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Northern Iowa (11/7/23)

By CMJ, in GoMeanGreen.com,

The date wasn't added to the other thread, so given we're only a day away now I figured I'd start the game thread.  Hard not to be excited about this season.  Hell, I'm not sure I've been this eager for a new campaign to start since 2012-2013.  Let's hope things go much, much better than that year did though!!

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to former UNT QB Jason Bean…
So, after a long hot day in Denton, on my drive back home I felt pretty good, but I certainly didn’t feel great.  Sure, North Texas had in fact won their second straight ballgame 45-31, against a decent Abilene Christian program who despite being FBS had a good QB (McIvor 217 yds 4 TD’s 1 INT), RB Jay’ Veon Sunday (21 carries 140 yards) and seemed to have pretty good size on both sides of the ball.  
But in retrospect, this was not a game that should have been even close.  UNT was 31-14 with 1:40 left in the 1st half, and then allowed ACU to outscore them 41-7 in the 3rd quarter which was just unfortunate.  Especially for the defense and defensive coordinator Matt Caponi.  
Which is basically what Coach Morris said in his post-game interview.   This team just does not put people away; it becomes complacent whenever they taste success.  So again, while I don’t like that we have these types of problems, I do like that our HC sees it and is transparent about it and how they intend to fix it.   
That does not directly address the elephant in the room, defensive coordinator Matt Caponi.  So far, 4-games into a 12-game regular season, basically a 3rd of the season and we still are struggling defensively in tackling, and just gutting up and making key plays on 3rd downs.  Is there some issue with personnel, of course, but to have them be this exposed against an FCS program is truly a concern for Morris and things will not get any easier in Annapolis, I can assure you….
…Had a great gameday on Saturday with Tony, Vic, Amanda, Lauren, Terry C and Mike rolling out the red carpet for everyone at the tailgate.  I want to thank everyone who helped us welcome the returning NIT Champions who also braved the heat and signed autographs, took pictures, and visited with the fans.  Rubin Jones, Robert Allen, Aaron Scott, Moulaye Sissoko, CJ Noland, Jason Edwards and Matthew Stone were all there and gave everyone a good time.  I cannot emphasize enough that besides being great talents on the floor, they also are great people and represent our university in a first-class manner.
So, Saturday was a special day for me and several other Mean Green fans who have formed a brand-new Name Image and Likeness (NIL) Collective officially called Mean Green Collective (MGC).  Through the efforts of the founding MGC members, we were able to write a $100,000 check to both Mean Green Men’s and Women’s basketball scholarship players.  The founding members of the MGC are Ernie Kuehne, Diann Huber, Curtis Clinesmith, Denny Kalk, Harry Miers and First State Bank of Denton.   I give a handshake and virtual hug to all of them and thank them so much for their support.  We did it!  Thank you. 
A specific need was identified in terms of basketball and the MGC met and significantly exceeded that need in a very short period.   It was time to make a move and instead of commitment, it was a time that required action and I am proud that we were able to get that done.  But there is so much more to do, and we will need your help to get it done.
This request gave us the opportunity to go beyond a one-time solution and instead build something that could last and go on to help UNT excel in athletics for many years to come.   Whether you love or hate the NIL, I assure you that it is not going anywhere.  UNT’s blessing is that it has so many successful alums in the DFW area and State of Texas.  Our strength always has and will be in our numbers. So, we wanted to form an NIL that was not just a small group of big donors (who we greatly appreciate BTW) but a wider net that included more of the common man fan who cares and wants to help support the program but just could not find a good way to do it.
Forming the MGC gives us a vehicle to support our student athletes in a direct way that has not been available before.   I know that there are a lot of questions out there about our NIL and we will be working on addressing many of those in the coming days.  
I have a couple of key points that I would like to share on the Mean Green Collective:
•    We are a UNT athletics NIL (not just basketball or football but all scholarship sports).  We will support all sports that are in need and make good business sense.   We have an obligation to be good stewards of your gifts to the players and we intend to do that.  If you want to give to a particular sport or even a player our intent is to help you do that with as little hassle as possible.
•    We have zero admin costs and are self-funding the costs either through our wallets or from sweat equity to start this up on our own and run it as well.   Our goal is to be as transparent as possible about everything that we do.  We are all UNT alums, and we have all invested in this NIL.  We believe GoMeanGreen.com gives our Collective a unique opportunity to connect and engage with Mean Green fans who want to support athletics.
