Preview 2007 - Offense
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2006 CFN North
What you need to know:
The offense hasn't moved the ball in two years finishing 117th
in the nation last season in yards and 115th in scoring. The
look of the attack will change dramatically as new head coach
Todd Dodge will incorporate his spread attack in an attempt to
get something going. The backfield is solid with RB Jamario
Thomas leading the way and a slew of veteran, yet mediocre
quarterbacks returning with Daniel Meager appearing to be the
best of the lot. The receiving corps will need a while to jell
with all the talent in the incoming freshman class, while the
line will be a major problem early on.
Passing: Woody Wilson
54-90, 528 yds, 2 TD, 8 INT
Rushing: Jamario Thomas
181 carries, 668 yds, 2 TD
Receiving: Brandon Jackson
17 catches, 188 yds, 1 TD
Star of the offense: Senior RB Jamario Thomas
Player that has to step up and become a star: The entire
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore C Kelvin Drake
Best pro prospect: Thomas
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Thomas, 2) QB Daniel
3) RB Deavin Cox
Strength of the offense: Running backs, young wide
Weakness of the offense:
While the quarterback situation is hardly settled, junior
Daniel Meager appears to have a handle on the starting job
coming out of spring ball. He hasn't exactly had a sterling
career completing 154 of 302 passes for 1,458 yards and eight
touchdowns with 14 interceptions, but he's not bad on his short
to midrange throws and has decent mobility. The starter over the
final six games last year, he's been the most consistent passer
so far in the new era. While the coaching staff hasn't given
Meager the starting job quite yet, it'll take a major effort to
knock him out.
Projected Top Reserves: Ready to push for the number two job is redshirt
freshman Nathan Tune, a 6-3 pure passer who'll likely be
the starter at some point in the year if and when Meager
Also in the mix is junior Matt Phillips, who
started 2006 with the starting job but struggled completing
fewer than half his passes with three touchdown passes and five
interceptions. He runs surprisingly well for a 224-pounder.
Watch Out For ... another year of musical
quarterbacks. One good spring scrimmage doesn't erase all the
problems the offense had this spring, and it's not like the
offense is going to start bombing away. If Meager didn't' secure
the job after being the best passer in spring ball, he likely
won't have a firm grasp on it during the year.
Strength: Experience. For good and bad, there's
more than enough starting experience to go around. If Meager
doesn't produce, there are several options waiting in the wings.
Weakness: Production. The quarterbacks threw nine touchdown
passes and 19 interceptions last season. Worse yet, they didn't
Outlook: The quarterbacks don't have to throw for
300 yards a game, but they have to be effective on third downs,
they have to limit their interceptions and they have to keep the
offense moving. Whoever does that on a consistent basis will get
the job, and that'll likely be Meager going into the fall.
However, Tune and Phillips will each get their shot.
Senior Jamario Thomas hasn't been able to build on his
tremendous, nation-leading freshman campaign when he ran for
1,801 yards and 17 touchdowns. Patrick Cobbs took away the
workload in 2005, and Thomas had problems with his hamstring,
was never quite in shape, and was banged up and split time last
season finishing with 668 yards and two touchdowns. He's a lean
210 pounds, was quick in spring ball, and now should be back to
form as one of the Sun Belt's premier players.
Projected Top Reserves: While Thomas is the main
back, former corner Deavin Cox will get plenty of work
providing even more speed to the mix. He's not going to run over
anyone, but he could become a factor in the passing game and
will be a dangerous number two despite only rushing for 204
yards and averaging 3.4 yards per carry.
213-pound JUCO transfer
Cam Montgomery brings a good mix of power and production
and moves. coming out of NC Mississippi JC. A good enough
recruit to have been pursued by Illinois and Boise State, he
should make an instant impact.
Watch Out For ... Thomas to be Thomas again. It's a
different offense, but it should suit him well able to use his
quickness to dart through the holes generated by the spread.
Strength: Speed. Thomas is more quick than fast,
but he can move. Cox is a speedster, and Montgomery has a nice
burst for his size.
Weakness: Receiving. Cox could be a good receiver, but he hasn't
done it yet. Thomas made 11 catches for only 32 yards averaging
2.9 yards per grab, and Montgomery isn't a receiver.
Outlook: The running backs have been the strength
of the team over the last several years, but they haven't seen
any room to move with defenses not respecting the passing game
and able to put everyone on the line. That should change this
season, and with Thomas in great shape and healthy, he should be
in for a 1,000-yard season if Cox and Montgomery don't take too
much of the workload away.
