North Texas Daily

Quick hits: Five observations from North Texas vs. SMU

Quick hits: Five observations from North Texas vs. SMU

Quick hits: Five observations from North Texas vs. SMU
September 03
22:44 2016

1. A lot of firsts: Seth Littrell made his head coaching debut, senior quarterback Alec Morris threw his first collegiate incompletion, touchdown and interception, and the Mean Green picked up its first loss of the Littrell-era. Sophomore wide receiver Terian Goree looked as though he was Morris’ No. 1 target, catching eight passes for 64 yards. He was targeted on several other plays as well. Senior receiver Kenny Buyers, who made the jump to offense from defensive back this offseason, had no catches and was not a factor for the offense Saturday night.

2. Rejuvinated offense: Littrell promised to tee it high and let it fly, and he delivered. Gone are the days of runs out of the I formation. The North Texas offense, while far from perfect, had a nice mix of run and pass to keep SMU looking over its shoulders. Morris look comfortable running the hurry-up, but threw three interceptions.

3. Big plays a problem for defense: In the first half especially, the North Texas defense allowed huge plays downfield, namely 88- and 45-yard touchdown receptions that really swung momentum toward the Mustangs. The Mean Green had trouble staying at home and maintaining its lanes, which left gaping holes for SMU. This became a huge issue on play action passes when the Mustangs fooled the majority of the UNT defense and went over the top for huge gains.

4. Shaky offensive line: Way too many times, Morris was under pressure or on the ground. The lack of a clean pocket was not the only reason he threw three interceptions, but it certainly didn’t help matters. SMU sensed a weakness in the offensive line, and started stacking the box and dialing up blitzes, particularly on third down. Morris looked far more poised in the pocket than when scrambling.

5. QB Mason Fine: In a somewhat surprise move, Littrell opted to insert Fine into the game midway through the fourth quarter. This is a big deal, because it means Fine cannot be redshirted. He will now officially begin his four years of collegiate eligibility, and will not be allowed to gain an extra year. In his debut, Fine had his moments, and led the Mean Green to its only touchdown drive of the second half. After the game Littrell said he believes Fine can be a special player if he’s given the time and chance to develop. It was unclear whether Fine was played because of Morris’ outing, or if he was played for the experience because the game was out of hand.

Featured Image: Jeffrey Wilson, UNT running back junior, makes a dart for first down as Rodney Clemons, SMU defensive back freshman, makes the tackle to stop him. Ryan Vance

About Author

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell was the Editor-in-Chief of the North Texas Daily from May 2017 to December 2017. He previously served as the Sports Editor and Senior Sports Writer. Reece also worked at The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV.

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