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Drc: Dodge To Let Vizza Play The Next Several Games, Yes!


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Football: Dodge to give Vizza more time

11:52 PM CDT on Tuesday, September 25, 2007

By Brett Vito / Staff Writer

Giovanni Vizza will receive another shot to show what he can do as North Texas quarterback in the next few weeks.

The freshman, who was beaten out in a tight race for the starting job by junior Daniel Meager, played against Oklahoma in the Mean Green's season opener. He did not receive any playing time in losses to SMU and Florida Atlantic.

UNT head coach Todd Dodge said Tuesday that Vizza will be back on the field soon -- possibly Saturday when the Mean Green travels to Arkansas.

"We would like to get Giovanni in some every game," Dodge said. "It is no reflection on Daniel, but we have decided as a staff that he is our next-best quarterback. We will get him some playing time. … We would have liked to get him in against SMU and Florida Atlantic, but as we go forward we need to evaluate him as a quarterback."

Meager ranks eighth nationally with an average of 336.7 passing yards a game, but has thrown seven interceptions compared to just four touchdowns.

Vizza threw for 124 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions against the Sooners.

"He is definitely our second-string quarterback, which means you are always a play away," Dodge said. "We knew going into the OU game we had chosen not to redshirt him. He will continue to be evaluated."

Vizza came to UNT with impressive credentials. He led San Antonio Alamo Heights to the Class 4A Division I state title and was one of the top-rated quarterback prospects in the state.

Vizza originally committed to Nevada before changing his mind and deciding to play for UNT.

"Giovanni had really good work as we went through two-a-days," Dodge said. "We took our evaluation from last spring through the first 12 practices of fall. We played it out to the day we needed to decide on a starter. Through that process, he did great and has continued to do well."

Dodge: Tackling improved dramatically against FAU

UNT improved its tackling dramatically in a loss to FAU over its previous loss to SMU, Dodge said Tuesday.

UNT had 12 missed tackles that resulted in 187 additional yards against SMU, a total it cut to two missed tackles against FAU.

"I am happy to see that we can go into an off week and put that kind of emphasis on something and have our players respond," Dodge said.

The Mean Green had perhaps its best performance of the season defensively as a result. UNT gave up 406 yards of total offense, but limited FAU to 13 points through three quarters. The Owls took advantage of two blocked punts to score 14 points against the Mean Green, including a touchdown late in the fourth quarter that iced the win for FAU.

Soccer

UNT comes up empty on trip

UNT went for broke in the first game of its weekend series against Oklahoma and Long Beach State and ended up paying the price.

UNT head coach John Hedlund and the Mean Green poured all it had into its match with the Sooners, missed out on a few early scoring chances and ended up falling 1-0 on a late goal.

The Mean Green was unable to recover after a short turnaround and lost to Long Beach State on Sunday morning 5-0.

"I wanted to win the OU game," Hedlund said. "I wasn't going to leave anything. We dominated the first 15 minutes of play, but couldn't put it in. … I felt like we were the better team."

The Mean Green was shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since 2004 and for only the fourth time in school history.

UNT went into the game looking for national respect after starting the season 6-0. The losses dropped the Mean Green out of Soccer Buzz magazine's Central Region rankings, although UNT still received votes in the poll.

Hedlund: Sun Belt will be tough

UNT won't have long to recover from a tough weekend in Oklahoma before beginning Sun Belt Conference play this week.

UNT will take on Louisiana-Monroe on Friday night before taking on Louisiana-Lafayette on Sunday in its first two Sun Belt games of the season. UNT enters those games off of losses to Oklahoma and Long Beach State.

"The players bounce back better than I do," Hedlund said. "I take it pretty hard. Sometimes players help the coaches more than anything. … We know we passed up an opportunity to make a statement, but we know there will be games down the road where we can make a statement."

UNT has advanced to the finals of the Sun Belt tournament in each of the last seven years. Extending that streak could be tough.

Denver, UNT's longtime rival in the Sun Belt, knocked off top-ranked Stanford in nonconference play, perhaps the biggest win in Sun Belt Conference history in any sport. Nine of the 12 teams in the league have at least a .500 record.

"What used to be a two-team race with us and Denver is now a five-team race," Hedlund said. "I feel good about our chances, but it won't be easy."

UNT suffers key injuries

UNT will be without several key players this weekend for its opening weekend of Sun Belt play after they were injured in games against Oklahoma and Long Beach State.