•    We need money.  We need your help, and remember our strength is in numbers.   There is no number too small or too large to help aid our cause. We need to get as many people as possible invested in this athletic program to actively participate.   We are working on ways to make this easy to do through online tools that are secure and simple to use.
•    We have 300,000 alums in the Metroplex.  We need your help to connect with them and get as many people as possible engaged in this program.  And we don’t just mean writing checks.   We need you to help us get others engaged as well.
•    If a donor or player chooses to disclose the amount of money they have paid for or received, that is their choice and by the way the player is responsible for paying taxes on any money he oir she has received.  Any UNT player receiving money will receive a 1099 at the end of the year and will be solely responsible for paying his or her taxes.
That is all for now!  Very excited to be traveling to Annapolis for the big game against Navy.   I will be sending updates from there and hope to visit with others who make the trip as well.  More to Come!  Go Mean Green!

C Rod
We all know teams need bye weeks to rest players and, in our case, implement some much-needed changes on defense. As a fan, I'm not too fond of Saturdays without Mean Green football, but I tolerate them and cope by rewatching the previous game to see anything I missed or what we can build upon. Saturday's replay session made one thing very clear. Chandler Rogers has the elusive clutch gene and ice water in his veins.
In the two drives that changed the game, Chandler Rogers put the team on his back and made the right plays when they counted the most. As you'll see below, he appeared calm, cool, and collected in the game's critical moments. 
Fast forward - 1:56 left in the 1st half. LaTech just gashed our defense with a 56-yard run to cap off a two-play, 0:20-second scoring drive with a 19-yard TD pass to Smoke Harris. 16-14 good guys, but we've lost the momentum, and we're starting the drive from our 11-yard line. 
1st & 2nd downs are both two-yard gains by Adeyi. Now 3rd & 6 with 1:06 left before halftime, Rogers stands tall in the pocket and throws an absolute strike to Damon Ward for 32 yards to the UNT 47. The delivery is spot-on, placed just over the cornerback's head and right in front of the safety crashing down on the play. Without this dime throw, we end up punting from our 15-yard line and hoping and praying our defense doesn't allow another quick scoring drive in the last minute. We have a fresh set of downs, we're in the hurry-up, and the momentum is turning. 
The pass on 1st down is batted down at the line. On 2nd down, LaTech dials up a linebacker blitz. The extra man is picked up to perfection as Rogers reads his progressions and sees Roderic Burns gearing down his route in the soft spot of the zone. Rogers pulls the trigger for a 22-yard gain down the right-hash to the LaTech 31. The clock is moving, Rogers hurries everyone up to the line and takes a quick deep shot down the left sideline to Maclin. The ball is slightly overthrown and out of bounds near the goal line, but no harm, no foul. 
0:27 left in the half… 2nd down. Chandler "Hit-Stick" Rogers delivers the block heard around the world. You know what block I'm talking about. The all-over-social-media-de-cleater sealed the backside and sprung Adeyi for 25 yards to the LaTech 6-yard line. 0:18 seconds left, North Texas timeout. LaTech is on their heels. 
Out of the timeout, Rogers hits a leaping Damon Ward between three defenders for the touchdown. LaTech's defense is dejected, their fans are quiet, and all you can hear in-stadium is the UNT band fired up. Eight plays, 89 yards, 1:16 time of possession, executed to perfection. UNT 23 - LaTech 14 headed into halftime. 
Fast forward again - UNT's defense is reeling (again). LaTech converts an onside kick and then quickly scores on a 3-play, 53-yard TD drive to cap off 17 straight points to tie the game. UNT's three-score lead has evaporated in under 7 minutes, the message board is a hot-mess, and the last time Rogers possessed the ball, he had a 10-point lead. The game appears to be headed for OT with the momentum and crowd firmly in LaTech's corner. But to borrow a legendary line from Mr. Lee Corso, Not so fast, my friend! There's still 1:04 left before OT. We later learn Coach Morris told Rogers before the final drive, "They left us too much time." 
