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  1. MGB: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2016/05/unt-defensive-end-target-raveon-holston-sets-commitment-date.html/
  2. DENTON -- Seth Littrell showed a creative flair while coordinating potent spread offenses as he bounced across the country from Arizona to Indiana and finally North Carolina. That creativity extended to Littrell's first few months as North Texas head coach. Littrell took what seemed like an unworkable situation regarding UNT's personnel and gathered the players he needed to make his system work, seemingly from out of thin air. Littrell grabbed headlines when he landed Alabama senior transfer quarterback Alec Morris to run the show. Dig a little deeper, and it's apparent just how quickly UNT's new staff has transformed a team that relied on a power running game just a few months ago. read more: http://sportsday.dallasnews.com/college-sports/collegesports/2016/08/23/new-coach-seth-littrell-getting-creative-adding-impact-players-return-mean-green-football-prominence
  3. 1). I was pleasantly surprised with the turnout. I was shocked to see the parking lots mostly full. We ended up having to park in the Victory lot. I do think there were some other events going on, perhaps a softball game etc that contributed to this. My point is they had the greek letters out, there was some limited tailgating and a pretty decent group walking up. It was a nice day, hot in the sun and many of the fans took to the upper level seats which remained in the shade. The Talons managed the canon very effectively and it was damn loud. Plenty of concessions open, no lines, no nazi attendants managing the aisles. Everything in terms of the game presentation was first rate. 2). I thought it was a fairly tough day for Morris at QB. He didn't seem to ever get a good rhythm. He stayed in the pocket a long time and had some issues when the option 1 receiver was covered up. I just felt like all of the QB's with the exception of Shanbour were taking way too long to get rid of the ball. Part of this is a byproduct of the fact they are wearing red jerseys and can't be hit. I think it really psychologically affects the play in scrimmages like this. Honestly, I would give Morris a C+ today. He clearly has the tools above and beyond every other QB we have. The defense today was surprisingly aggressive with multiple looks and blitzes and it definitely caused Morris to struggle at times. The good news is this is exactly what he will face against SMU and every team we play this season so it's a good thing to let him experience this and work on it in the offseason. 3). In terms of the other QB's I really though Shanbour had the best day of all of the QB's. He surprised me with his speed on a couple of keepers. His release is the fastest we have had at the position. He is small (listed at 6-0 probably 5-10) but good feet and has a nice zing to his ball. I really don't see Chumley and Means factoring in for us at this position. You need 4 QB's, and these guys have given their best but I do not see them being able to help us. Morris got the lionshare of the reps with Shanbour well behind him and frankly Means and Chumley received very few. I did not see them do much with the few they got. I think that Chumley needs to change positions, and perhaps Means as well, although Means may decide to go somewhere where he can play. I say that wanting the best for him because he is a great kid. I certainly would welcome him to stay if he wants to get his degree at UNT or could perhaps play another position. 4). I was struck at the overall lack of numbers we had on the field. Yes, I know we have 20+ coming in the Fall, but it just seems like this program is paper think at some key positions, namely QB. We need more QB's and fast. I can't help but think they are wooing a graduate transfer as I type this. If Morris doesn't work out, or gets injured, we have an adequate journeyman who sat out last season with an injury and has never played in a college game and that is about it. Still better than last season (ouch) but not at all where Littrell wants thing thing to be. 5). On the good side of things, I think our defensive secondary could be pretty good. McClain really stood out to me today. He looks like a man among boys. I also saw some real nice things from Ozougwu the lean defensive end who grey shirted. He needs more size and that will come in time, but he is extremely quick and was very hard to block. I also thought Muenster Monster Andy Flusche was very active and successful today. I loved the 3-3-5 and attack mentality of the defense. They had the offense on their heels all day long with blitzes from every direction. I also like the juco defensive end Joshua Wheeler. He seems like he could help us. Good size and speed. I also think Jareid Combs could provide an impact. 6). As much as I liked the overall defense, I think we are average at linebacker and d-line overall though. I ran into Booger Kennedy at the game and couldn't help but think, what name players do we have? There are no Boogers or Adrian Awasomes or Jonas Buckles or Craig Jones or Marcus Trice's or Zach Orr's... hopefully these will develop. Depth is a concern. I saw a fair amount of walk-ons at the linebacker spot today. Of course help is on the way. My hope is that our aggressive scheme will help us play up as we work to develop our players and bring in more talent. Final thought, I do not think that we will have to suffer through watching our defense die by a thousand cuts as it seemed in the last two years. We will be aggressive and take chances. 