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  1. Mike Ekeler, an excitable sort, often prefaces his football stories with phrases such as "Think about this" and "This is the greatest story of all time." In January, the 48-year-old native of David City was named special teams coordinator at North Texas. His Mean Green players soon will learn about Ekeler's storytelling prowess, if they haven't already. Think about this one: During the spring of 2010, when Ekeler coached Nebraska's linebackers, he recalls the Husker defense plodding through a terrible Friday practice. So, Ekeler had a message for his linebackers before a scrimmage the next morning. Not an official marathon, mind you. In this case, Ekeler had an NU football staff member drop him off on Interstate 80 about 27 miles from Memorial Stadium. It was 90 degrees. The good news: The wind was at his back. The bad news: It was all of 90 degrees. He made it to the 21-mile mark, but not the full 27. We'll get to what happened in a second. Read the rest of the story here: https://journalstar.com/sports/huskers/sipple/steven-m-sipple-the-story-of-mike-ekelers-aborted-27-mile-run-on-i-80/article_01d10c2f-8fd4-5bd3-8e00-56f72aa57ea7.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
  2. MGB: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2016/05/unt-defensive-end-target-raveon-holston-sets-commitment-date.html/
  3. The bar - CUSunBelt level competition - isn't that high. As posted before, we could win as many as six games. Many here highly overrate SMU Jesus' progress at SMU. With a very crappy team, we hung with them at their stadium until the fourth quarter. They are bad, and will spend 2016 getting their heads kicking in again. We're 50/50 here Bethune-Cookman is a very good FCS squad, but, still FCS. I do know that we played Portland State last year and were drummed. However, the 2015 squad lacked pride, had essentially zero inside leadership, and quit that game. I border on saying that they threw the game. I hate even thinking that. But.... The intensity should be better with the new coaching staff. I'd put our odds at 90/10 to win this one. Florida - Loss Rice is breaking in a new starting QB and some new OLs. Defense is experienced. Roadies. I'd give us 30/70 odds on that one due to their experience on defense. A QUARTER OF THE SEASON COMPLETED: 2-2 wouldn't be surprising to me, splitting the Rice and SMU games. I'll go ahead and say that 1-3 wouldn't kill me at this point if the SMU and Rice games are competitive to the wire...which they should be. Middle Tennessee returns only four starters on defense. All LBs will be new, as well as 3/4th of the secondary. They will be tough on offense, even though 2/3rds of the starting WR corp will be new. We're at home, and I give us 50/50 here. Marshall. Everyone wets the bed because of Marshall. However, Marshall lost their two leading receivers, their leading rusher, and six defensive starters - both interior linemen, the outside backers, and half of their secondary. Again, we play this one here. Marshall, despite the losses does bring back a good OL and what looks to be a great QB. I'd put us at 40/60 here. Army at West Point. You know what you are getting with Army - option running from a smallish team. They went 2-10 last year, defeating only Eastern Michigan and FCS Bucknell, and the Bucknell score was 21-14. This is a test of the new defensive coaches, for sure: how disciplined is the run defense. Army had only one player with double digit receptions last year, 16. Where Army is loaded is defense where they return nine starters. I give us 60/40 odds here. UTSA in San Antonio. I don't think very highly of UTSA. They are bad. They return only five on defense, losing half their secondary and starting DL as well as 2/3rds of the LB corp. OLs is replacing two starters and thin. Their QB situation isn't much better than ours. As with Army, even though on the road, I give us 60/40 odds of winning this one. TWO-THIRDS OF THE SEASON COMPLETED: I see us, at worse sitting a 3-5 going into the final month of the season, with a punchers chance of being 4-4. Outside of Florida, the competition isn't overwhelming...or, shouldn't be with a properly coached and motivated squad. Surprising either MTSU or Marshall would go a long way toward bolstering the players' belief in what the new coaching staff is doing. Louisiana Tech at home. Here is another, like Marshall where many people wet the bad. However, the Bulldogs return only three starters on defense. The right side of their OL must be replaced, as well as the starting QB, tight end, and Kenneth Dixon. Let's face facts, Dixon was, perhaps, the best player they've ever produced outside of Terry Bradshaw. He left school with nearly every rushing record in the books. He's gone, defense is rebuilding, and we're at home. I give us a 50/50 here...even though you chuckle. We should be coming home on a two game win streak going into this one. Western Kentucky, there. Outside of Florida, I think this is our toughest game even though the Hilltoppers are breaking in a new QB. They do so with the luxury of what will probably be the best OL in the conference, as well as the two of the three leading receivers, who combined for 149 catches, over 2400 yards, and 23 TDs. They also return a 1,000 rusher who contributed 27 receptions as well. Five starters return on defense. However, I think what they have on offense will be enough to keep us from having a shot here. I give us 20/80 here. Southern Miss in Denton. Guys, this is what I think will be the key game for us. Southern Miss will be replacing both OTs and one of their two 1,000 rushers, plus their top two WRs, who combined for 151 receptions, 2300+ yards, and 21 TDs. They have a heck of a QB, though, who is battle tested. They return 3/4sths of their secondary, half the LBs, but lose two DL starters from their 3-4 defense. Also, they have a new head coach whom they hired from Alcorn State - the first white coach at the TBC - Jay Hopson. He had been on Jeff Bowers' coaching staff back in the day. I give us only a 40/60 here; just have a bad feeling about it at this point. UTEP in El Paso. UTEP returns nine on offense and six on defense. We laugh at them, but at 5-7, they were a ball hair from being bowl eligible in 2015. It is likely that this game determines bowl eligibility for us or them. I really like their coach,Sean Kugler. He's got some question marks at QB,and loses 3/5ths of the secondary in the 4-2-5 TCU-like scheme they run. However, I don't see them as a push over. I see us as a 40/60 here. SEASON COMPLETE: We