First down is a one-yard pickup from Adeyi. The clock's ticking... Out of the no-huddle on 2nd down, Rogers and Burns hookup for 23 yards to the UNT 49. The throw is almost a carbon copy of the pass before the half: a beautiful zone read, with a perfect strike to Burns. Move the chains. 0:47 left in the game. Clutch.
First down is a quick-hit six-yard out-route to Jordan Smart to the LaTech 45. The clock is stopped, and Rogers looks in full command of the offense. Second down is a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage. The pressure builds on a pivotal 3rd & 4 with 0:34 seconds on the clock. Our wide receivers line up trips-right, UNT calls a designed play that rolls Chandler to his right to throw on the run. The result is a well executed seven-yard pass to Burns on an out route to the sidelines at LaTech's 38-yard line — another big first down to keep the drive alive and stop the clock. 
With 0:25 left in the game, Chandler drops back but finds his receivers covered. The pocket quickly collapses, and Chandler scampers to the right sideline for 3 yards to again stop the clock. His awareness and athleticism under pressure avoid what would have been a disastrous sack just outside of field goal range. 
Now 2nd & 7, at the 35-yard line, Chandler tries for another downfield bomb, this time intended for Jordan Smart down the left sideline. The pass is right on the money; however, credit to LaTech, their defensive back does a great job breaking up the pass. 
On 3rd & 7, with thirteen ticks left on the clock, UNT runs a beautifully timed draw play into a blitzing defense expecting a pass. Adeyi bolts for 21 yards out of bounds at the LaTech 14 with 0:07 left on the clock, putting us well within field goal range for the win. 
You all know what happened next. Noah Rauschenberg split the uprights, Eric Morris notched his first UNT victory with a Stone Cold celebration to boot, and Chandler Rogers showed Mean Green Nation that he's a dawg with a clutch gene. 

This is the second part of a series covering UNT Head Football Coach Eric Morris's guest speaking engagement at the monthly San Antonio Quarterback Club luncheon on Tuesday September 19th at the beautiful Quarry Golf Club. 
Tell us some more Mike Leach stories.
There's a bunch of great Mike Leach stories.    But since they are Mike stories, you must first figure out what audience you are talking to (crowd laughter).  There are a few women in here in the audience.  So that eliminates 98% of it, I think (crowd laughter).
I think everybody knows Mike is just being quirky and you know we’ve seen him go into rants and tangents, and everyone that knew him has seen them. You that knew him in here, you know. After a big win he could still go off on the whole team like no other but I think just his discipline and toughness to be the same for so many years was so amazing to me. The more I get into those that followed him the more amazed I get.  You look at the tree branches of coaches that have coached under him, that's just phenomenal that have had, you know, guys like Lincoln Riley and Dana Holgerson and Sunny Dykes and Kliff Kingsbury, Graham Harrell and the list it just goes on and on and. But I think. like we all loved the game of football but there were times we got so bored with the monotony of him doing the same thing over and over… but the man he truly believed in sticking to a process more than any human being I've ever been.   I was at Texas Tech for five years and we never added a new offensive play. We never practiced differently. We never lifted weights differently like the consistency of doing that is just mind boggling to me even now as I look back on it.
And these guys around me were sharp minds.   They had smart brains. Lincoln Riley, Cliff Kingsbury, Sunny Dykes and more. All these guys I think got so bored with doing the same thing over and over and over that when they started their own head coaching deals, like they want to go out and put their kind of spin on things.  Which I am sure Mike would have supported each and every one of them but again he was himself so unique in how he approached football and life.  But just like to see Mike when, when I lived in Pullman with him, when I went up there with him for the first time, I mean, he didn't even have a car.   In Pullman, there's these huge rolling hills, and it would snow, and he would walk to and from practice from his house every day. I mean EVERY single day and just like the toughness he displayed as a coach he would never change that walk no matter what the conditions were outside.
He doesn't get to the office till usually right when we practiced. I can even script it exactly today. You know, at 1:00PM he was walking on the field. And so that's when he showed up to work - usually every day - it was never before noon.  Now that said, he would extremely late hours and you were on his time.   And he never told you to schedule when to be there or when you could leave. Like there's zero scheduling ever.   Like you knew the practice routine.   You started meetings at precisely 2:30PM. You're on the field at 3:30 and you're off currently and what not. But then you know he would be there very late at night and sometimes the discussions would veer off into other subjects.
