North Texas Mean Green
Date: October 4th, 2014
Time: 1:30 pm CT
Location: Bloomington, IN
Line: IU -13
TV: Big Ten Network
What They’re Saying
Adam – North Texas 27 Indiana 24
Greg – Indiana 35 North Texas 27
TEAMRANKINGS – Indiana 34 North Texas 23
numberFire – Indiana 35 North Texas 24
Bleacher Report – Indiana 34 North Texas 24
Sports Chat – Indiana to cover -14
The Game Five – Indiana 42 North Texas 17
The Fan Indiana – Indiana 34 North Texas 20
Brett Vito – Indiana 34 North Texas 20
You might remember Kevin Wilson from his days at Oklahoma in the 2000s. He was partly responsible for the wide-open, no-huddle, scoring machines some of those teams were. If you don’t know him you might know a guy he coached with: Kevin Sumlin. Oklahoma has been an Air Raid derivative since the Mike Leach days in 2000. Kevin Wilson has brought some of that mentality to Indiana but isn’t going to pass the ball 89 times like Mike Leach. To wit: The Hoosiers are 12th in rushing per game at 275. They will spread you out and gash you with Tevin Coleman and sprinkle in a dash of D’Angelo Roberts. They’ll pass it to Shane Wynn, a quick wideout who is climbing the all-time Indiana career charts. Nate Sudfeld is a Manning Award Watch List guy. He, too is climbing the all-time charts at Indiana. They can move the ball. Without an offense to at least keep some kind of pace with these guys this could get ugly. Some combination of Louisiana Tech’s passing with Texas’ run game.
Indiana’s game notes say that Kevin Wilson has had 9 games of scoring 40+ in his three years at the school. They can score.
Indiana’s primary focus is attacking the edges of the defense. They like the stretch zone running play. Their OL is athletic enough to get out an block on it too. Maryland did a great job of sealing up the running lanes which kept Coleman from breaking the big one. Their WR unit is a group of undersized quick guys. They focus more on hitting short passes than attacking down the field, as they rank near the bottom of the NCAA in yards per pass attempt. Sudfeld can be good and he could be bad. Hard to see him having 2 bad games in a row.
Indiana has nine returning starters from a team that is improving under new DC Brian Knorr. Noah Joseph came from Danny Mac’s staff and coaches the safeties. They have given up some big points to Maryland and Bowling Green. They are experienced, though. They have improved in all the per-game averages across the board but I’m sure those numbers will change as they get deeper into the B1G season.
Indiana’s principle scheme is a 3-4 defense. They’ve been able to raise the level of talent through recruiting so this is not the same defense that UNT faced back in 11. They have been inconsistent early this year, but even in their lose to Maryland they showed the ability to play well. Their problem has been the big play. They got burned by Maryland over the top. Can UNT take advantage of this? That will be a determining factor if UNT can hang in this game.
Special Teams Overview:
The Hoosiers are decently ranked in KR defense (12th), poorly ranked in returning kicks (97) and have allowed a blocked punt. You never want to take any team lightly but it isn’t any secret that their strength is on offense and not on Special Teams. Shane Wynn is explosive so he should be watched closely but outside of that this is a unit that North Texas can win the matchup against.
Players to Watch:
RB#6 Tevin Coleman –691 yards rushing, 7 TDs, 93 yards receiving.
This is the nation’s leading rusher, ya’ll. Think about that. The UNT defense is 11th in the nation at stopping the run. Immovable object, unstoppable force and all that. He has a streak of 100-yard games going that we can try to end. Should be fun. He also has a 13-game rushing touchdown streak that we can end.
WR#1 Shane Wynn –21 catches, 235 yards receiving
Indiana’s pass-catching machine. With our corners playing soft coverage on him, the key to stopping him will be in wrapping up. That’s something our guys are good at, but this 5’7″ 167 lb guy is quick.
DT #95 Bobby Richardson – 12 tackles,3 Sacks, 3.5 TFL
He isn’t the biggest Defensive Tackle in the business at only 286 lbs, but he is effective. He was the leading tackler on the line last season (39). He racked up three sacks against Indiana State. He hasn’t got one since. Let that be the Indiana version of the misleading sack stat (our 10 vs Nicholls being the other). He will have to be dealt with up front. Our experience and talent should be enough to neutralize him but don’t be surprised if he makes a big play.
The North Texas offense has undergone a transformation in the recent weeks. By moving redshirt freshman Dajon Williams to QB, the Mean Green have become a simpler yet more dynamic offense. Mike Canales already had some read option principles in his offense and now with Dajon at the helm he is able to take those principles and build off them. The passing game is no longer defined by a drop back passer trying to decipher through multiple reads. Instead its a quick hit passing game that will take calculated shots down the field. What now makes those deep ball shots so much more lethal is having a QB who can accurately deliver it on time and a QB who is great with his pump fakes.This offense will not just be a Dajon Williams show. RB Reggie Pegram is a solid performer who can pick up the tough yards. Alongside Pegram will be a host of electric backs who can house it in a hurry. Those gentlemen would be Erick Evans, Antoinne Jimmerson, and Jeffery Wilson. The WR position is a group of guys who continue to show that they can be play makers with the ball in their hands. Darvin Kidsy and Carlos Harris headline that WR group. For UNT fans I would look to see more out of Darius Terrell this week. He could put some big plays on the Hoosier defense. Lastly the OL is one of the most solid groups in the country. They have under performed this year, but are still capable of being great on a given day. The OL’s performance will tell the story of whether or not UNT is able to hang in this game.
