North Texas Preview 2006
Posted Aug 8, 2006

After owning the Sun Belt for several years with trip after trip to the New Orleans Bowl, North Texas found out what it's like to be on the other side of things finishing dead-last in the conference.

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

There's an old adage when it comes to coaches that it's a short trip to make a halo a noose, and North Texas found out just how far it is. 22 points.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, ifs and buts, however, the Mean Green were 22 points away from being the Sun Belt champs losing to Troy by three, UL Lafayette by three,   Florida Atlantic by three, UL Monroe by five, and Arkansas State by seven. Had former PK Nick Bazaldua been slightly consistent and been not missed field goals in three of those games, who knows?

Considering the team was at or near the bottom in just about every major statistical category and loses only nine lettermen off of last year's team, there's reason to believe a turnaround can be just as quick as a fall from grace.

Head coach: Darrell Dickey 
9th year: 39-55
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 22, Def. 26, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 9
Ten Best UNT Players
1. RB Jamario Thomas, Jr.
2. OG Dylan Lineberry, Sr.
3. SS Aaron Weathers, Jr.
WR Johnny Quinn, Sr.
5. LB Maurice Holman, Jr.
6. FS Steve Warren, Soph.
7. DE Jeremiah Chapman, Jr.
8. LB Phillip Graves, Sr. 
9. OT Josh Alexander, Jr.
10. C Chad Rose, Soph.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction: coming

9/2 at Texas
9/9 SMU
9/16 at Tulsa
9/30 MTSU
10/7 FIU
10/21 at Arkansas State
10/28 at Troy
11/4 Louisiana Tech
11/11 at UL Lafayette
11/18 Florida Atlantic
11/25 at UL Monroe

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2005 Record: 2-9

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/10 at MTSU W 14-7
9/17 Tulsa L 54-2
9/24 at Kansas State L 54-7
10/4 Troy L 13-10
10/15 at Florida Intl W 13-10
10/22 at La Tech L 40-14
10/29 at LSU  L 56-3
11/5 UL Lafayette L 31-28
11/12 at Fla Atlantic L 26-23
11/19 UL Monroe L 24-19
11/26 Arkansas State L 31-24

The offense can't be any worse, and won't be now that the quarterbacks have the experience and reps from last year under their belts. Jamario Thomas will once again be one of the nation's leading rushers thanks to a veteran line with four returning starters to work behind, and the receiving corps is one of the best in the Darrell Dickey era.

The defense can't be any worse, and won't be with a switch to a 3-4 to play to the strength, the linebacking corps. Aaron Weathers and Steve Warren are all-conference caliber safeties, and Jeremiah Chapman will be one of the league's best pass rushers. The corners are raw, but no one in the Sun Belt can throw, anyway.

It might have been a one year blip on the map for the North Texas program. The rest of the Sun Belt hopes last year was the start of more mediocrity to come, but that's wishful thinking.

The Schedule: Forgetting about the sure blowout loss to Texas, it'll be important to not get obliterated by SMU and Tulsa early. Four of the seven Sun Belt games are on the road with a horrible break getting Arkansas State, Troy, UL Lafayette and UL Monroe, the league's four best teams outside of North Texas, away from Denton. That means there's no margin for error in the home dates against MTSU, FIU and Florida Atlantic. The Mean Green will have to go 3-1 on the road against the big four to be in the hunt, or 2-2 and hope for help.

Best Offensive Player: Junior RB Jamario Thomas. He didn't get much work last year thanks to a hamstring problem and the return of Patrick Cobbs, but the speedy junior should regain the form that got him 1,801 yards and 17 scores in 2004.

Best Defensive Player: Junior SS Aaron Weathers. There are several rising stars on the defense from safety Steve Warren to end Jeremiah Chapman to linebacker Maurice Holman, but Weathers is the glue who makes everything happen. At least he was last year making way too many plays than he should've had to against the run and leading the team in interceptions.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore QBs Daniel Meager and Matt Phillips. Throw JUCO transfer Woody Wilson in the mix, too. The Mean Green would've won at least seven games last year had the quarterback play been merely mediocre. A starter has to emerge early on in summer ball and has to be able to keep the chains moving and use the veteran receiving corps to make more big plays.

The season will be a success if ... North Texas wins the Sun Belt title. It'll be a major, major accomplishment considering the conference road schedule, but after the past success, nothing else but a trip to the New Orleans Bowl will do.

Key game: Oct. 21 at Arkansas State. A loss to the defending Sun Belt champs on the road would make the rest of the year an uphill climb and the following week's trip to Troy a must win. A win over the Indians would go a long way to helping the Mean Green's confidence.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- First quarter scoring: Opponents 69 - North Texas 5
- Rushing touchdowns: Opponents 26 - North Texas 8
- Penalties: North Texas 90 for 817 yards - Opponents 70 for 591 yards

The Last Time North Texas…
…played in a bowl game…2004 (New Orleans Bowl vs. Southern Miss)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2003 (Troy)
…was shutout…2004 (Texas)
…scored 50 points…2004 (Idaho)
…went undefeated…never
…won a conference title…2004 (Sun Belt)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…1994 (Mitch Maher)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Patrick Cobbs)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…1994 (David Brown)
…had a first-round draft choice…1971 (DB Leonard Dunlap)

Related Stories
North Texas Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by  Aug 8, 2006
North Texas Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by  Aug 8, 2006
North Texas Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by  Aug 8, 2006

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