The worst 2 weeks of my life, though, with Mike, was when he was co-authoring a book about the Apache leader Geronimo, and so I don't know if anybody here has read the Geronimo book that he co-authored (several hands are raised), but he was so he's a big-time history buff. And so, during the spring ball for 2 1/2 three weeks he brought in the world’s most renowned Geronimo historian. You can imagine what this guy looked like?  (Laughter in audience). This guy walked in and our whole staff like holy moly who in the heck is this guy? (More laughter).  So, I sat next to Mike and Mike said, hey, get out of that chair. This is where I can’t remember the expert’s name. Anyway, the Geronimo expert is sitting in that chair now. “Yes, Sir” I told Mike and so, I moved to the front of the room to give his distinguished guest my seat.
So, Mike had this legal pad. He's a lawyer. Right? And so that's big, long yellow legal pad is absolutely the only thing he could write on. And so, he had two legal pads and one of them had a blue pen for Geronimo and the other one had a red pen in it, and it was for football and so you know it, it was football. It said that in big letters right at the top of the page.  Both pads said what they were for at the top.  You have heard about him, you know that he can get on these rants and talk about things, right? We're talking about 1:32 AM in the morning. We're going over what we did good. What we did bad and that we're trying to install a new offense and then just out of nowhere, he'd say, you know, that reminds me of…..and then he would slide the football pad up he’s slide Geronimo back (laughter) and everyone would look at one another and be thinking Holy Smokes!!  And he would always go to about a consistent until about 4:00 AM discussion on Geronimo and hey look, I don’t ever say I hate or dislike many people but man I do not ever want to see this Geronimo consultant again (crowd laughing) … Has anybody read the book by the way?  (Several audience members raised their hand, and one said it was a very good read).  Cause I refuse to read it, I will never read it (laughter).
Talk about recruiting and how it has changed from UIW and Washington State to North Texas?
Yeah, absolutely, I think recruiting is relationship based still as much as people want to build those things now with facilities and whatnot. Now there's some change to it that we've had to adapt to, in particular the element of money. I mean, I had two kids sitting in my office. One of them cried because he didn't want to leave, and they were going to pay $150,000 for one year to play at Auburn this next year. And so, it was life changing money and he had just had a kid. And he had to go, and I told him that too.
So, there are some changes, but there always be about relationships. I mean, I hired a staff that has strong Texas high school football coaching ties. You know, three of them coached at that level. And so I think to be able to create and build your roster off a strong high school class every year is super important with the understanding now that you got to know even you know if we find a guy and he is developing and he performs at a really high level quickly,  like there's a good chance someone's going to pay him to come play for them.  And that's just a fact.   Now, we must understand that so I will be more aggressive now just knowing that attrition is going to happen every year and we'll do a better job of kind of plugging some holes if you will, with more portal and transfers.
And so, this year, you know, we took 7 transfers and five of them are playing significant minutes. Course Right now, I get 85 scholarships and I only have 79 full scholarships right now.  This is just because I didn't want to just go sign somebody late in the summer for the sake of signing them.  We looked for some positions, but we just didn’t feel as staff it helped. So, I saved on my spots, and we will sign another huge high school class this year, and then we'll be a little bit heavier number of transfers, we will probably sign 10 to 15 transfers this time around.  The one thing that's bad, like I believe in these kids and the growth of them, but you see it now more than ever that these coaches are turning over these rosters and just telling these kids to leave now and so, that's hard for me to do but at times for you to manage an organization and be the best you can be on Saturdays, you're going to have to do that.
And so, there’s, I think some dead weight that that we'll try to cut from the roster next year and please understand, when I say cut, I mean we will do everything in our power to find these guys another place where they can play.  We truly do care about these kids here and always will.  And most of these guys have graduated so that should make it easier for them. And I hate that, but it is just what it is now with the system we have and these roster changes and so on. And it stinks right?  But it is the reality we all face.
And then you have Coach Prime (Deon Sanders) completely revamping his entire team…
Yeah, I think it's as simple as just. A lot of those guys are just not going to play there and most of these kids, you know they have pride in themselves, and they want to feel like they're respected, and they want to feel like they are going to have a chance to be a part of the team. 
