Dear Coach Bowen
Posted by Harry , in University of Houston 15 September 2011 · 242 views
Defensive Line UNT Clint Bowen
NOTE TO READER: To my wife and daughter's chagrin, I was guilty of watching the ESPN3 replay of the Houston game AGAIN tonight (3rd time). If you don't have an XBOX 360 in your possession you ought to buy one if you are a North Texas fan this season but I digress.
Dear Coach Bowen,
I want to thank you for taking the defensive coordinator position at North Texas. I - like many here - believe you are destined for great things and will ultimately be a head coach at an FBS program. I just hope you will hang around long enough to get the ship righted here which shouldn't take more than 2-3 years if you play your cards right. You are known as an outstanding recruiter and frankly we will need every bit of that skill in the coming months.
It bears mentioning that we used to have a pretty damn fine defense around these parts. That was about 6 years ago now, but we still dream about players like Brandon Kennedy, Adrian Awasom, Michael Pruitt, Jonas Buckles, Cody Spencer, Craig Jones and the list goes on. Most hardcore fans truly believe that you and Coach Mac will get us back to those days when we won a lot more than we lost and our defense had to be respected, even by programs like Texas.
In watching a review of the game on Saturday, it is very clear that we are in desperate need of a pass rush. I know-- there were certainly breakdowns in our secondary, a couple of which led to easy Houston touchdowns. And I'll grant you, Case Keenum is a star, he's probably the best quarterback I've ever watched UNT play against and there were some good ones along the way.
When you look at the game, with a couple of exceptions in the first half mainly courtesy of Brandon Akpunku, your defensive line is just not getting enough pressure to give our secondary a chance. We have had just one sack in two games this season. Fortunately, Keenum came out in the first half a little cold. That doesn't take anything away from the play of your defense; I was impressed with how well they did against a pretty stout Houston offense especially against the run. Forcing turnovers is something we haven't seen for about four years at North Texas and you are making that happen again. Thank you for that.
In watching the game, you realize that the Houston Oline pretty much was able to neutralize our front four on a man to man basis, i.e. there was very little need to double team. We lack size and speed at that position and in my opinion it is without question our biggest need area. That's not your fault, unfortunately we graduated two pretty good juco defensive tackles last year and since Dodge was trying to salvage his job he really didn't get anyone else any significant reps. Signing quality high school defensive lineman really wasn't his forte.
Here's the good news, we appear to be playing the run fairly well. OK so we're 82nd in the country at 175 yards against per game. But that is against two bowl teams that are of top 25 caliber. Next week we have a chance...scratch that lets move that thought to the week after. Point is, we can hang with the running teams in the Belt, we just gotta get some sacks and pressures on their passing game.
I know that you are trying everything you can. Your blitz packages with the linebackers and the secondary helped in the first half to at least rush Keenum at times but in the second half the defense was worn down and Keenum was able to get back in a rhythm. But the blitzes that help conceal your shortcomings in the front of the defensive wear down over the course of the game. Opponents start to figure out where they are coming from and snuff it out.
There is nothing more painful then to watch an excellent marksman like Keenum be given the amount of time he got in the second half of that ballgame. And no, we won't play another quarterback like that again this season. But until we can get some type of push from the front four we are going to leave our defensive backs on an island and I am talking Devil's not Hawaii.
Perhaps that is indeed your strategy for the real season that starts after the difficult trip to Alabama. True, we won't face another Keenum but there are still some quarterbacks in the Sun Belt that would love nothing better than to roam freely back there and pick us apart.
I realize that there aren't a plethora of defensive line candidates to help us with this pass rush issue. We didn't sign a juco in the defensive line and I realize part of that was due the fact of timing when you got here. Hopefully we can get some in here at midterm so they can participate in the Spring. We also need talented high school defensive linemen and not just a couple.
The good news is Coach Mac is a defensive line guy; he knows how critical it is to the success of a program. Hey we just received a verbal from the 6-6 kid at defensive end and have a promising big DT out of Longview. That's a great start! We just need more, a lot more. There's a ton of talent right here in our backyard and that beautiful new stadium won't hurt your cause one bit.
Keep fighting the good fight. We see the progress and know that we believe in you and support you 100%. Brighter days are ahead!
Best Regards and Go Mean Green!
P.S. Please send our best to Zack Orr. That kid is playing his heart out. Wish we had 10 more like him. Oh and Freddie Warner looks like a keeper too! GMG!