North Texas Daily

Mean Green football leaning on leadership council

Mean Green football leaning on leadership council

September 13
21:14 2017

Seven players have walked to midfield as captains in the moments leading up to the Mean Green’s two games this season. Jeffery Wilson, Kishawn McClain, Andy Flusche, Trevor Moore, Khairi Muhammad, Mason Fine and Elex Woodworth have each made the trek up to the pregame meeting with the referees, representing the rest of a roster that constantly looks their way for leadership and guidance.

Head coach Seth Littrell came over to North Texas with the idea of a “Leadership Council,” where each player has a commitment-level grade over the summer and the top ones form the council.

That’s why North Texas has a carousel of captains rotating each week.

“We have 14 guys on our leadership council, so weekly our captains may change,” Littrell said. “At the end of the year we’ll vote on captains, four to five guys that led our team this year, but it’ll change as we go through the season.”

Certain players have stood out throughout camp and in the early parts of the season, and players rave about their impact.

One of which is the leader of what’s been called the deepest unit on the team, the defensive line, in Flusche.

“He’s a constant voice,” sophomore defensive end Ladarius Hamilton said. “He’s going to hold you accountable to the standards set, and he’s not going to let you fall below that standard every day.”

Another defensive captain for the Mean Green is McClain, who’s starting at safety for his third consecutive season.

Fellow defensive backs, including Muhammad, attempt to absorb as much as they can from McClain as he undergoes his final season for North Texas. The mental side of the game is where McClain makes a real impact on his teammates.

“[He’s helped me] see formations, how the offense lines up,” Muhammad said. “He’s helped with my tackling a lot and told me what to look for, what to anticipate. So he’s been a big help in my freshman to sophomore transition.”

The leadership council is pivotal to having the needed voices in the locker room. There’s no questioning who the outspoken ones need to be, which appeals to the coaching staff.

“That’s something coach Littrell put together,” offensive coordinator Graham Harrell said. “He meets with [the council] and they speak on behalf of the team to coach Littrell.”

Wilson, like McClain, has played a big role in developing a younger star at his position in the offensive backfield. Freshman running back Nic Smith raves about his help and impact on the younger stable of rushers.

Harrell has also seen it from the Mean Green’s leading rusher over the past two seasons.

“I think Jeffery has a lot of credibility because of the success he’s had on the field,” Harrell said. “But he also works extremely hard. If we’re out here running sprints in the summer, he’s probably in the front, that’s just the way he works.“

Starting quarterback Mason Fine is the only player to have been a captain in both games so far this season. With his lead-by-example personality, Fine always seems to have his head in the right place despite how a practice or game is going.

“Mason’s not necessarily the vocal leader,” sophomore receiver Jalen Guyton said. “He’s the lead-by-example guy. He’s poised, he’s going to keep his head. He’s calm and does what he needs to do.”

The leaders on this team have shown Littrell and the entire coaching staff the value of having experienced players who are willing and excited to put in the work necessary for the team.

Compared to last season, Littrell knows how far this group has come leadership-wise. It’s a night and day difference. 

“[We have] guys who understand what it’s supposed to look like,” Littrell said. “We’ve got through the phase, culturally, of what it looks like to come to work every day and come to practice every day.”

Featured Image: Mean Green football team captains (left to right) senior Jeffery Wilson, sophomore Mason Fine, senior Kishawn McClain and senior Andy Flusche pose for a picture after practice. 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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