Like I know a couple of kids that were in Colorado, and I think the conversation was as simple as, “Say you're going to be on the Scout team. You're not going to have a chance at it. You're not going to get a look at it. And we're going to try to replace you.”  I'll never be that extreme, but I do think too some of these kids love ball like we have a player I've already talked to this year. He’s been here for three years. He has his degree. He has two more years of eligibility. This year, and he legitimately knows he can't play at our level, and he's expressed that he wants to go play football somewhere and he can probably come in and play for Incarnate Word and have a good time and be a nice contributor.  But yes, it's interesting and things are changing.
What about Coach (Jeff) Traylor and your relationship with him?
Has been awesome, like I love Coach Traylor.   He was great to me when I was at Incarnate Word, and since I have gotten this job.  The American Conference had a head coach meeting, and we went to dinner a couple of nights when we were in Colorado and, I got to say, just to have somebody like him and his input. He has a sense of some of the same things and feelings we go through in this job, and it is just great to have people like that just to bounce ideas off and see kind of which directions are the best ways to go.   It's sort of like uncharted territory right now (with the portal and NIL) for all of us. Like, I truly don't think there's a perfect answer for a bunch of it right now.  It helps to have others bounce ideas off and share experiences.
Do these players that transfer, do they receive any guidance or counseling on how to handle that money?
Yes, they do. So, most programs now, these Collectives as they're called it, are doing a bunch of training and whatnot with the kids. And so like, we can't be involved with any of it. But I do know that like our collective at UNT will be doing that. And UNT will do once a month, if not once a month once every two months training on it. We're sure they do you know all the tax stuff with them and really sit down and teach them you know what kind of taxes they're going to be paying.   And so yes, it’s getting more and more legit as time goes on. In my opinion, we're helping these kids and understanding how to manage some of this money.  I saw a clip the other day that there's an offense lineman from A&M I guess that's made a ton of money. He just purchased his first house with the money that he's getting or something which is good to see right? So, it's getting better and better with time.
Put some 4-man fronts in last game rather than three on defense. Which scheme do you prefer more? Or which one typifies the personnel that UNT has?
Yeah, I think you know, I think it was a good mix up for us (to use some 4-man fronts against La. Tech) and too - you know, everybody thinks just because we put in the 4-man front for that game, ironically the two most explosive runs that they had that game against us were both more 4 down front sets.   So, I think the message is not much about scheme as it is as a team we have got to learn how to tackle better.  At the linebacker level and Safety level. We've had some tackling issues so far, no matter what defense we've been in.  I do like that the 4 man fronts you know, are helping Mazin Richards and guys like that naturally can rush the passer a little bit better from that formation.
We got a couple sacks off it and so I think it'll be something we'll continue to grow on, and we'll continue to implement it, but we're not going to go totally away from what we believe in (3-3-5), but I thought it was a good Little Mix up for us in that last game for sure.
Editors note:  We were treated very kindly from the San Antonio Quarterback Club staff who rolled out the red carpet and we wanted to share a link to their charity whose mission is to promote, support and financially assist the Gridiron Heroes Spinal Cord Injury Foundation, which provides acute and long term resources to individuals who have sustained a spinal cord injury in a high school football-related event.  San Antonio Quarterback Club Link
Part I of this series can be found here and, as always Go Mean Green!

UNT Head Football Coach Eric Morris was a guest speaker at the monthly San Antonio Quarterback Club luncheon on Tuesday September 19th at the beautiful Quarry Golf Club.  Here is Part 1 of excerpts from his informative and interesting segment from the event.
How did you feel after the big win against La. Tech?
It was big, we had been working hard all week and sticking to our mission, day out and doing the right things on the field and off.    The kids are getting their act in order and our GPA went up over two points the first semester. I was like, those are all things that mean a lot.  Our kids were doing the right things on and off and it translated into success against La. Tech.
Talk about your journey from UIW to North Texas
We had some real success there (at UIW) and felt like it was time to take a shot at playing a little bit bigger brand of football, so we went back up to Washington. State and took our quarterback with us, who I think will be a great player in the NFL here in a couple of years, Cam Ward.
