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
Football

Home Field Advantage

North Texas Football has gone 16-7 over the three years McCarney has coached at Apogee. This is no unimpressive feat considering the era: Post Todd Dodge, the worst coach in North Texas history. In 2013, the Mean Green nearly went undefeated at home, barely losing (on the scoreboard, not in game control) to UTSA in the final – cold-as-hell – game. This season the team went 4-2, only losing to Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech, albeit in disgusting blowout fashion in both cases.

There is something to be said for taking care of business in your house. It helps to make a case for fandom to the Casual Fan.1

Home Record in Apogee:

  • 2011: 4-2. Wins: Indiana, FAU, ULM, Troy. Losses: Houston (opener), WKU
  • 2012: 3-2. Wins: Texas Southern (FCS), ULL, South Alabama Losses: Troy, ArkSt
  • 2013: 5-1. Wins: Idaho, Ball State, MTSU, Rice, UTEP, Losses: UTSA
  • 2014: 4-2. Wins: SMU, Nicholls State (FCS), FAU, FIU Losses: La Tech, Southern Miss

Record at home: 16-7. Record against FBS at home: 14-7.

Next year we likely will play five at home. I’m ambivalent about this considering there was an unofficial promise to never play less than six at home once we got the shiny new stadium, and the fact that about 200 people showed up for the finale. It is difficult to cry about the number of home games when the Metroplex doesn’t show up for them. Might as well take the cash from an SEC school or something.

That said, without buying a game from the likes of Texas Southern or Nicholls these last couple of years, we wouldn’t have had at least two wins. I’d love to see more home-and-homes with the Houstons and Indianas of the world. The new College Football Playoff puts a CUSA school in an ideal payday situation. FCS games don’t win you many CFP points, apparently. Surely a lower-tier Big 5 squad would swing though DFW to boost their schedule?

This is the difficult part about being in a desirable area. Thanks to the Death Star, other colleges have a place to show their wares to the highly-ranked high school football recruits here. They don’t need to swing through Denton.

I mention all this in an effort to say that I appreciate the difficulty presented to Athletic Director Rick Villarreal. I still don’t like having only one game on schedule. Here’s hoping we use some of the money Iowa and Tennessee are paying to squeeze in a last-minute FCS squad. Every one loves blowouts you know.

Post Script:

The dirty secret is that UNT has been absolutely atrocious on the road. Dan McCarney says that’s because we play good teams (meaning money games). To that I’d respond with UTEP, Rice, and UAB this year, along with Tulane & Ohio last year. Not exactly your college football glory programs. This poor record on the road is partly the reason UNT is a six-point underdog to an absolutely awful UTSA team on Saturday.


  1. The ever-elusive, the much sought-after, the one who barely knows sports anyway but whose dollars are coveted. 
Categories
MGN Podcast

MGN 22: 40-6!

In this week’s episode:

Official Podcast of the Unofficial UNT sports blog Mean Green Nation! had @JustinBrumit on to talk about the opening win against Idaho, attendance, uniforms, CUSA, and the QB situation.

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.

MGN22 download link

Categories
Football

Idaho

I have a good feeling y’all

The enthusiasm for the program is high. The stadium is nice, the team has depth, and the conference, even if only in name and reputation, is more prestigious. The future is bright and Danny Mac is wearing shades, etc.

The Opponent

Idaho’s 2012-2013 season was apparently so forgettable that the NCAA star book refuses to link to it.

Fret not, however, CFBStats has you covered in any case. Upon browsing that terribleness you’ll learn that Idaho averaged 15 ppg while giving up 42 and only beat a horrible New Mexico State. Paul Petrino, brother of Bobby of cheating-with-his-employee-and-wrecking-his-motorcycle fame, has now taken over this mess. Paul coached offense or wide receivers or both pretty much wherever Bobby went, including that unpleasant stay in Atlanta in 2007.

His is a mountain of a task. Idaho not only has the same program troubles any small-conference, isolated school located in a sparsely-populated region has, but it has to overcome them after Boise St already did. There are few reasons to go to the state of Idaho to play college football but if you had to it seems like you would choose Boise over Moscow.

In any case, his rebuilding (is it not just building?) project begins Saturday at Apogee against a man in year three of a fixer-upper assignment of his own: Unleashing the much-discussed (yet never realized) potential of the University of North Texas football program.

A sure sign of McCarney’s progress is the fact that Idaho is a 15-point underdog. There are teams obviously worse than North Texas now; that is something that was not always true under the previous regime.

It is worth addressing the frequent references to the Dodge Era by this blog, and by the fans. The thing is that it was the worst era in the history of the program. Seriously. Look it up. It probably is a good thing that it happened in retrospect. Todd Dodge was a cleansing fire, purging the remaining unhealthy ties to the bleak eras-post Hayden Fry, the Bear Bryant-like figure of UNT.

I realize I sound like Ra’s Al Ghoul in saying this. In that case let me just continue by saying that the Darrel Dickey period just postponed the necessary cleansing.

Now the entire administration seems to be realizing that running the program cheaply won’t bring success despite the heroics Dickey performed (under conditions he loudly protested against.)

Long story short: The ship has a capable captain and an administration that isn’t so stingy. I mean just look at the athletic budget. That’s why we’ll win 42-24.

That said, this beer is telling me that we’ll slaughter them 70-3.

GO MEAN GREEN