7). Field goal kicker Trevor Moore got a fair amount of work and he looks pretty solid. Not a huge leg but very consistent. He missed one barely but other than that I thought he looked very good. That could pay dividends in some close games this year. Sam Rice looks like he will be very solid at center although he did have a few high snaps. I really like the young lineman Elex Woodworth... he looks like a legit D-1 body and moves very well. I felt a little bad for big Jordan Murray who is behind Tech transfer Trey Kennan at tackle. But you can see why. Keenan is undersized at 270 but he is quick. The line has huge splits compared to the Mac days when they were shoulder to shoulder. Keenan is quicker off the ball and moves his feet faster once he connects with a defender. These are things big Jordie can work on and he's still so very young. 8). #27 WR Derris Praeter is a walk on but may have a little something. Tee Goree made some nice plays and seems to be excelling in this system. We are not near deep enough at running back, but I did like what I saw out of Southlake's AJ Ezzard. He has good speed and determination with the ball. My favorite receiver of the day was freshman tight end Kelvin Smith as he was a favorite target of Morris. I really shouldn't call him a tight end as he lines up more like an H-back or split out. He just seems to have that "it". He wants the ball and he seems to step up his game when the lights are on. A very nice pickup. 9). Littrell's coaching style is interesting. He really delegates all of the direct interaction with the players through his assistants. For instance, at the start of the scrimmage, it was Graham Harrell out in the circle of players in the middle of the field barking out instructions and firing everyone up. Littrell would stand directly behind the defense, with his eyes directly at the center of the line. It seems like he is allowing his assistants to develop a relationship with their players out of respect for their abilities and is constantly assessing things in a Macro way. In a weird way, he sort of reminds me of Tom Landry... very stoic, analytical and focused. He stands and soaks it in. The main movement and interaction he had would be at 4th downs when he would let the officials and coaches know where he wanted the ball and whether he wante dthe 1st or 2nd teams in. You don't see the Mac pacing up and down the field. He doesn't do the Dickey whistle spin. He doesn't do the Dodge arm band and hand signals. He doesn't scream out things or say a whole lot. The positive effect is that when he does speak it gets noticed. I did see him low five a player after a good play once. Perhaps this will change in time, but these were my impressions from today. 10). Interesting note, there was a mix tape of just about every kind of music you could think of... I mean I heard a lot of Rap, Van Halen, Pop... country.. anyway it seems to be a LIttrell trademark, because the music played through the entire scrimmage over the stadium loud speakers. I had seen that at the practices as well, but I found it interesting to have the announcer announcing over this steady steam of music. It wasn't too loud though. Actually I think I like it. It sort of gives a rhythm to a somewhat monotonous stop and start scrimmage. I also saw a fair amount of recruits and high school coaches at the game which is a positive thing. Overall a fun day. gmg
  4. DENTON – Mean Green head coach Seth Littrell’s coaching staff is complete as he’s announced the hirings of Mike Ekeler, Troy Reffett, Derrick LeBlanc, Nate Brown, Zack Womack and Shane Elder on Wednesday. Ekeler is the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, Reffett is the assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator, LeBlanc is the defensive line coach, Brown will coach cornerbacks, Womack is the head strength and conditioning coach and Elder is assistant athletic director for football operations. Mike Ekeler Ekeler spent the last two seasons as inside linebackers coach at Georgia and has been at USC, Indiana, Nebraska, LSU and Oklahoma. In 2015, the Bulldog defense ranked eighth in the nation in total defense, giving up only 305.8 yards a game. In 2014, the Georgia defense was ranked 17th in the country in total defense. In his first season at Georgia, the Bulldogs defense was second in the SEC in passing defense efficiency. He coached two NFL draft picks in 2014, Ramik Wilson (sixth round) and Amarlo Herrera (sixth round). Ekeler also coordinated the defensive special teams at Georgia. At USC in 2013, Ekeler coached Devon Kennard, who was named to the All-PAC 12 second-team. That year Kennard had 60 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks. While at Indiana with Littrell, Ekeler served as the linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator from 2011-12. A native of David City, Nebraska, he served as linebackers coach at Nebraska for three seasons (2008-10) under head coach Bo Pelini. During his three years in Lincoln, the Cornhuskers won or shared the Big 12 Conference North Division title all three seasons. Troy Reffett