I knew it was going to be a struggle, you know, talking to those guys up there that didn't feel like they were where they were before offensively, since coach Leach left. And really, I got the job because of Coach Leach. The AD at Pullman was the same guy that hired him at Washington State, and he called Mike and said, “hey, if you're gonna let anybody run their offense who would you want to run it? And so, he sent me in.  So, I just thought it was good for me, at that time in my career, to make that move and so we went there, and I signed a three-year contract, extremely happy about the move.   I took my wife and my two young boys up to Pullman, Washington.  We traded our water skis in for snow skis. They love the snow. You know, we really wanted to be there.   I was telling Robert earlier we built a beautiful house there and we lived in that house.  My wife did a phenomenal job decorating it. I lived in the house for two months before I got the call to come back to North Texas.   And so, my wife wasn't very happy.  She spent a lot of time in Pullman to build that beautiful home. But then how could I pass it up? Texas kind of got me where I am today and I am thrilled to be at North Texas.

Tell us your thoughts and experience with the Portal and NIL
It has been an interesting, you know, case study for the future in my opinion.  I've never been a huge believer in the transfer portal. That's not how I want to build a program.  I think it's hard to build them to last that way and to sustain a great culture. And so, you know, hindsight is 20/20, as we go through it. You know we formed great relationships I felt with the kids that we had there (at UNT).  But with the money that some of these schools are paying them like it's become a little bit ridiculous.  So, we did a good job with retention, although once these kids graduate, they have the freedom to go where they want. They could transfer as many times as they wanted, and so we had six key starters that left after spring ball that went to the SEC for money and whatnot.
And so, you know, I took over a team that that had been to the C-USA conference championship and played Boise tough in a bowl game. They played UTSA last year in Conference USA, so I didn't want to come in and just blow the whole thing up and you know, because these guys have had some success, I wanted to be respectful of that. And so, to be honest. With you, I didn't do a lot of things my way.  Or should I say the way that we did it at Incarnate Word and now in hindsight it it's kind of bitten me in the tail a little bit, to be honest with you because, at the end of the day those kids I had built great relationships with,  I mean they left for bigger and better places.  We have great case studies now and I really think this will all even out at some point.  I mean, so we're tracking them every week, right?  So, there's six guys that all transferred out via the portal and NIL and only one of them is a backup and the rest are on the bench and he's playing just a few minutes, so the data has been pretty compelling. All these guys that left were all Conference USA players. Now they're going and they're on the bench and their backups, right?  Maybe that's what they want. Maybe it's not, but it's pretty remarkable. Just the transformation of this and what is taking place in the portal.
But for us to be able to build a roster has been challenging.  You know, for me, we felt some challenges the first year in this thing because we just lost so much production, we lost our two best linebackers. We both lost both of our best tight ends, our top receiver. And this is all post spring and so it put us in a little bit of a predicament.  But at the same time, I think, you know, I kind of I went away from some of the things that I truly believed in.   I think momentum is like one of the key words in all of college football and to gain positive momentum is tough in any corporation or organization.   Gaining positive momentum is also so hard initially - like it takes so much time, so much effort, so many things to happen right. And when I'm taking over as the leader of a conference championship caliber team.   And initially you have positive momentum like. I mean, it's such a joy to go to work every day. Everybody listens to what you're saying. They believe in it. But on the contrary, like when you get negative momentum, especially in a football building or a program, like it really takes the life out of you.  I mean, for three weeks we had the worst start to the season that we could have had imagined and for three weeks I didn't sleep a wink; my wife's worried about me.   I'm young and I'm going through these moments of doubt wondering what am I not doing right? And so finally, just after we ended up losing to Florida International, I just totally reset the vision that I had for the program. And I told the guys, and it was clear what my vision was, and they were going to be with us or they're going to be out. And they're going to be part of the problem or part of the solution? No more excuses.
How did you overcome the rough start to the season?
And so, I just took a chapter from you know my mentor, Michael Leach. Which, you know there were so many things that Mike taught me, on how to build a program from the ground up.   But we went all in on it and over the last two weeks I've suspended 12 guys and 7 other starters they didn't play against Florida International. We suspended our starting corner and middle linebacker last week because they didn't get their study hours and one of them was 17 minutes short of it so we've kinda gone back to drawing a line in the sand and just doing it the way that we've done it in the past now.  We have built this sense of accountability which it was hard for me to, like, do those things at first because they had so much success and I didn't want to come in and act like we just needed something completely different.
