North Texas Daily

Interim head football coach Mike Canales meets the media

Interim head football coach Mike Canales meets the media

Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Interim head football coach Mike Canales meets the media
October 12
14:38 2015

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer


Newly appointed interim head coach Mike Canales addressed the media as head coach for the first time on Monday morning, just 36 hours removed from a crushing 66-7 loss to Portland State University that resulted in former head coach Dan McCarney being relieved of his duties.

Canales discussed several issues throughout his nearly 30-minute press conference, beginning with the current state of North Texas football.

“It’s unfortunate that we are in this situation, without question,” Canales said. “But it is what it is. I am confident our kids and our coaching staff will respond and battle through it.”

This will be Canales’ second time as interim head coach of the Mean Green, his first stint coming in the middle of the 2010 season when athletic director Rick Villarreal fired then head coach Todd Dodge after a 1-6 start.

“What’s different now? Well, back then we were 1-6. We had won a game. Right now we’re 0-5,” Canales said. “What’s the difference? One of my best friends is no longer the head coach.”

Canales’ first order of business was meeting with the staff early Sunday morning after learning of Villarreal’s decision to name him interim head coach.

He said he told them the same thing he told his players: that he wants to make the game fun, open it up and take some chances.

“What do we have to lose?” Canales said. “I mean, we don’t. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We’re going to cut it loose, have fun and go out there and try to win some games.”

Canales said the team has already begun preparation for its game against Western Kentucky University on Thursday and will look to shake things up, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

Through five games, the Mean Green rank last in Conference USA in total offense. North Texas failed to crack 100 yards of total offense against Portland State until deep in the fourth quarter when DaMarcus Smith became the third quarterback to play in the game for the Mean Green.

Although Canales did not directly name Smith the starter for Thursday night, he hinted at the notion multiple times by complimenting his play in the fourth quarter vs. PSU, lauding his arm strength, detailing their meetings about how to attack WKU, and emphasizing the importance of his development over the next seven games.

“I’m not going to comment on that because I don’t want to give Western Kentucky an advantage in terms of preparation,” Canales said. “But I will say we’re going to take some chances, and we’re going to make it fun again. And I think everyone will be pleased on Thursday with who ends up starting at quarterback.”

North Texas is about to enter a brutal stretch of its schedule where it will play the top two teams in C-USA in WKU and Marshall University. The Mean Green will also take on the University of Tennessee on the road in Knoxville on Nov. 14, a daunting task especially after the Volunteers knocked off the No. 18 University of Georgia last Saturday.

Nonetheless, Canales said his team is resilient and eager to prove a lot of its critics wrong.

“I think we have kids that want to win and truly believe we can win,” he said. “They want to prove some people wrong that think the season is over, that are saying ‘When does basketball season start?’ Our kids are prideful, and they will bounce back. They want to prove they can play football.”

Featured Image: Interim Head Coach Mike Canales hinted several times in Monday’s press conference that starting quarterback Andrew McNulty (5) could be replaced by Demarcus Smith (10) in this week’s game against Western Kentucky. Matthew Brown | Senior Staff Photographer

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