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2009 North Texas Preview - Offense
North Texas RB Micah Mosley
North Texas RB Micah Mosley
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 11, 2009


CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - North Texas Eagle Offense

North Texas Mean Green

Preview 2009 - Offense

- 2009 CFN North Texas Preview | 2009 North Texas Offense
- 2009 North Texas Defense | 2009 North Texas Depth Chart
- 2008 UNT Preview |
2007 UNT Preview | 2006 UNT Preview

What you need to know:
After two years and with moderate success, the offense finally has the pieces (for the most part) brought in by head coach Todd Dodge to run the offense the way he wants to. The line gets back all five starters along with G/C Kelvin Drake, the team's best lineman who missed all of last year hurt, while the backfield has three good runners in Cam Montgomery, Lance Dunbar, and Micah Mosley. But the offense is supposed to revolve around the passing game, and while it has had its moments over the last two years, it's been wildly inconsistent and inefficient. Riley Dodge, the coach's son and one-time superstar recruit, has to live up to the promise at quarterback, and the three newcomers at receiver, Oklahoma transfer Tyler Stradford and JUCO transfers Jamaal Jackson and Michael Outlaw, have to be fantastic right away. There will be bumps in the road and there will be problems early on, but eventually the light will go on and the offense should explode. Patience, even after two years under Dodge, will remain a key virtue.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Nathan Tune
6-13, 55 yds
Rushing: Cam Montgomery
170 carries, 928 yds, 9 TD
Receiving: Alex Lott
26 catches, 201 yds, 2 TD

Star of the offense: Redshirt freshman QB Riley Dodge
Player who has to step up and become a star: Dodge
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore G Coleman Feeley
Best pro prospect: Junior C Kelvin Drake
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Dodge, 2) RB Cam Montgomery, 3) Drake
Strength of the offense: Line experience, running back
Weakness of the offense:
Passing game production, receiver experience

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter: Alright hot shot, let's see what you can do. Riley Dodge was one of the biggest recruits to ever sign with North Texas after throwing for 3,445 yards and 39 touchdowns in his senior year at Southlake High in Texas (the same school as former Missouri star Chase Daniel). He also ran for 772 yards and 13 scores on his way to Gatorade Player of the Year honors in 2007, after winning the award in 2006.  It helped that his dad is the UNT head man, Todd Dodge, considering that Riley could've gone just about anywhere. He spent last year getting a little time at receiver, catching nine passes for 59 yards, and going 0-for-2 under center with an interception, before getting knocked out for the year. On the plus side, he took a medical redshirt and will likely be the starter for the next four years. The bad news is that he was average this spring and wasn't consistent. At 6-0 and 182 pounds he's not all that big, but he has a good enough arm and he can move.

Projected Top Reserves: Junior Nathan Tune has been a part of the program long enough to know what he's doing. The 6-4, 203-pound junior saw time in six games completing 6-of-13 passes for 55 yards while running for 25 more. He's a big passer with enough mobility to take off and run at any time. He knows the offense.

5-11, 202-pound redshirt freshman Chase Blaine is the third man in the mix but won't be getting a shot for the starting job. he's the emergency option, and while he's not all that big, he has a live arm and can move as well as Dodge or Tune.

Watch Out For ... Tune to see action. It's Dodge's job and he's not going to lose it after a bad outing or two, but he hasn't been good enough to be simply handed the full-time job for the entire season based on family ties. Todd Dodge needs to win to keep his job, which means Tune, who might be a bit more polished, could see action in a pinch.
Strength: Mobility. The idea of the offense is to get the passing game moving, but the quarterbacks play a big part in the running game, too. All three options can run well.
Weakness: Production. Can Riley Dodge actually play? He has all the basics, but he's still just a redshirt freshman who'll need lots of time to figure out what he's doing. He wasn't all that great in practices against the mediocre Mean Green defense; what's he going to do once the bullets start flying?
Outlook: Giovanni Vizza was a two-year starter who wasn't all that bad and didn't get a whole bunch of help behind a porous offensive line. He could handle that fine, but the writing was on the wall: Riley Dodge was going to be the starting quarterback as long as his dad was the head coach. Vizza transferred to Texas A&M, and now it's sink-or-swim time for both Dodges. The passing game will put up numbers because the team will be in comeback mode, but it needs to be more efficient. It probably won't be early on.
Rating: 5.5