Starting defenders Jacy Wicker and Gennifer Hurst have knee and foot injuries, respectively. Backup forward Christie Stewart could be out for an extended period of time with torn knee ligaments.

"The good thing with us is we do have depth on this team," Hedlund said. "Some players are going to get some chances and we need them to take advantage of it."

Volleyball

UNT heads into tough weekend

UNT will face perhaps the toughest stretch of its season beginning this weekend with a showdown on the road against the top two teams in the Sun Belt Conference.

The Mean Green (5-11, 1-1) will face Western Kentucky on Friday before taking on Middle Tennessee on Sunday. WKU enters the weekend with a 13-3 overall record and isn't even the best team UNT will face during the road swing.

MTSU is 15-1 on the season and is receiving votes in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll.

Both WKU and MTSU are 2-0 in Sun Belt Conference play.

"This is definitely a tough weekend for us," UNT head coach Cassie Headrick said. "Then we turn around and play Florida International at home and they have already beaten a Top 25 team this year."

Headrick said UNT would aim for at least one win on the road against either WKU or MTSU and then try to win on its home court.

"It might be good that we play these three teams early," Headrick said. "We will see where we are and if we can get one win, it could give us a lot of momentum heading into the second half of conference play."

UNT has had some success against MTSU in the past. The Mean Green beat the Lady Raiders in the regular season at home before falling to MTSU in the conference tournament last year.

UNT comes into its road trip off of its first win in Sun Belt play. The Mean Green lost its conference opener to Arkansas-Little Rock before bouncing back to beat Arkansas State.

Prokof posts 1,000th dig

Senior outside hitter Katy Prokof continued to cement her place in UNT history last week when she posted the 1,000th dig of her career.

Prokof hit the 1,000 mark in a loss to UALR on Friday before tacking on eight more digs in UNT's win over ASU.

The former Waxahachie standout also has 1,196 kills in her career. Corina Marginas, one of the top players in the history of the program, is the only other UNT player to have more than 1,000 digs and 1,000 kills in her career.

Prokof reached the milestone in one of her best weeks of the season. She posted 50 kills and 22 digs last week for the Mean Green.

Headrick called Prokof's performance against UALR, which included 18 kills and eight digs, one of her best of the season.

Player of the week

UNT senior libero Jessica Hulsebosch built on her standout senior season by breaking one of her own records last week.

Hulsebosch posted her sixth straight match with at least 20 digs while averaging 6.38 digs a game, the highest six-match total in school history.

Hulsebosch ranks third in the Sun Belt Conference in digs with an average of 5.33 a game. She finished with 25 digs in a win over Arkansas State on Sunday, the Mean Green's first in Sun Belt Conference play.

For her performance while helping the Mean Green move to 1-1 in conference play, Hulsebosch is the Denton Record-Chronicle UNT Player of the Week.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is bvito@dentonrc.com.

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It won't matter unless he gets some quality minutes with the game on the line. TD hopefully will put him in early when we and Arkansas have something to play for.

Here is what I hope. Since this is a non-conf game that we're not expected to win, we could use this as an opportunity to reevaluate the QB position against some of the best defensive talent they will see. Treat it almost like a scrimmage. Rotate Meager and Vizza right from the start. If the score is close at halftime, then stick with whoever is playing best and make a run for the win. If the score is not close (due to the HS DC that can't make adjustments :) ), then let Vizza finish out the game and get a really good look at him.

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Here is what I hope. Since this is a non-conf game that we're not expected to win, we could use this as an opportunity to reevaluate the QB position against some of the best defensive talent they will see. Treat it almost like a scrimmage. Rotate Meager and Vizza right from the start. If the score is close at halftime, then stick with whoever is playing best and make a run for the win. If the score is not close (due to the HS DC that can't make adjustments :) ), then let Vizza finish out the game and get a really good look at him.

Not a bad plan.

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Here is what I hope. Since this is a non-conf game that we're not expected to win, we could use this as an opportunity to reevaluate the QB position against some of the best defensive talent they will see. Treat it almost like a scrimmage. Rotate Meager and Vizza right from the start. If the score is close at halftime, then stick with whoever is playing best and make a run for the win. If the score is not close (due to the HS DC that can't make adjustments :) ), then let Vizza finish out the game and get a really good look at him.

Sounds good. We could actually field two separate offensive squads, and call Vizza's squad "the Green Team."

