#101 North Texas Football Preview

North Texas Mean Green

Overall Rank: #101
#4 Sun Belt

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2010 Record: (3-9, 3-5)
2010 Bowl: none
Coach: Dan McCarney (First season at North Texas, 56-85 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Canales
Defensive Coordinator: Clint Bowen

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Lance Dunbar, RB, 1,553 yards
Passing: Chase Baine, QB, 109 yards
Receiving: Lance Dunbar, RB, 332 yards
Tackles: Jeremy Phillips, LB, 69
Sacks: Brandon Akpunku, DE, 3.5
Interceptions: Jeremy Phillips, LB, 2; John Shorter, S, 2

Other Key Returnees: S DaWaylong Cook, S Brad Graham, CB Royce Hill, C J.J. Johnson, CB D’Leon McCord, DE K.C. Obi, LB Zachary Orr, WR Tyler Stradford, OT Matt Tomlinson

Key Losses: DT Shavod Atkinson, WR Darius Carey, QB Riley Dodge, OT Victor Gill, WR Jamaal Jackson, DT Kelvin Jackson, WR Alex Lott, LB A.J. Penson, LB Craig Robertson, OT Esteban Santiago

Derek Thompson was supposed to be the new North Texas quarterback, but an injury put an end to that hope early last season. Now the redshirt sophomore will be the Mean Green quarterback as long as he can stay healthy. The 6-4, 225 pound Glen Rose, Texas native has a good arm and once he can gain some experience, he should be a solid leader for UNT for the next three years.

Fortunately for new coach Dan McCarney, he will not need much out of his quarterback. When the Mean Green needs to throw, they have a quality receiver in Tyler Stradford and an interesting new tight end in Andrew Power. Power, a junior college transfer, could be a great option in the red zone on a team that occasionally struggled to finish off their drives and put the ball in the end zone. However, the dismissal of Darius Carey does hurt the wide receiver corps. But for the most part UNT will rely on superstar running back Lance Dunbar. As a junior the 5-9 speedster rushed for 1,553 yards and 13 touchdowns. A year earlier he rushed for 1,378 yards and 17 scores. What he does for his senior season should be impressive. The offensive line has some new faces, but tackle Matt Tomlinson and center J.J. Johnson can hold the line together while the new guys get adjusted.

The North Texas defense was not that bad last year, but they could take a small step back this year due to the loss of leading tackler Craig Robertson and both interior linemen. The hope is that defensive ends K.C. Obi and Brandon Akpunku can be a little more productive than they were last year and help out the entire defense by getting more consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback. Obi and Akpunku have a lot more talent than their numbers indicate and this is not a team that should rank seventh in the conference in sacks again this year. Despite the loss of Robertson, the linebackers should be in good shape to help out with the rush defense. Jeremy Phillips will be the new star of the group, but it is Zachery Orr who will step into a starting job in the middle. After tallying 60 tackles last year, Orr is certainly ready to take on that role.

The Bottom Line:
The secondary is amazingly experienced and deep and as long as the front line can hold, the secondary should be in good shape. Four starters are back, but so is safety DaWaylon Cook. Cook missed last season with an injury and was a second-team all-conference honoree two years ago. The starting job should be his and that gives North Texas a ton of experience in the secondary. The most exciting new addition to the Mean Green program is the stadium. The team went 0-6 last year, but five of those losses were by eight points or less and two of them were by a mere point. The little extra home field advantage could tip the scales and help North Texas come really close to reaching bowl eligibility.

Projected Bowl: none

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 202.17 (19th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 173.08 (96, 8)
Total Offense: 375.25 (64, 4)
Scoring Offense: 23.92 (87, 5)
Rushing Defense: 184.92 (91, 6)
Pass Defense: 209.50 (47, 5)
Total Defense: 394.42 (77, 5)
Scoring Defense: 29.67 (82, 4)
Turnover Margin: -.25 (71, 5)
Sacks: 1.58 (88, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 2.50 (91, 6)

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