Running Backs

Projected Starter: Senior Cam Montgomery stepped in from the JUCO ranks two years ago and struggled to stay healthy, and then he came up with a breakthrough season carrying the offense with a steady 928 yards and nine touchdowns highlighted by a 121-yard, two touchdown day against Arkansas State to close things out. A good enough recruit to be courted by Illinois and Boise State, he has a nice blend of 6-1, 210-pound size and excellent speed. Now he has to prove he can stay healthy again after taking a medical redshirt two years ago with a hamstring problem. 

Projected Top Reserves: Junior Micah Mosley was supposed to be the main man last year but was knocked out early on with a shoulder injury after running for just 102 yards and a score in his limited role five games into the season. He's a 6-0, 210-pound veteran with good quickness and the vision to hit the hole in a hurry and average close to five yards per game.

The No. 2 back until Mosley is healthy is Lance Dunbar, a speedy 5-9, 189-pound sophomore who finished second on the team with 928 yards with a score in five games before suffering a season-ending injury. He's back and ready to roll, and now he could fill more of a receiving role after catching 12 passes for 51 yards and a score. 

Watch Out For ... more from the running game. There's talk of this being the most talented backfield UNT has ever had, and that includes the big-production days of Patrick Cobbs and Jamario Thomas. While this group isn't quite that good, it's talented enough to be used more and more.
Strength: Combinations of speed and size. Mosley and Montgomery aren't the typical small, quick backs offenses like UNT's likes to use. These two can run inside and out, while Dunbar is a speedster who can crank out big runs with a little space to move.
Weakness
:
Health. Mosley is coming off a shoulder problem, Dunbar is coming off an injury, and Montgomery is hardly a sure-thing after missing 2007 with a hamstring problem.
Outlook: There's a nice mix of talents with the return of Micah Mosley to go along with the near-1,000-yard rushing of Cam Montgomery. With the passing game so inefficient and such a concern, more will come from the running game with the three options all to get plenty of work.
Rating: 5.5

Receivers

Projected Starters: With all the turnover in the receiving corps and with all the new faces needing to learn the system, it'll be up to sophomore Sam Roberson to be a steadying force. The 6-4, 217-pounder played last year on the outside, making 12 catches for 76 yards, to the inside. The star high school defensive back is big and physical, but he was more of a possession target in his first season.

JUCO transfer Jamaal Jackson is a 6-1, 172-pound inside target with tremendous quickness and speed. The junior caught 41 passes for 418 yards with a touchdown for Southwest Mississippi CC, but he has the 4.4 speed to do far more with an expanded role in a passing attack.

5-11, 190-pound junior Michael Outlaw, like Jackson, stepped in from the JUCO ranks to a starting spot after catching 46 passes for 624 yards for East Mississippi CC. While he's not fast, he's a good football player who fights for the ball and can make deep plays on the outside.

6-2, 175-pound redshirt freshman Tyler Stradford started out his career at Oklahoma before transferring to UNT. A tremendous athlete with great leaping ability and as much talent as any receiver the Mean Green has had in years, he should be a major playmaker on the outside. 

Projected Top Reserves: When the offense uses a tight end, and it's not going to be often, it'll be up to senior Bryant Seidle to take over. He didn't catch a pass last season, spending last year on special teams and as a backup linebacker making four tackles. The 6-2, 221-pounder will be used as a blocker.

Fighting for playing time will be Alex Lott, a 5-9, 165-pound junior who started in four games and will see time on the inside. He was third on the team with 26 catches for 201 yards and two scores, and while he's extremely quick, he didn't do much with the ball in his hands.

Trying to fight his way though the logjam of targets is Kevin Dickerson, a 5-10, 190-pound senior who made 21 catches for 180 yards with an 18-yard touchdown catch against Western Kentucky. He'll have to battle for playing time on the inside, but with his experience he'll see action in four wide sets.