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Here is what I hope. Since this is a non-conf game that we're not expected to win, we could use this as an opportunity to reevaluate the QB position against some of the best defensive talent they will see. Treat it almost like a scrimmage. Rotate Meager and Vizza right from the start. If the score is close at halftime, then stick with whoever is playing best and make a run for the win. If the score is not close (due to the HS DC that can't make adjustments :) ), then let Vizza finish out the game and get a really good look at him.

I like your "quarterback rotation" concept. So far, I've only watched a small part of UNT football in person, at SMU; perhaps for that reason, I haven't decided whether Meager or Vizza is best. But, since the Sun Belt School schools are really playing for the conference championship and a chance for the New Orleans Bowl, I must agree that the Arkansas game could be viewed as an opportunity to evaluate talent. I do think Dodge has the background, having lived through a quarterback controversy at UT, to finesse the situation. I like what the TCU coach said last week, to the effect that "We don't have a quarterback controversy, we have two quarterbacks".

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Damn, this whole QB controversy sounds eerily similar to our QB problems and rotations last year. I sure hope someone steps up and takes the QB job for good this season.

Edited by chrisfisher
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The idea of a QB rotation is HORRIBLE. I can't believe people actually agree with that. It doesn't work and please don't cite Chris Leak and Tim Teabow.

Let me add that I believe Vizza is our starter no later than game 6 of the season.

I was only suggesting the rotation for the first half against Arkansas. Since this is non-conf and nobody is counting on a win, let's use it like a pre-season game and reevaluate the QBs.

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The idea of a QB rotation is HORRIBLE. I can't believe people actually agree with that. It doesn't work and please don't cite Chris Leak and Tim Teabow.

Let me add that I believe Vizza is our starter no later than game 6 of the season.

As much as I dont want to question TD, you are right on the money here SouthBend. A QB rotation rarely works, and hasnt here for the obvious reasons? The fact is the OL has enough trouble protecting a guy who has a predictable release and playing style. They know if he has a tendancy to roll right, or hang on to the ball for an extra second, etc... Now we are asking an OL that is finally starting to know Danny Meager to, once again, play two types of protections and know when to do things different for each QB? Other than a few minutes at OU, they dont know that about Vizza? It takes game time. Now, every few series or so, a different QB comes in and the linemen dont know what he is going to do? Yes, there is practice... but it takes game experience for a QB and OL to gel. We have all already seen that? (Meager...Woody...Phillips...????) In some games last year ALL THREE played? It just does not work.

I will, as always, back whoever is in there at QB. We have kept that promise to this team... but please TD, pick ONE GUY. If you think Vizza is the guy (which most of us agree needs to be the case now) then play him as the starter. You gave Meager his chance and he didnt have to look over his shoulder. Give Vizza the same chance to be THE GUY and not look over his shoulder. We are 0 and freakin 3, and have nothing to lose by making a change now? Most of us knew this would be a true rebuilding year anyway... Name your starter and stick with him. No rotations Coach...please, we have already been through that. Just give Vizza the knod if that's who fits this team better right now, and we'll be there for him, even if he struggles... WE WILL BE THERE. If Vizza finishes the season and isnt working out either, next year play a freshman and let's see how he does? (oh yeah, I found a way to work Riley in...)

Jeesh????...apologies for the rant. No, I'm no expert...but I have seen the same thing you guys have. Common sense has to prevail?

GMG!!!

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I don't see it as a rotation, but rather a change when things need a different look or get stalled. Meager was getting banged around pretty good in the second half against FAU and probably could have used a break for a series or two to regroup. Besides, let's see what the new kid has got again! :D

Edited by NT80
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I don't see it as a rotation, but rather a change when things need a different look or get stalled. Meager was getting banged around pretty good in the second half against FAU and probably could have used a break for a series or two to regroup. Besides, let's see what the new kid has got again! :D

Exactly! Anyway, how did the suggestion of rotating QBs in the first half against Arkansas get interpreted as a QB rotation for the rest of the season?

Here is what I hope. Since this is a non-conf game that we're not expected to win, we could use this as an opportunity to reevaluate the QB position against some of the best defensive talent they will see. Treat it almost like a scrimmage. Rotate Meager and Vizza right from the start. If the score is close at halftime, then stick with whoever is playing best and make a run for the win. If the score is not close (due to the HS DC that can't make adjustments ), then let Vizza finish out the game and get a really good look at him.

Edited by SLCoutsider
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Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux seem to be doing pretty good at LSU. I'm not a fan of the QB rotation, but I'm for whatever gets the NT offense in gear.

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