and when his bosses let him be fun he was fun. He went to NT (for a while) , but insists on rooting for TCU (he’s from FW) and throwing shade this-a-way. Like purposefully calling us NT State in the lead-up to the UTSA-UNT game (it’s as genius as calling a guy named Chuck Charles until he politely asks you to stop for the 50th time.)  Its grating after a while and when you are in San Antonio and the only bit of Fortune 500-funded-media (iHeart Radio, neé Clear Channel) that is talking UNTvUTSA is Taylor, it is relatively inescapable.

Citizenship Award for Classiest Opponent Play-by-Play: Rice Owls Soccer Announcer Calls Our Soccer Coach a Prick on the Air
Watching women’s college soccer is an interesting activity when placed in the context of larger college sportsball watching activities. One of the things you realize is that the broadcasts are unrestrained, un-good, and sometimes unhinged.

Here is the audio!

Categories
Basketball

Looking Ahead to UNT’s Basketball Conference Schedule

 

North Texas has one game left on its non conference slate and that is tonight vs. Texas Tech. After that it’s on to conference play. Honestly the conference schedule looks pretty damn scary. I had this team winning 16 games during the regular season. That would mean that they need to win 10 in conference. It’s hard to circle 10 wins in a tough conference like CUSA. I broke down the games in 3 categories. First category is Winners. These are games I firmly believe that North Texas will win. Second category is Toss ups. These are games where it could go either way for UNT. Lastly you have the Need a Prayer category and I think you can figure out what that means.

 

Here’s what it looks like:

 

Winners (60% and up)

UTSA

Southern Miss

Rice

 

Toss ups (40-50%)

@Rice

@Marshall

UAB

Middle Tennessee

@FIU

Charlotte

UTSA

 

Need a Prayer (Less that 30%)

UTEP

@Charlotte

@Old Dominion

Louisiana Tech

Western Kentucky

@FAU

Old Dominion

@UTEP

 

So if you give UNT the (3) Winners and half of the Toss ups (4) you come up with 7 wins. That would be one more than last year and 13 for the year. That would be pretty disappointing if you ask me.

 

Now early in the season I hinted at this team struggling early on and picking up steam mid January. Is that still a possibility? Sure it is. North Texas had so many moving parts and new pieces to start the season. It takes time for basketball team to gel. We’ve seen them put together a nice win against Creighton. We’ve also seen them lose to a bad team in Prairie View A&M. The Prairie View loss is hard to swallow as a fan, but if you look around the college basketball landscape almost every team this year has a bad loss. Still was unacceptable in my eyes. So how can North Texas right the ship?

 

  1. Fix the offense

This offense has been atrocious for most of the season. Part of the problem has been not having a point guard. The other and bigger parts of the problem are bad shots and turnovers. When UNT takes care of the ball they can stay in most games. When they get sloppy it turns in the double digit losses. The bad shots are just from poor execution. I understand that sometimes you have to take a contested shot, but you don’t have to do it as much as UNT does. Too many times a North Texas player attacks the basket with no lane or opportunity to get off a good shot. It turns into a bad shot, foul, or a turnover.

 

  1. Create an unequal opportunity offense

Just because you get the ball doesn’t mean you should be taking shots. There are only a few guys on this team that I believe can be viable offensive weapons. Those are Jordan Williams, T.J Taylor, Jeremy Combs, and Maurice Aniefiok. I left Voss off because I believe he is more a role player and not a go to guy on offense.

 

  1. Better Penetration D

Numbers tell us that North Texas has a fairly good defense. Film tells us a different story. UNT has adopted the 3-2 & 2-3 zone this season. I like the fact that this is forcing teams to beat North Texas from deep, but I would like to see better execution. If you go back and watch the Creighton game you’ll see Creighton get into the lane whenever they wanted and then kicked it out for an open shot. Penetration is the easiest way to break down a zone. If UNT is struggling to stay in front of guys well then just sag back a little bit. I feel pretty confident that we have guys with enough athletic ability to make up space when needed.

 

 

UNT has a lot of work to do down the stretch if they want to make a run during conference play. They have guys with talent to make a run, but I’m not sold on the coaching. Coach Benford needs to start producing results on the court. The product at North Texas has been in steady decline ever since his hire. Fans have voiced their displeasure by simply not showing up to the games. I wonder if the AD is even paying attention to that. Students, alumni, and fans won’t show up simply because of some promotion or marketing gimmick. Only way to get fans in the stands is to win games.

Categories
Football Recruiting

JUCO-stravaganza

Now that we’re two-weeks removed from the conclusion of the 2014 football season, recruiting season is officially upon us. Coaches will work relentlessly in order to sign their top targets on Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 — National Signing Day.

