North Texas Daily

Five observations from 2018 spring football game

Five observations from 2018 spring football game

March 24
15:06 2018

Life without Wilson

Everyone knew redshirt sophomore running back Nic Smith would be cast as the primary back heading into this spring. He did not get many snaps on Saturday, finishing with 13 yards on two carries. His fellow backs, meanwhile, combined for 3.98 yards per carry and were contained for the majority of the game.

Losing Jeffery Wilson obviously changes the complexion of the offense, but the three backs in Smith and sophomores DeAndre Torrey and Evan Johnson looked able to provide the necessary depth for this offense in the backfield even if they are missing the home run hitting of Wilson.

Defense closing the gap

After getting lit up on three of the first four drives of the game for huge touchdowns, the defense settled in and shut down the offense, not allowing a score for eight straight possessions. Every quarterback had a shot at them in those possessions, but the ability of sophomore safety Tyreke Davis along with the seasoned defensive line of juniors LaDarius Hamilton and Ulaiasi Tauaalo and senior Roderick Young made for a lengthy stand.

Last season the defense was the talking point when it came to deficiencies of that team, this could be the start of closing the gap for defensive coordinator Troy Reffett and company.

Battle for backup QB spot

Junior quarterback Mason Fine looked sharp, as expected, throwing for 253 yards on 17-of-27 attempts and two touchdowns.

The battle for the backup position, though, is much more intriguing. Redshirt freshman Cade Pearson has shown to be just as capable as redshirt Quinn Shanbour who had the backup duties last season. Meanwhile, freshman Kason Martin looks like a player who will redshirt this season, but has the frame to develop.

Pearson finished with 73 yards on 7-of-10 passing for no touchdowns while Shanbour completed four of his 10 passes for 69 yards and one touchdown.

Kicking struggles

As a team, the Mean Green went 1-of-3 on field goals for the day, missing a 36-yard attempt and 42-yard attempt before graduate senior Cole Hedlund connected on a 42-yard try.

On extra points, the team went 3-of-4 which is already a substantial difference from the last four seasons where Trevor Moore was literally automatic.

Littrell said the kicking game is still a work in progress, perhaps putting more pressure on the offense to get in the end zone if Hedlund waivers at all.

Uncomfortable in the heat

It was about 83 degrees and sunny for the duration of the spring game on Saturday. On the surface that might not sound too crazy, but coming off of early morning practices in probably 60 degree weather, it made a difference.

Both Guyton and Fine mentioned the heat and said it was something they were not used to which helped the defense settle in and take over. Fine even joked that they need more conditioning, which every team does at this point.

It will be hotter than this for most games in the early portion of the season, but don’t worry. There’s still over five months before the Mean Green’s first game of the 2018 season.

Featured image: North Texas sophomore Evan Johnson runs the ball in a spring scrimmage on Mar. 24 at Apogee Stadium. Sara Carpenter

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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