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  1. 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:
  2. North Texas head coach Seth Littrell, offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, and quarterback Alec Morris have one thing in common. The new Mean Green trio — gearing up for a revival in Denton following successful stints elsewhere — has not yet stepped out of the shadows of others. Littrell’s promotion to the head coaching landscape came days after the conclusion of an 11-3 season with the North Carolina Tar Heels, where the first-year Mean Green mentor served as the assistant head coach to Larry Fedora. The 11-win season is the most successful campaign in the Fedora era in Chapel Hill. In order to reboot the North Texas offensive staff, one of Littrell’s first hires was former Texas Tech Red Raider quarterback Graham Harrell. Despite a minimal coaching resume, Harrell’s familiarity with the air raid scheme paid dividends in 2015 with head coach Mike Leach and the Washington State Cougars. The then-outside receivers coach aided an offense which produced the No. 3 aerial attack in the country with over 5,000 yards. Harrell helped Leach reach a new benchmark in Pullman with a nine-win season. With Littrell and Harrell intent on shooting fireworks in Denton, the duo rung in the new year with the transfer of former Alabama quarterback Alec Morris. In terms of success, Morris may have the upper hand on both his new coaches with 50 wins and a pair of national championship rings on his ledger. Just one problem: Morris threw only one pass over a four-year window in Tuscaloosa. An assistant head coach, an outside receivers specialist and a backup quarterback — with two nattys — waltz into a bar… Except this trio is stumbling headfirst into a barren wasteland that needs a lot of sprucing up. North Texas trudged to a 1-11 season amid a 56-point loss to FCS Portland State and the firing of head coach Dan McCarney midway through the 2015 docket. read more: http://www.todaysu.com/c-usa/denton-connection-the-seth-littrell-trio-tries-to-revive-north-texas/
  3. Dan McCarney helped guide North Texas from the Sun Belt to Conference USA and found some initial success. In 2013, the Mean Green went 9-4 and made a bowl game. But it was all downhill from there. North Texas was 4-13 afterward, with McCarney getting canned following an 0-5 start to 2015. UNT officials went the same route that other area Group of Five programs such as Houston, Tulsa and SMU have traveled, with varying success: hire a Power Five offensive coordinator who’ll bring a high-scoring, fast-paced scheme with him. North Texas’ choice was North Carolina offensive coordinator Seth Littrell, who, at 37, is the fifth-youngest FBS head coach. The Tar Heels averaged over 40 points per game in 2015 and won the ACC Coastal Division. Of course, Littrell won’t have the offensive talent that he did at North Carolina, at least not initially. The biggest question for him: How quickly can he get his new team to buy into the uptempo lifestyle and succeed? Read more: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2643964-every-2016-first-year-coachs-biggest-offseason-question/page/17
  4. In 2013, the year we had the 9-4 "Mac Mirage" season and won a bowl game to boot, our friends in Hattiesburg went 1-11 as a member of the newly reconfigured C-USA. That was Coach Todd Monken's first season at Southern Miss, a season in which he inherited a USM program that went 0-12 the year before. Monken would weather a tough first season and then in 2014 get three wins (3-9). Monken won the west with USM in 2015 and came up just short of Washington in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. So Harry, why does this pertain to good ole UNT? Well for one thing, Monken replace the "defensive minded" Ellis Johnson at USM. Sound familiar? Johnson — whose defensive-minded pedigree always seemed to be a poor fit with the Golden Eagles — was owed a $2.1 million buyout over the next three seasons. Sound familiar? Monken was an offensive minded coach that opened up the Southern Miss system and playbook. It took time, and just like here -- it won't happen overnight but he recruited well and was no longer the most predictable team on the C-USA schedule. He took at QB who was struggling in Nick Mullens and developed him into one of the best in C-USA. I specifically remember when Southern Miss beat us at home in 2014 - you know that place where we rarely lost under Mac - how much bigger and faster the USM personnel was. Keep in mind, Monken hadn't been there two years yet! Recruiting matters folks, and it wasn't just skill positions, their linemen were 2-3 inches taller and lean. They were demolishing us on the line of scrimmage. USM has a better history than UNT that cannot be debated. However, I would argue that UNT has more talent available to them than USM does just in terms of location. I also believe UNT has a better budget, as well as academics and facilities. I remember that game signaling that something was terribly wrong in the Mac regime. We should have not seen that type of talent drop off after winning a damn bowl game the year before! What pained me then now gives me hope for the future under Coach Littrell. It can be done. gmg
  5. “There’s a lot of good tape that will help us become a better football team next fall and heading into the summer,” Littrell said. “Overall, we have a lot to work on, and we still have a lot of room for improvement. There is no doubt about it.” As the team heads into the summer and continues to prepare for the upcoming season, the offense, defense and special teams each showed flashes of what is to come. Offense The offense had two big questions entering the spring – who would win the quarterback battle between Alec Morris and Quinn Shanbour, and how would the team be able to run a pass-heavy offense with such little experience at receiver. Despite returning a combined career total of just 649 yards and three touchdowns, the Mean Green receiving corps emphatically shut the door on any concerns at the position. Sophomore Tee Goree proved he’s ready for a standout sophomore season, while Sophomore O’Keeron Rutherford had a great spring game and has the size at 6’5 to be an impact player in the red zone. Goree, Rutherford, and Freshman Kelvin Smith combined for 274 yards and three touchdowns in the spring game and looked much more athletic and versatile than the offensive weapons of the past. “We’ve had talent on the outside. We just haven’t been able to showcase it,” Goree said. “Now, with this offense, we’re able to showcase our talent.” As far as the quarterback position goes, Morris seemed to enter the spring game with the confidence of the team.. However, Shanbour played well enough in the spring for Littrell to refrain from naming a starting quarterback heading into the summer. Morris remains the favorite, but Shanbour is putting up a fight. “There are always things that you can improve on, but I think that as a whole we came a long way this spring,” Morris said. “I didn’t really have a set expectation in mind, but I’m pretty happy with how this spring went. There’s a lot of potential for this offense to get better.” While the quarterbacks battled it out, the spring was rough on the offensive line. The Mean Green have just one returning starter from last year in senior Sam Rice, but he is moving over to center to account for the loss of Kaydon Kirby. The line struggled in the spring game, but still has time to improve before September. The growth of senior transfer Trey Keenan and junior transfer T.J. Henson will be important, as the two are listed on the depth chart as starters going into the summer. “We’re nowhere near where we need to be,” Littrell said. “There’s been a lot of stress put on them. The kids are responding well, and it’s not that they aren’t working hard, it’s just a transition. We just have to get better, and we will.” Read more: http://ntdaily.com/new-look-football-closes-out-spring-looks-forward-to-fall/
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