However, before NSD there is a much less-hyped, yet more immediately impactful signing day taking place this Wednesday, December 17th, 2014. That day is for Junior College (JUCO) signees who are set to become mid-term enrollees and enroll in the spring semester. That allows them to participate in the crucial spring practices.

Heading into this offseason our coaches are tasked with replacing twelve players who started at least six games (six on each side of the ball). Among these twelve seniors were all three of our all-conference players. Combine these personnel losses with actual loss-column losses — a 4-8 season1 in which we struggled to legitimately compete against the few .500 or better teams we faced — and you’ve got a good recipe for a busy JUCO recruiting season.

During the year, as some panic was beginning to set in, we saw some JUCO offers going out at new positions and we’ve seen more since the season has ended. We’ve also hosted quite a few JUCO visitors in Denton. Here’s a look at what JUCO positions we are looking at filling and who the recruits/candidates are. I’ve listed the positions in order of likelihood that we’ll sign a JUCO player in that position. I’m also not listing every JUCO offer we have out, since some have already committed elsewhere or have eliminated us from contention.

Just the realistic options.

Offensive line:

Losing four of five starters, this is an obvious need. We’ve already received a commitment from JUCO interior lineman Brian Ochs, but offensive tackle is the position to look out for here. Not only do we lose both starting tackles, but none of the young guys were able to emerge and take the right tackle spot in fall camp, prompting the coaches to move Cyril Lemon from guard to tackle. Those young guys still could claim a spot this year and end up being good players, but taking a JUCO OT or two is almost a necessary insurance policy.

  • OT Justin Sandifer (visited 12/5/14), listed offers from Louisville, Georgia, Florida, and Miss State.2

  • OT Preston Brooksby (visited 12/5/14), listed offers from UTSA, Old Dominion, Georgia State, and Weber State.

  • OT James Works, listed offers from East Carolina, Marshall, Georgia State, Idaho, Utah State, UAB3

Defensive back:

Another obvious position of need, with 3 of 4 starters graduating. Losing two safeties makes that an obvious spot to potentially add a JUCO. Additionally, losing second-team all CUSA cornerback James Jones is huge. Jones has played a crucial role for the UNT defense the past two years; being tasked with covering the boundary side of the field and usually matching up with the opposing team’s best receiver.

  • CB Quinton Lane (visited 12/5/14), listed offers from South Alabama, Louisiana Lafayette, Troy, Hawaii, Southern Miss, Jackson State, Jacksonville State

  • Safety James Scott (visited 12/10/14), listed offers from Kansas[^4], Southern Miss, South Alabama

  • CB Wesley Bailey, listed offers from Indiana, MTSU, Idaho, Utah State, Georgia State

Linebacker:

2014 saw a noticeable, yet inevitable dropoff in production at linebacker following the loss of NFL’er Zach Orr and fellow starter Will Wright. In addition to still trying to fill the shoes of those players, we now have to replace our one consistent linebacker from last year in first-team all CUSA linebacker Derek Akunne. Akunne was also our only linebacker with the legitimate size you look for in a SAM (strongside) linebacker. The JUCOs we are recruiting seem to be bulkier, inside linebacker types who may both be given the chance to fill Akunne’s spot at SAM or compete to replace Fred Scott and Anthony Wallace at middle linebacker if they don’t pick things up and have a good spring.

  • LB Antreon Bennett (visited 12/5/14), listed offers from Charleston Southern, SE Louisiana

  • LB AJ Hotchkins, listed offers from Bowling Green, Southern Miss, Texas State, Georgia State, Idaho

  • LB Jamal Lucas, listed offers from Texas State and UAB

Quarterback:

The position that is most highly debated going forward. Many fans want a JUCO QB who can come in and immediately jumpstart our offense, but most fans also agree our success with JUCO QBs under McCarney has been poor. The coaches have said we will be signing a guy here. I believe if we don’t sign a JUCO QB to come in and be a mid-term transfer then that may be a good indication we’ll look to add a graduate transfer QB sometime before next season.

NOTE: we have not offered these two qbs as of yet, but have expressed interest.

  • QB Damarcus Smith (visited 12/5/14), not seeing much info on him. Highly recruited out of high school.

  • QB Jake Hubenak, offer from San Diego State

 


  1.  Against one of the worst schedules in the FBS 
  2. Georgia, Florida, Miss State offers do not appear to be committable 
  3. UAB football program has disbanded 
Categories
MGN Podcast

MGN 24: Eliminated

Ladies and gentleman, gather ’round and lets discuss this loss with your friends Adam and Justin. Do you now hate UTSA? Is this a rivalry? What the hell were we thinking by running that fake field goal?

Official Podcast of the Unofficial UNT sports blog Mean Green Nation! had @JustinBrumit and Greg Goedecker on to talk about the terrible loss to UTSA, what that means, and how to deal with the hurt.

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.

MGN24 download link