should be at least 5-7. Laugh now. It will only take one "upset" to get us bowl eligible. But, look...I'm not crazy either. To get to 5-7, this squad must bring the A game every game, every week. They must. There are a sh*t ton of questions about this the talent on this roster, especially breaking in a new OL and QB. DL is still perilously think and small. The 2016 thing is simply this, as it always seems to be for us: this group has to commit to one another to play above themselves. There can't be non-starting players shirking workouts, disregarding the playbooks, avoiding the film room, then yelling at coaches about not starting. That type of sh*t has got be 139% absent from the 2016 locker room...especially at the Leader position, QB. If the locker room lacks leadership again in 2016 and is in disarray, disregard everything I've predicted and mark us down at 1-11 or 0-12. The players have new coaching leadership. It's time for the experienced players on this team to put up or shut up, and start setting an example for the underclassmen. They need this on their t-shirts this year:
  4. On why it was so important to ‘do his own thing.’ … “I learned a valuable lesson watching Brian Schottenheimer. He came into a situation where he tried to run an offense that was already in place and didn’t run his offense, so to speak. I didn’t want get into a situation like that after watching the difficulties that he had. When you do that – and I watched it happen – as a coordinator, and it’s not really your stamp but it’s your name, that’s not a good gig. That’s why I chose to go to North Texas with a guy I think is a rising star as a head coach and a great friend of mine. I absolutely love him. And I have the opportunity to do exactly what I believe in.” On settling on North Texas in Dallas as his next destination … “I had a chance to go to another SEC school, a couple of Big Ten schools, the Pac-12. But it wasn’t as sole coordinator. I want to get out front and lead and do it the way I want to do it and treat kids the way I want to do it, and I want to work with people I want to work with. I don’t want to be in rooms with people I don’t enjoy and don’t have much in common with.” On what if anything you’d change about college football coaching if you could … “People talk about hiring great recruiters; I think that’s an absolute joke. If you’re labeled that, 99 percent of the time that means you can’t coach a lick. That’s a fact. There are very few exceptions. Ed Orgeron is a fantastic recruiter and he’s probably the best defensive line coach of them all. The guy is big-time. It’s great to recruit 5-stars, but then they come in and play like 2-stars. It’s too bad that’s how this profession is, but that’s part of the deal now. “It’s not about recruiting, it’s about evaluating. That’s one of the things I learned from Ed Orgeron. It doesn’t matter if he’s a 2-star or a 5-star, it’s how you evaluate it and what you think you can do with him. That’s what I learned from him. Again, you recruit them. But there’s only about five players in the country that are totally different than everybody else. Everybody else can fall into a similar category. At that point it’s about developing and teaching. It’s about evaluating and developing your talent. And that’s a fact.” read more: https://www.dawgnation.com/football/team-news/an-exit-interview-with-former-uga-assistant-mike-ekeler
  5. When Mike Ekeler was playing linebacker at Kansas State University under Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder in the early 90s, he set a record. But you won’t find his name scribbled in the NCAA history books anywhere. “When I played a hundred years ago, I set the NCAA record for having more fun than anyone,” Ekeler said jokingly. “When I got into coaching, I said I was going to enjoy it more than anybody.” He seems to be living up to his promise. Ekeler’s antics have caused just about everyone to take notice — including his boss. Head coach Seth Littrell knows the excitement Ekeler brings to the field and summed it up in two words. “Energy and passion,” Littrell said. “He’s very sharp. He understands what he’s looking for and understands the scheme.” Without Littrell, Ekeler would not have come to Denton. The hiring of Littrell is one of the main reasons Ekeler decided to call North Texas his new home. With a resume that has coaching gigs at the University of Southern California, University of Oklahoma, Louisiana State University, Indiana University, Nebraska University, and most recently, the University of Georgia, there is little doubt Ekeler could have landed just about anywhere in the country he wanted to go. But coaching is a job for a people person, and Littrell knew just the person to call to fill his defensive coordinator void. His former colleague was sold — and ready to join the Mean Green. “I’m 100 percent standing here today because of Seth Littrell,” Ekeler said. “I think he’s an unbelievable football coach and a great person. I believe in the guy.” Despite a powerhouse pedigree featuring some of the most renowned football programs in the nation, one thing mattered above all else to Ekeler. “I’ve worked at some of the greatest schools history-wise in the game,” Ekeler said. “But what it boils down to is people. You can be at the University of Georgia and be miserable if you’re working with shitty people. I really enjoy my work environment and the players here.” In just six short weeks, Ekeler has turned what was the eighth-worst defense in the Football Bowl Subdivision last year into a stone wall in the red zone. read more: http://ntdaily.com/new-defensive-coordinator-mike-ekeler-helping-change-the-culture-at-north-texas/
  6. DENTON - There are a lot of factors when considering the career of a college football coach. Success on the field, success in the classroom for your student-athletes, hirings, firings and the excitement each of those may bring to a fan base. What isn’t always thought about is the effect those hirings and firings have on not only the coach but his family, and the remainder of the staff’s families. read more: http://www.meangreensports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/093016aab.html
  7. read more: http://coachingsearch.com/article?a=A-look-at-Seth-Littrell-North-Texas-staff-so-far
  8. From FootballScoop Georgia: Inside linebackers coach / co-special teams coordinator Mike Ekeler is leaving the staff to pursue another opportunity as a defensive coordinator. Ekeler will not coach Georgia in their bowl game. Will update… Could it be??
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