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2007 North Texas Preview

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 6, 2007


Preview 2007 North Texas Mean Green Preview

North Texas Mean Green

Preview 2007


By Pete Fiutak

- 2007 UNT Offense Preview | 2007 UNT Defense Preview
-
2007 UNT Depth Chart | 2006 CFN North Texas Preview 

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.

After years of being the Sun Belt’s superstar, North Texas hit the skids winning just five games in two years becoming among the most inept teams in America. Out goes Darrell Dickey, in comes Todd Dodge, a Texas high school coaching superstar, to try to restore the glory.

Head coach: Todd Dodge
1st year
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 19, Def. 26, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 17
Ten Best UNT Players
1. RB Jamario Thomas, Sr.
2. DE Jeremiah Chapman, Sr.
3. FS Aaron Weathers, Sr.
4. LB Maurice Holman, Sr.
5. DE Montey Stevenson, Sr.
6. LB Derek Mendoza, Sr.
7. LB Brandon Monroe, Sr.
8. P Truman Spencer, Jr.
9. CB Antoine Bush, Soph.
10. QB Daniel Meager, Jr.

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 2-10

Sept. 1

at Oklahoma

Sept. 8

at SMU

Sept. 22

Florida Atlantic

Sept. 29

at Arkansas

Oct. 6

at UL Lafayette

Oct. 13

UL Monroe

Oct. 20

at Troy

Oct. 27

Middle Tenn

Nov. 10

Navy

Nov. 15

at Arkansas State

Nov. 24

Western Kentucky

Dec. 1

at FIU

2006 Schedule
2006 Record: 3-9

9/2 at Texas L 56-7
9/9 SMU W 24-6
9/16 at Tulsa L 28-3
9/23 at Akron L 33-13
9/30 MTSU L 35-0
10/7 FIU W 25-22 7OT
10/21 at Arkansas St L 29-10
10/28 at Troy L 14-6
11/4 Louisiana Tech L 34-31
11/11 at UL Lafayette W 16-7
11/18 Florida Atlantic L 17-16
11/25 at UL Monroe L 23-3

Long known for great production from the running backs, UNT’s woes with the passing game allowed defenses to load up everyone but the head cheerleader to stop the run. While the Mean Green isn’t going to bomb away for 400 yards a game, the hope is to be a little bit better right off the bat with a new spread offense that’ll put a premium on passing efficiency while getting the backs space to move.

And North Texas still has the backs.

Jamario Thomas is back for what seems like his 15th year in the Mean Green backfield, while Deavin Cox and JUCO transfer Cameron Montgomery should combine for one of the Sun Belt’s better running games. However, there’s a big issue still at quarterback.


UNT finished third-to-last in the nation in passing and total offense and 115th in passing efficiency, so Daniel Meager or Nathan Tune or Matt Phillips has to finally give the offense some sort of production.

Defensively, Dodge gets ten starters back from a group that didn’t get into the backfield, never forced turnovers, and allowed teams to dink and dunk to their heart’s content. Everyone will be focusing on the new offense, but unless Dodge gets the defense going, it’s going to be a while before UNT gets back to where it used to be.

Even with all the rebuilding that needs to be done, there’s plenty of reason for excitement. Dodge was terrific at Southlake Carroll High, and even though some say he’s taking a step down in job status, there’s a buzz from the Mean Green fans again.

What to watch for on offense … The spread. Dodge is going to run his version more like West Virginia than Florida with an emphasis on running the ball and getting the quarterback on the move. Unlike the Mountaineers, UNT will use several running backs to keep everyone fresh, but the quarterbacks have to start completing the short to midrange passes to take some of the pressure off.

What to watch for on defense … A big improvement switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3. With so many returning starters, the defense that was decent last year has the potential to be one of the Sun Belt’s best as long as someone other than Jeremiah Chapman can start getting into the backfield on a consistent basis. Sacks are hard to come by in the conference since everyone runs the ball, but UNT has to come up with more tackles for loss and big plays.

The team will be far better if … it starts to do all the little things right. UNT only converted 28.9% of its third down chances, allowed teams to convert 44.2% of their third down chances, turned the ball over 29 times, came up with a mere 14 takeaways, and rarely took advantage of breaks. All of that has to change to be a Sun Belt contender again.

The Schedule: With four of the first five games on the road, and a brutal midseason, it’s going to take a major upset or two to hope for a winning season. Playing UL Lafayette and Troy on the road will likely kill any title dreams, while playing at Arkansas State and FIU in two of the final three games won’t help. There can’t be any slip-ups in the five home games against Florida Atlantic, UL Monroe, Middle Tennessee, Navy and Western Kentucky to have any hope of a winning season.

Best Offensive Player: Senior RB Jamario Thomas. Finally healthy and in better shape, Thomas should start to regain his old form and be a 1,000-yard back. However, he doesn’t have an offensive line to work behind.

Best Defensive Player: Senior DE Jeremiah Chapman. The team’s best all-around defender, Chapman is a strong run defender for an end and a decent pass rusher. Now he has to do even more to get into the backfield to free up everyone else up front.

Key player to a successful season: The entire offensive line. The nation’s 117th ranked offense won’t be better unless the line is far, far better. It’ll be a work in progress as the new coaching staff is starting from scratch. Just being productive and consistent will be a problem early on, much less come up with a front five full of technicians who can properly run the spread.

The season will be a success if ... UNT wins five games. It’ll take several upsets to make it happen, and a few shocking road wins, but the program has to get back on the track to respectability by doing more in Sun Belt play. A bit more offense might make it happen, as long as the defense doesn’t slip.

Key game: Sept. 22 vs. Florida Atlantic. UNT won’t beat Oklahoma or SMU on the road to start the season, and it won’t beat Arkansas or UL Lafayette on the road after playing FAU, so beating Howard Schnellenberger’s improved club is a must, especially at home.

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Third down conversion percentage: Opponents 44% - North Texas 29%
- Second half scoring: Opponents 144 – North Texas 66
- Rushing touchdowns: Opponents 19 – North Texas 5

 

 

Related Stories
2007 North Texas Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 6, 2007
2007 North Texas Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 6, 2007
2007 North Texas Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 6, 2007








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