Ah. What more is there to say besides the fact that this offense has looked awful passing the ball without Dajon Williams doing the throwing. The good news? He will be throwing the ball on Saturday in Bloomington. The bad news? Well, we don’t know what he can do against non-FCS competition for a full game. Especially one that has prepared for him. Sure, he looked spry last year against Idaho, nifty against SMU , and amazing against Nicholls but those teams were 1) awful, even worse, and in a complete clusterfudge respectively and 2) not prepared for him.
Indiana has watched every second of the Nicholls film. They’ve no doubt watched everything Canales has run with a mobile QB. They know that we struggle if the run game is stacked-against. They’ll do that against Dajon and see if finding Carlos Harris is more difficult against B1G squads than against the Southland’s. We will learn a lot.
Are the message boarders putting too much pressure on him? No. They aren’t. They are fans doing what fans do. The only people that can put meaningful pressure on him are his coaches and teammates. He has earned every bit of praise he has received. He is talented. He is the most talented on our roster. He is our best hope for salvaging the season. He also nearly fumbled away his chance to be in this position.
All that said, Dajon doesn’t need to lead a high-scoring crew out there. If he can manage the game — that is to say keep the Hoosier defense honest and not stack the line — this team is filled with enough playmakers to score points on Indiana.
On defense the Mean Green have suffocated the bad teams (SMU and Nicholls) that they have faced and struggled against the average teams. Some of that maybe the fault of poor offense from UNT. Still though that doesn’t account for missed reads and getting out of position. Make no doubts about it, this defense wants to play fast, aggressive, and physical. Missing an assignment or key can easily result in a big play. Typically UNT’s does a great job at keeping everything in front of them so that they can play their brand of football. If Indiana is able to run the ball successfully then its going to be a long day for UNT. I have a hard time believing that UNT will be able to stop Indiana’s run game, but they can limit the big plays. The LB’s Fred Scott, Derek Akunne, Sed Ellis, and Jamal Marshall need to do a great job of closing down the running lanes that do open up. Coleman is too good to be given any type of space. Two guys who will be tested the most are safeties Lee and Wade. They must be able to stick to their keys and not get caught looking in the backfield otherwise you’re going to see balls flying over their heads.
Ah the defense. They looked terrible late against Louisiana Tech. Upon second glance, I firmly believe things would have been different if the offense was scoring points or at least moving the ball. Time of possession is the least important stat in football, but defending for long stretches against a short field is a recipe for looking awful and losing games. Sure, Cody Sokol sliced up a secondary willing to allow cushion underneath and when that was done, over the top of our best corners. That said, our defense made him make some tough throws and even picked him off. This might not be the wall that the 2013 North Texas defense was, but this is a good’un.
Special Teams Overview:
Darvin Kidsy was so impressive with his return ability that his punt return made it on Sports Center’s Top Ten plays with the number 1 spot. Kidsy and Carlos Harris both are capable of producing field flipping returns. The punters Black Macek and Eric Keena have performed very well this year. K Trevor Moore has been a outstanding and has considerable range.
Well, well, well. Looks like Darvin Kidsy went and took the job of punt returner eh? That beauty of a 75-yard punt return was the nail in the coffin for Carlos Harris-as-returner. CH is a much better kick-off returner than he is PR man. Kidsy seems to have a bit more decisiveness to his runs than does Harris. I still am a fan of Carlos Harris. Let’s not confuse things here.
As Greg said in last week’s Breakdown, Carlos Harris might have been dying to make the big play and that likely was putting a ton of pressure on him.
Players to Watch:
QB #6 Dajon Williams – 274 yards passing, 76% completion percentage, 97 yards rushing, 5 TDs
If you read the message boards, he is the greatest thing to happen to North Texas in the history of ever.. Offline, Greg even referred to him as Vince Young-like. He is talented. He is explosive. He is calm under pressure. He has the potential to do great things here at NT and it all begins in earnest in Bloomington. Nicholls was a glorified scrimmage. This will be an actual test before the CUSA schedule really begins.
WR #9 Carlos Harris – 13 catches for 142 yards, 4 carries for 75 yards, 1 TD
He has shown flashes of the talent that has MGN excited. He may have lost his gig returning punts but with Dajon calling the signals we should be able to see what CH can do. He was visibly frustrated under Greer and McNulty, as we all were, and caught and ran for big gains against Nicholls. Look for him to make even more big plays this week.
OLB #8 Jamal Marshall – 19 tackles, 1TFL
The defense has been transitioning from Name guys to new faces. Jamal Marshall has been around a while but is making a name for himself. He’s involved in nearly every play — pass or run. His ability to shed blocks and get in the backfield is huge. His speed has allowed him to make plays all over the field. He wasn’t as hyped as Derek Akunne coming into the year but he has been a nice surprise.
Let me say this about Marshall he will play a big role in this game. Thats why we picked him as a player to watch. With the way that Indiana tries to attack the edges it will be key for Marshall to use his God given speed to close those gaps. He has excelled in open spaces so far this year and we expect him to have a big game.
Game Plan for Victory
- Control the line of scrimmage
- Complete passes down the field
- Limit mistakes
- Hit at least 24 passing attempts
- Average 5 yards per 1st down play
- Average 5 yards per play through the game
- Get close to 180 yards passing
- Get close to 225 yards rushing
- Convert over 45% of 3rd downs
- Score over 30 points
- Force Indiana into a 3&7 or longer 80% of the time
- Limit Indiana to under 120 yards rushing
- Limit Indiana to under 300 yards passing
- Limit Indiana to under 5 yards per play and under 4 yards per play on 1st down
- Limit Indiana to under 40% 3rd down conversation rate
- Force 3 Indiana turnovers
- Sack the QB 5 Times
- Limit the run after catch yardage
- Dont let the QB scramble convert 3rd downs
- Limit Indiana to 28 points and under
- Limit YAC yardage — especially from Shane Wynn
- DON’T GET BEAT DEEP ON PLAY-ACTION