And then you just don't know until you know, right? And so, it was such a big learning lesson for me and then even last week we went to La. Tech and played extremely well on offense and let them back in it.     I think they scored 23 points and got a couple on-sidekicks to tie it in the in the fourth quarter.  We had a minute left, and we went on a great two-minute drive, kicked the field goal, and won the game just as time expired. But it's just been so refreshing like to me and it's like I will forever remember this for the rest of my life as, for as long as I'm coaching. It is sort of like I let my guard down. And we spent the whole spring establishing a culture and a vision of it.   But I did a bad job of really day in day out of telling these kids we're doing right and I let too many things slide to be honest with you and it showed up and our discipline, our penalties, I mean all the little things were showing up on film of the accountability piece to it right?   And everybody knows that that football is one of the toughest sports out there? And I think that you know me at the at the helm of this thing allowing these things to just be brushed to the side and not enforcing you know any kind of accountability on the kids really took a step back and caused us to probably lose a game that we shouldn't have and so it was a very big learning lesson for me and the staff.
Talk about your mentor Mike Leach
Just another cool story I brought up about Mike earlier but, you know, it's been a very emotional year for me.   Just because everything was Leach and he's been my guy and I missed him so much especially my phone calls with him all the time. But I was actually sitting so in the staff room at Washington state, exactly where Mike always sat at the head of the table. That was my seat as the offensive coordinator in our staff room and so the day he died, I got a phone call from Sharon, his wife, to tell me that he had just passed and I was actually sitting in his seat, that I remembered him sitting in the last time I was on staff with him. So, it was a super emotional day for me. Obviously to be there, and to remember all those great memories I had.  And the very next morning at 6:00 AM, we're about to get on a plane to go to a bowl game and I got a phone call that I would be the next head coach at North Texas. And I was sitting in this seat again when I got the call.  And so, another surreal moment for me that someone that was looking down on me and you know, I know he'd be super proud of me, and I know a bunch of people in here have fond memories of Mike but…  I am sorry to end this whole thing on a note like that but that's all I got.
Editors note:  We were treated very kindly from the San Antonio Quarterback Club staff who rolled out the red carpet and we wanted to share a link to their charity whose mission is to promote, support and financially assist the Gridiron Heroes Spinal Cord Injury Foundation, which provides acute and long term resources to individuals who have sustained a spinal cord injury in a high school football-related event.  San Antonio Quarterback Club Link

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to former UNT running back Eteka Huckaby…
Well at times it wasn’t pretty, and at the end I about bit my nails off, but in the final result UNT and new head coach Eric Morris scored a huge and much needed win over La. Tech on the road 40-37.   Morris did the thing good coaches do, he switched everything up starting with a new starting quarterback in Chandler Rogers who showed everyone he can turn it up when the lights are on.   Rogers threw for 313 yards and 2-TD passes; he also rushed for 35 yards on 9 carries.  But beyond the stats, he looked like a leader out there, whether it was laying pancake blocks or giving formation instructions to his receivers.  This was the guy we beat out some good teams for in the portal and he showed everyone what he could be when the big game lights come on…

…Other changes of note that made an impact on the win, Febechi Nwaiwu the former offensive lineman walk-on from Coppell who was a freshman all American in several publications last season at guard was moved to tackle by Morris and staff just prior to this season and it wasn’t working.  For La. Tech, they moved him back to the inside at guard and put Jett Duncan back out at tackle and they both had great games leading the way for Ayo Adeyi to gain 148-yards on 19 carries and 2 TD’s…
…UNT made similar changes on the defensive side, moving back to a 4-3 set-up and it immediately yielded some good results as end Mazin Richards was all over the field again, with 5 tackles (4 solo) and a sack.  Kevin Wood is starting to play like the player we knew prior to his injury, leading the team with 9 tackles and a pass deflection…
