North Texas Daily

Analysis: Observations from Mean Green opener

Analysis: Observations from Mean Green opener

Analysis: Observations from Mean Green opener
August 31
00:05 2014

Akshay Mirchandani / Sports Editor

The Mean Green football team kicked their season off on a low note  losing 38-7 to the University of Texas at Darrell K. Royal Stadium on Saturday night. It’s an understatement to say this is not how the team envisioned starting their season off, but there were some positives hidden in the defeat. Here are five observations I took from UNT’s opener:

1. Quarterback is still a work in progress: Sophomore Josh Greer was named the team’s starting quarterback on Monday and struggled mightily in his debut. Greer went 2 of 11 for eight yards and threw two interceptions in his first ever start. Greer was replaced by junior quarterback Andrew McNulty in the second quarter, but he did even less, going 1 of 6 with two interception for the game. There may have been some nerves from both quarterbacks playing under the lights of Darrell K. Royal Stadium in front of 93,201 fans, but it’s still troubling when two quarterbacks combine to go 3 of 17 for 15 yards and four interceptions. I think both players, especially Greer, will continue to grow and improve. Perhaps it’s possible that the team could reopen the quarterback competition, but Greer will probably be the starter against SMU. The key for the team, and the fans, is to stay patient with both. There are obviously going to be growing pains, and it didn’t help that they were sacked a combined four times.

2. Identity of the team is still running the ball: It was glaringly obvious that the offense struggled and has many improvements to make. The identity of the offense is still the same as last season: a power rushing team. The Mean Green ran the ball 43 times against the Texas defense, but only mustered 79 yards. That attack should be a lot more successful later this season against Conference USA competition and the other non-conference opponents. That style got the Mean Green to the Heart of Dallas Bowl last year and there’s no reason to abandon it now.

3. This defense is very good: Though the final score may not indicate it, the Mean Green defense played a very nice game. UNT was only down 7-0 at the end of the first quarter thanks to the play of the defense, which played tough and physical. Being on the field for 32:42 and trying to stop the likes of Texas running backs Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown wore them out over time, but, judging by tonight, this is a defense that could be near the top of Conference USA.

4. They showed heart: Many teams would have thrown in the towel after being down 21-0 at halftime on the road against an opponent that has clearly been the better team. But not the Mean Green. The team, particularly the defense, showed a lot of heart and kept fighting even when they were being shut out. Dan McCarney won’t let his teams stop fighting and that showed tonight. If there’s one thing to say about this team, it’s that they don’t quit.

5. They’ll get better: It’s hard to even fathom how the Mean Green offense can get any worse than this outing. There really is nowhere to go but up, specifically on offense. There are going to be times when this team is going to be frustrating because of the inexperience, but I think UNT will look a lot different by the time conference play starts and will still be competitive in C-USA. Until then, it’s all about being patient.

Feature Photo: Senior running back Reggie Pegram carries the ball past the line of scrimmage during the first half against the University of Texas in on Saturday in Austin. Photo by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

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