Reffett joins the Mean Green after spending one season with Memphis as the cornerbacks coach. At Memphis in 2015 the Tigers had 12 interceptions en route to a 9-4 season and a berth in the Birmingham Bowl. Prior to joining the Tigers, Reffett spend six years with Louisiana-Monroe. In his final season at ULM, Reffett’s defense ranked among the top-20 nationally in passing yards allowed (189.9 ypg/14th), third-down conversion defense (0.326/11th) quarterback sacks (3.00 pg/13th) and tackles for lost yardage (7.5 pg/10th). All told, Louisiana-Monroe ranked in the top four in the Sun Belt Conference in 10 defensive team statistical categories. The Warhawks led the Sun Belt in total defense, allowing 373.3 yards per game. ULM also led the SBC in third down percentage defense, quarterback sacks and tackles for loss. The team’s 26.3 points allowed per game ranked second in the SBC. ULM had two players named to the All-Sun Belt Conference First Team Defense at the conclusion of the 2014 season. Reffett spent five seasons at New Mexico beginning in 2004 where he coached the Lobos cornerbacks before being promoted to defensive coordinator prior to the 2008 season. Reffett coached 14 seasons at UTEP, including 2002 and 2003 as the Miners’ defensive coordinator under head coach Gary Nord. Derrick LeBlanc LeBlanc joins the Mean Green coaching staff after coaching stints with Southern Miss, Wyoming, LSU and most recently Pearl River College. LeBlanc spent two years at Southern Miss, 2013 and 2014 and helped revitalize the defensive line in his time. In his first year LeBlanc managed a defensive line led by Khyri Thornton, who was named second team All-Conference USA and selected in the third round (85th overall pick) to the Green Bay Packers in the 2014 NFL Draft. Under LeBlanc's tutelage, Thornton recorded 39 tackles, including 16 solo tackles and 23 assisted tackles. In his one season at Wyoming in 2012, he made a lasting impact on the Cowboy program, coaching defensive tackle Mike Purcell to All-Mountain West Conference first team honors. Purcell was third on the team in tackles, a tough mark to achieve for an interior lineman, with 83 while recording eight tackles for loss. Purcell was also one of two Wyoming seniors selected to play in a postseason collegiate all-star game. LeBlanc went to Wyoming from LSU, where he was an assistant strength and conditioning coordinator from 2008-11. Prior to working in the LSU athletics department, LeBlanc was the defensive line coach at Missouri State for two seasons in 2006-07. Nate Brown Brown spent the past year coaching cornerbacks at his alma mater, Louisiana-Monroe. In his second stint with ULM, having previous served as a defensive graduate assistant in 2012, Brown coached cornerback Trey Caldwell, who earned honorable mention all-Sun Belt honors in 2015. Caldwell had 52 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and had 10 pass break-ups during the season. Brown was the defensive backs coach while also assistant in recruiting and serving as the academic liaison at Grambling State in 2014. In his one season with the Tigers, the squad finished 7-5 overall and posted a six win improvement from the 2013 season. Brown was a four-year letterwinner as part of the Warhawk secondary. During his first three seasons, Brown played at the corner position before switching to safety. He was named third-team All-Sun Belt by Phil Steele following a strong junior campaign in 2010. He also earned Louisiana Sports Writer’s Association Defensive Player of the Week honors following a standout performance against Arkansas (Sept. 11, 2010). Zach Womack Womack had been at North Carolina since 2012, where he worked with coach Littrell the past two seasons. He joined North Carolina after serving as the head strength and conditioning coach at East Central University from 2010-12. Prior to his time at East Central, he served as an assistant strength coach for football at the University of Illinois from 2005-10. Womack also served as an assistant coach at the University of Florida and the University of Memphis in 2004. Womack is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and is a certified coach by USA Weightlifting. He is also a member of the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association. Shane Elder Elder spent the last seven seasons at UTSA, first as the director of football operations before being promoted to assistant athletics director for football and operations in 2014. Elder was hired in October 2009 as UTSA’s Director of Football Operations and promoted to Assistant Athletics Director for Football in 2014. He was responsible for coordinating team travel, on-campus recruiting visits, the walk-on program and housing and meal programs for student-athletes. He assisted with summer camps, overseeing the program’s compliance paperwork, scheduling, organizing community service outings and serving as the high school coaches liaison. Elder came to UTSA from Texas A&M, where he served as the football program’s administrative assistant for recruiting for seven years. During his time with the Aggies, he was a part of three bowl teams -- the 2005 Cotton Bowl, 2006 Holiday Bowl and 2007 Alamo Bowl. read more: http://www.meangreensports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/021716aaa.html
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