North Texas Daily

Mean Green football to open season at Texas

Mean Green football to open season at Texas

Mean Green football to open season at Texas
August 28
01:27 2014

Akshay Mirchandani / Sports Editor

The last time the Mean Green football team took the field for an actual game was on New Year’s Day. It was a historic day for the team as they hoisted up the Heart of Dallas Bowl trophy after their 36-14 victory over the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Almost nine months later, the team is ready to take the field to try and top its most successful season in program history. And they will start it all off with a match up against the University of Texas Longhorns at Darrell K. Royal Stadium on Saturday.

“I know what Texas has on the field. I know what they have in their coaching staff.” head coach Dan McCarney said. “I know exactly what team is going to come out there Saturday night. It’ll be a real tough, physical and talented football team that we have to get ready for to play.”

The Mean Green will be without some of the familiar faces from last year. Defensive stalwarts Zach Orr and Marcus Trice graduated, along with wide receiver Brelan Chancellor and quarterback Derek Thompson, leaving this team relatively young.

Sophomore quarterback Josh Greer has been named the starter for Saturday’s game while other younger players will fill the voids at other positions.

“I think we’ve prepared for it like any other game,” senior linebacker Derek Akunne said. “We know what we have to do. We have to play sound and do what we do for every game.”

This not only is a big game for the Mean Green, but for the Longhorns as well. The game will mark Charlie Strong’s debut as Texas’ head coach after the end of the Mack Brown era. McCarney, Strong and Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford coached together in 2008 as part of the University of Florida team that won the National Championship under Urban Meyer.

“Charlie, Vance and I were all together on that defensive staff at Florida,” McCarney said. “When you win a national championship and take a team like Oklahoma who averaged 58 points a game and hold them to 14, don’t think we didn’t share something special together. So I have tremendous respect for that program.”

Texas junior quarterback David Ash will return after missing much of last season with a concussion. The Longhorns will also have running back Johnathan Gray back after he missed the end of last season with a torn Achilles tendon. However, Strong did dismiss five players and suspend three more in August for various infractions and violations. Despite this, UNT is still expecting a tough match up on Saturday.

“You can name the handful of schools that have the best of everything,” McCarney said. “Resources, tradition, money, players, it goes on and on and on. They’ve got all those things.”

The last time the Mean Green played a big time opponent such as Texas was last season when they traveled to play the University of Georgia Bulldogs. That game was tied at 21-21 at halftime, until Georgia pulled away to win 45-21. Like last year, the Mean Green aren’t intimidated by a team that is more reputable nationally.

“They play football just like we do,” junior defensive back Zac Whitfield said. “We played Georgia last year. We competed with Georgia and we’ll compete with Texas.”

The game will kickoff at 7 p.m. and will be aired on the Longhorn Network

Featured Image: The Mean Green football team stretches during practice on Friday at the fields near Victory Hall. UNT is gearing up for its season opener against the University of Texas at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Austin. Photo by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

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