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McNulty seizing starting QB spot with quiet confidence

McNulty seizing starting QB spot with quiet confidence

August 27
02:37 2015

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer

@ReeceTapout15

Minutes after a morning practice where the offense scored on the final play, head coach Dan McCarney gathered his team in the middle of the field. It was not an easy task for McCarney, as many players were jumping and yelling: the offense out of excitement, the defense out of anger and frustration.

When he finally did manage to rally the troops, McCarney began a speech about effort and hard work. The expletive-laced message had one volume: loud. By the time it was over, the entire team was hyped as they hit the showers.

Not every leader on the Mean Green football team is outspoken, though. Senior starting quarterback Andrew McNulty prefers to let his actions and play speak for themselves. Instead of boasting, he proves it with his play on the field, an ideal that offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Canales confirmed.

“There’s a quiet competitiveness about him,” Canales said. “It isn’t loud or boisterous. There isn’t any swag. It’s just a quiet confidence that says ‘I’m the guy. I’m the leader and I’m going to take this team where it needs to be.”

McNulty was given the starting job in the spring, months removed from a season that saw the Mean Green finish last in nearly every offensive category in Conference USA.

But McNulty said last season’s struggles will have no bearing on his performance this year.

“I’m very confident in my abilities, and that is the approach I have taken since the day I got here,” McNulty said. “I do my best to put last season and those miscues out of my head, and for [McCarney] to give me a vote of confidence at [media day], that’s huge. It just means he believes in me and so do the rest of the guys.”

Growing up in Iowa City, Iowa, McNulty found his way to Denton back in 2011. After playing both offense and defense in high school, McNulty said he did not have many offers going into college. Many of the offers he did receive were actually on the defensive side of the ball.

It was not until after talking to McCarney, an Iowa City native himself, that McNulty decided to come to North Texas.

“When [McCarney] was the head coach at Iowa State, we would go to the games,” McNulty said. “My dad and him actually both played football together at Iowa, so there was a little background there. I eventually got in contact with him and I took a visit to North Texas, fell in love with the place and they offered me a scholarship.”

McNulty August 24, 2015 Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

Andrew McNulty poses inside Apogee Stadium on August 24, 2015. Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

However, things did not always come easy for McNulty. After a 2014 season where he started the final six games of the season and appeared in four others, the quarterback persevered through a rough start. Canales said the biggest adjustment McNulty has made entering the 2015 campaign is realizing and reaching his true potential.

“He comes in here every day with the mentality of ‘This is my job, and I don’t care who you are. You could be John Elway or Tom Brady, but you are not taking this job from me,’” Canales said. “He has assumed a leadership role and become the quarterback we expected him to be when we signed him.”

McNulty has matched his confidence with his performance throughout fall camp. McCarney said the senior has not committed a turnover yet, which could bode well considering the coaching staff’s eagerness to open up the passing attack for bigger plays down the field.

“It’s huge. Andrew’s maturity and decision making and the way he has distributed the ball have impressed me, personally,” McCarney said “Most importantly, he is making plays and taking care of the football. He hasn’t committed a turnover in nine practices. That is what you are looking for in a quarterback. He is leading our offense in the right direction and he has the respect and trust of his teammates.”

At times last season there would be a disconnect between quarterbacks and wide receivers due to the different rhythms of the three different quarterbacks. McNulty said that is something he has looked to remedy this summer.

“After training sessions we would get guys out here and just throw the ball, run routes,” McNulty said. “It has definitely helped with chemistry and timing. It’s just good to get the extra work in and it was beneficial because we got so many guys out here.”

The extra practice time has paid dividends, as McNulty said his head coach has been singing the offense’s praises throughout camp.

Now, he is hoping to show the fans the group’s progress come opening day on Sept. 12 at Southern Methodist University.

“Coach Mac said it this week that he thinks we’re an entire step ahead of where we ended the season,” McNulty said. “It’s going to be exciting to see what we’re capable of.”

Featured Image: Andrew McNulty poses inside Apogee Stadium on August 24, 2015. Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

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