All the spots are wide open going into the fall, but senior
Casey Fitzgerald should be a lock for one starting spot
after finishing second on the team, for the second straight
season, with 17 catches for 188 yards and a touchdown. He's a
big target at 6-1 and 208 pounds, but he has to be more
effective and more consistent at getting into the end zone with
his only scoring catch coming in the opener against Texas.
the slot, at least early on, will likely be sophomore Korey
Washington, a former defensive back who made 13 tackles as a
reserve. He brings desperately needed 4.4 speed a corps that
hasn't scared anyone with its athleticism over the last few
Also likely to find a way in the starting mix in the
three-wide sets will be walk-on Casey Fitzgerald,, who
had a good spring and should become a major factor after making
four catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns in a limited role.
Projected Top Reserves: Expect a slew of the new
receivers to make a big splash right off the bat this fall.
Dodge and his staff signed six receivers and all will get long
looks providing a major upgrade. Sam Dibrell is 6-2, 205
pounds and ultra-productive in high school with 20 touchdown
grabs his senior year. Bruce Johnson caught 19 touchdowns
as a senior and has ideal quickness for the slot.
Marcus King is a deep threat who was unstoppable despite
playing in an offense that almost never threw the ball. 6-1,
190-pound B.J. Lewis is a top deep threat who could end
up as a defensive back.
6-4, 210-pound Sam Roberson
brings even more size and upside and could end up at safety if
need be. Evan Walker has terrific hands and is a
receiving machine catching 99 passes in his senior year.
the freshmen get their feet wet, 6-3, 219-pound junior Brock
Stickler will see time in the slot after catching one pass.
He'll mostly be a special teamer. If and when the offense uses a
tight end, 6-2, 228-pound junior Ryan Davenport should
play the biggest role after catching six passes for 78 yards and
a touchdown towards the end of last year.
Watch Out For ... freshmen, freshmen, freshmen.
There's no one in the receiving corps coming out of spring ball
who isn't instantly replaceable.
Strength: The future. All the newcomers will give
North Texas a receiving corps it hasn't had in a long time,
maybe ever, but ...
Weakness: ... it might take a while for everything to kick in.
It's always asking a lot for true freshmen to make a major
impact, but if just one can become a dangerous playmaker right
away, it'll make all the difference.
Outlook: Johnny Quinn caught 57 of the team's 136
completions last season, and Zach Muzzy and Joel Nwigwe combined
for 23 others. There's a lot of room for new receivers to shine
in the new offense. A lot. Now a few reliable targets need to
emerge and a number one go-to guy is a must-find this fall if
Jackson isn't it. This is a weakness that could quickly become a
strength if the freshmen are up-to-snuff.
Starting from scratch, the strongest area up front might be at center
where 6-2, 300-pound sophomore Kelvin Drake has grown into a top
all-around blocker and a possible leader of the line for the next three
years. The tackles are an issue losing Jeremy Brown and Joel Foster.
now, 6-5, 275-pound freshman Matthew Menard and 6-5, 279-pound
sophomore Robert Peachey appear to have locked down jobs, but
that could quickly change this fall. Peachey has good size and a long
frame with a reach that makes him strong in pass protection. Menard was
a high school defensive lineman who moved over to the offensive side.
The guards are a major issue and could be the team's downfall early on.
For now, 6-2, 275-pound sophomore Robert Bailey appears to have
one of the jobs despite being undersized. He's athletic and should be
decent in pass protection.
Freshman Esteban Santiago is a range
6-5 and 275 pounds getting the initial look on the other side, but he'll
be part of a rotation. Basically, he spent a week at guard this spring
and it was enough to be better than everyone else.
Projected Top Reserves: 6-3, 293-pound senior
Adam Venegas started every game last year at left guard, but he
hasn't stood out and will have to work to get his job back under the new
regime. He's a former defensive lineman who can run block, but has to be
stronger in pass protection.
6-3, 274-pound junior Chad Rose
started every game at center last season, and while he wasn't special,
he was good enough to step back in if Drake isn't a rock. He could also
end up starting at guard.
6-3, 298-pound senior Josh Alexander
was the rising star of the line before being lost with a knee injury. If
and when he's healthy, he'll likely find a starting spot at tackle.
Watch Out For ... the coaching staff to juggle the
lineup several times, several ways. This will be a major, major
work in progress.
Strength: Potential depth. The starters might not
be all that great, but the backups have experience if Alexander comes
back remotely healthy and if Venegas and Rose really are going to be
Weakness: Reliability. There's no one the running game will be
able to consistently run behind early on. It might take a few games to
figure out who can actually play.
Outlook: Easily the team's biggest issue going
into the fall, the tackles should be fine in time, especially if
Alexander is fine and the center situation is solid. The guards are
going to be a problem at least until the coaching staff has had more
practices to see what it has to work with.