With tremendous speed, sophomore B.J. Lewis will see time on the outside after missing most of last year hurt. He saw a little time in three games and didn't catch a pass, but with 6-1, 195-pound size and excellent deep speed, he'll be used on the outside in a rotation with Tyler Stradford.

Watch Out For ... all the new guys. The coaching staff wanted new blood and new starters to make the passing game shine, and Outlaw, Jackson, and especially Stradford will be the new stars of the attack. At least that's the hope.
Strength: The system. There will be plenty of passes flying around and plenty of chances for all the targets to see work their way. The offense spreads the ball around, so if you're a receiver and you can find the seams and if you can handle single coverage, you'll produce.
Weakness: Casey Fitzgerald. All he did was catch 113 passes for 1,119 yards and six scores last year and 225 passes over the last two seasons. There's no real experience in this year's corps, and there's no clear-cut No. 1 guy to take Fitzgerald's place.
Outlook: Casey Fitzgerald might be gone, but the receiving corps is better with an upgrade over the last six months. Todd Dodge and the coaching staff went out and got guys to fit the high-octane attack with Oklahoma transfer Tyler Stradford a potential star on the outside and JUCO transfers Michael Outlaw and Jamaal Jackson brought in to produce immediately. It might take a little while for everyone to get on the same page, but the corps should turn out to be better.
Rating: 5.5

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters: While not listed as a starter, there will be a spot either at center or guard for Kelvin Drake, a 6-2, 302-pound junior who missed last year with an ankle problem but was a second-team All-Sun Belt performer in 2007. He's a good run blocker and can do a little of everything well on the inside including making the snap in the shotgun formation. His versatility will be a key to the line.

With Drake out, J.J. Johnson was decent at center starting in every game and looking like a possible starter for another three years. Not all that big at 6-2 and 280 pounds, the sophomore is good on the move and blocks bigger than his size.

A fixture at tackle for the last few years has been Esteban Santiago, a starter in every game at left tackle last season and a likely right tackle to start out this year. One of the team's best pass blockers, the 6-3, 285-pound junior is a former defensive lineman who has the toughness to play guard if needed but has been solid on the outside.

Working on the left side will be Victor Gill, a 6-4, 250-pound junior who moved over from tight end to tackle and bulked up to be able to handle the job for an entire season. He can play either side, starting every game at right tackle last season, and doing a decent job against speed rushers.

6-4, 318-pound sophomore Coleman Feeley stepped in and started the final seven games at right guard and should be a fixture for the next three years. He's a pounding run blocker and a decent athlete for his size, and with a little more consistency, he should be a key anchor.

Projected Top Reserves: Senior Gabe Hollivay went from JUCO transfer to starter at left guard after the dominoes fell from the Kelvin Drake injury. the 6-3, 360-pounder is too big, but he's good. One of the highest ranked recruits the team has brought in over the last several years, he can play either guard spot and could end up starting if Drake takes over the starting center job.

Former JUCO transfer Nate Jenkins was supposed to play a key role last year after serving as the anchor of the 2007 national champion, Pearl River CC, but he spent the year learning on the fly. Unfortunately, he got bigger. A LOT bigger, and now he's 6-3 and 378 pounds making him a guard instead of a tackle, which he was originally projected to be.  

6-3, 305-pound senior Matt Menard started 11 games at tackle two years ago and spent last season as a key backup. Now he'll work behind Victor Gill at left tackle bringing more size at 6-3 and 305 pounds. The former defensive lineman is a good run blocker, but he's suspect in pass protection.

Watch Out For ... Drake. It'll be hard to crack the line that was becoming cohesive as last year went on, but now that he's healthy, Drake could be the best player for the front five.
Strength: Experience. The Mean Green not only have four returning starters play every game, but had a fifth, Feeley, who started the final six games. Add Drake to the equation and the line is as good as it's been in years.
Weakness
:
Doing any one thing consistently well. The pass protection was decent, considering there were 514 pass attempts, but it wasn't as good as it needed to be. This wasn't a dominant run blocking line, either.
Outlook: After a disastrous 2007, the line turned out to be fine with the addition of some key JUCO transfers and the emergence of a few good young players. Now with Kelvin Drake back at either center or guard, the line is loaded with experience and should be a strength with a little more time.
Rating: 5