…Most importantly, this team fought back and overcame some scalding adversity after the road loss against FIU.  As pointed out by the great @jtm0097, “The defense came out in a 4 man front a few times and they didn't give up a first down until the 10 minute mark of the 2nd quarter.” That’s a dramatic improvement especially when you consider it was on the road.  And Rogers deep ball was on point forcing the defense to respect our passing game.   The only issue on offense was that we did not always perform in the red zone.  Defensively, we must get better at tackling.  Of course, allowing La. Tech to rattle off 23 points in the 4th quarter after being down 16 starting it was extremely concerning.  Luckily, we will have two weeks to work on that with the bye week before Abilene Christian at home…
…Was neat to see UNT Head Coach Eric Morris jump on the GoMeanGreen.com post-game show live with host JD Davis last night, right after the game was over.  The enthusiasm and excitement were evident and as a fan it was fun to watch.  This UNT AD staff under newly hired Jared Mosely has been pretty good about providing the fans access and this was just another example.  Here is hoping that this will continue for many games to come…     
…VARIOUS AND SUNDRY – The last time UNT had defeated La. Tech on the road was 2017 and it was close too 24-23.   UNT FG Kicker Noah Rauschenberg was a stone-cold killer yesterday, icing the game with a key FG with just seconds left in the 4th quarter, but also had 4, count them 4 total field goals for the game, with one in the 2nd quarter being 48-yards.   Punter Sawyer Evans was super solid as well with a 60.5 average in the game.   It’s still early in the season yet, but Special Teams Coach Drew Svoboda is doing a really nice job filling in some big shoes and stabilizing this key position.  UNT may need to roll out the NIL wagon quickly for transfer WR Ja’Mori Maclin, as this speedy young sophomore is starting to turn some heads across the country with his hands and ability to get open.  Also having NFL bloodlines doesn’t hurt with his brother Jeremy being a 2x consensus All American at Missouri, and 1st round pick with the Philadelphia Eagles.
GMG Game Photo Credits to the great Miles Meador
Enjoy the bye week and see you in a couple!  And as Always, Go Mean Green!

Join Jd from gomeangreen.com as he sits down with former North Texas Defensive Coordinator and college coaching legend Phil Bennett for an in-depth discussion on the current landscape of college football. In this highly engaging conversation, they delve into intriguing topics like high school versus portal recruiting, the challenges of transitioning to different defensive schemes, and the ever-evolving phenomenon of college realignment.

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to former UNT linebacker KD Davis…
Well, a bad start got worse on Saturday, as UNT provided good comeback fodder for recently downtrodden Florida International University (FIU) with a 46-39-point loss on the road.   Unlike the prior week’s loss to Cal, UNT was favored in the game, by a significant margin (-10.5).   Postgame stats looked eerily similar.  Two interceptions thrown by starting UNT QB Stone Earle led to backup UNT QB Chandler Rogers replacing him and Rogers was a bright spot for UNT with 2 TD passes and 0 int’s.  Again, UNT’s defense was the primary culprit in the loss giving up 4 rushing TD’s and 223 yards……The ghost of Seth Littrell was ever present after the humbling loss against FIU, as UNT demolished the Panthers in 2022 by a score of 52-14……Some have whispered the talent level on defense has dropped off and it certainly lost some talent, but a bigger issue may well be the scheme.  The results may be looking far worse than expected because the players defensive coordinator Matt Caponi is using were just not built for this system…
…Another lingering issue is how did this staff not see the Category 5 hurricane coming back in the spring?  Should they not have looked at the portal to replenish some of the defensive losses as well as beef up the front part of the 3-3-5?  With only 3 down linemen you must have a fireplug at the 3 technique that requires double teams.  Otherwise, you will have your linebackers getting pounded by 6-5 300-pound beasts all day long.  Talents like All conference Mazin Richards look lost and just don’t mesh well with the new scheme…
…The plan of primarily recruiting the high schools in Texas and DFW specifically has historically made a lot of sense for UNT given its location, however in the new era of the portal and NIL just does not makes as much sense.  If you recruit a high school player and they blow up, you are probably going to lose them to the portal via a healthier NIL destination without even being penalized by sitting out a year.  At least with transfers they have used that one time get out of jail free card and have some tougher decisions to make before bailing…
…UNT has a tough road game ahead with La. Tech who is currently favored by 2.5 but an even scary game is on the horizon with athletic directors’ former home school Abeline Christian.  ACU is looking pretty good at 2-0 thus far but has a tough game coming up this week with Eric Morris’s former UIW program who is #10 nationally in FCS.  Jared is somewhat of a favorite son among the ACU faithful, so I am sure he is hoping Morris and staff get this ship righted quickly.
And as always, Go Mean Green!

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