North Texas Daily

Mean Green unveil new jerseys, talk expectations at football media day

Mean Green unveil new jerseys, talk expectations at football media day

Running back Jeffrey Wilson discusses the team's offensive progressive at media day Monday Aug. 21 at Apogee Stadium.

Mean Green unveil new jerseys, talk expectations at football media day
August 21
14:59 2017

On the same morning as the unveiling of new Nike uniforms and just two days removed from the team’s third scrimmage of the fall, North Texas players’ and coaches’ excitement for opening night against Lamar exuded from their bodies.

The team is coming off an impressive turnaround that concluded with a 5-8 record and an appearance in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, and the Mean Green have added new faces both in the starting lineups and on the coaching staff heading into the new year.

But as the program enters its second season under head coach Seth Littrell, consistency seems to be the biggest improvement from last fall.

“We’re becoming more consistent and some of that is our leadership,” Littrell said. “We’re still not where we want to be, but it’s a good start and we just have to keep getting a day and a week better.”

As the fall has progressed, different position groups have made their presence known on the practice field – from the quarterbacks in week one, to the secondary in week two and the backfield last weekend.

Senior running back Jeffery Wilson ran for 971 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in 11 games and aims to take another step forward this season. With his explosiveness back after being sidelined with injuries, he expressed optimism with where the team is at this point.

“I feel like we’re in a good spot,” Wilson said. “We still have a lot of improvement to do, a lot of stuff to clean up, especially offensively.”

North Texas coach Seth Littrell discusses the team’s quarterback situation at media day Monday Aug. 21 at Apogee Stadium. Colin Mitchell

While Wilson and the rest of the backfield have looked strong, the team still officially has somewhat of a question mark at quarterback. Littrell has yet to name a starter, but the expectation is sophomore Mason Fine will lead the team Sept. 2 after he started nine games as a true freshman.

The offense has shown in scrimmages they are most likely going to rely on the run game far more than the air attack again this season. Regardless, the decision to solidify the starting quarterback is a big one and Littrell said the decision will be made sooner rather than later.

“We’re going to announce that later this week,” Littrell said. “As of right now I think both [Fine and Quinn Shanbour] have done some really good things, both have their strengths and weaknesses. We have a pretty good idea [of the starter].”

Defensively, the team is looking to build upon what was an improved season last year after allowing 32.6 points per game, which was nearly nine points less than in the 2015 season.

Senior safety Kishawn McClain, who has led the team in tackles over the past two seasons, will again be a linchpin for the defense. McClain earned preseason All-Conference USA honors along with cornerback Nate Brooks.

With both returning in the secondary, a defense that only gave up 200 passing yards a game last year aims to be even more daunting for opposing quarterbacks.

“It’s great energy, everyone’s talking a lot more, everyone knows their assignments,” McClain said. “So we’re just trying to keep the energy there and we can just play with the excitement and ball out.”

As much as the players loved discussing X’s and O’s and their expectations for the year at media day, their eyes lit up most when they had the chance to talk about the team’s new uniforms.

Offensive lineman Jordan Murray was almost at a loss for words when explaining why he likes the new Nike look so much, and McClain was just as excited.

“It’s crazy, we’ve come a long way,” McClain said with a laugh. “Everybody likes the feel, everybody likes the graphics. It’s amazing.”

The new jerseys are just the latest wave of excitement surrounding the team as plenty of fans, players and onlookers have set expectations high for this season. But even after one of the most dramatic turnarounds in college football in his first season, Littrell has never been one to settle.

“Obviously, we set the bar high, we have high standards,” Littrell said. “But we still haven’t accomplished the mission we set last year. I think we have a chip on our shoulder to come out strong this season and accomplish the mission, win our bowl game.”

Featured Image: North Texas senior running back Jeffery Wilson talks to reporters during Media Day. Colin Mitchell

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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