North Texas Daily

Quick Hits: Mike Canales Coach’s Show – Episode 6

Quick Hits: Mike Canales Coach’s Show – Episode 6

Quick Hits: Mike Canales Coach’s Show – Episode 6
October 19
23:07 2015

Alex Lessard | Staff Writer

@alexlikechexmix

Coming off a one-week hiatus, the weekly coach’s show returned to Rudy’s BBQ Monday night in Denton with a new face taking the questions: interim head coach Mike Canales. If you weren’t able to stop by or listen in, here are some of the main points covered heading into Saturday’s matchup at Marshall University.

The new quarterback

The biggest change made by Canales right out of the gate was at the quarterback position, where junior quarterback DaMarcus Smith made his season debut. Smith’s four touchdown passes led the North Texas offense to its highest point total of the season with 28 against Western Kentucky University last Thursday.

“Once he gets in the flow of the game and the more and more he sees, he’ll get better,” Canales said. “We’re going to try to play to his strengths and use him as a definite weapon. It’s nice to have that weapon, the ability to run and throw as well.”

Smith’s dual-threat ability helped him become the first North Texas quarterback to throw for 200 yards and rush for 100 in the same game.

“He’s very hard on himself, and we have to be at that position,” Canales said. “We saw some very promising things, and that’s something he’ll be doing quite often over here in the next six weeks.”

Even with a seemingly large confidence in Smith as the permanent starter going forward, Canales is making sure to keep senior Andrew McNulty, junior Josh Greer and the rest of the quarterbacks sharp in the film room.

“There’s not one [quarterback] being left out, whether he’s redshirted or not,” Canales said. “My first year here, I went through four quarterbacks. Everyone has to be ready.”

Taking on a new role

During a rare Saturday with no Mean Green football to be played, Canales spoke with former head coach Dan McCarney on the phone for nearly half an hour, exchanging best wishes and catching up on how they’ve handled the situation.

“I told him how much we loved him and missed him,” Canales said. “He told me to do him proud, try to finish this thing strong and get us some wins. He was so proud of the way these kids played Thursday night.”

The experience Canales got from taking over for Todd Dodge with five games remaining in 2010 has made the transition from offensive coordinator to interim head coach a familiar one. From this point on, Canales plans to instill a new sense of positivity in order to help the team play loose and have fun.

“I want a lot of enthusiasm and energy,” Canales said. “If I can give them that and they can feel that, it’ll become contagious.”

Preparing for Marshall

North Texas (0-6) will face a tough challenge on Saturday against Marshall (6-1), the owners of the 19th ranked scoring defense in the nation. Marshall gives up just 17.4 points per game this season, but Canales believes Smith will give them a look they have yet to see so far.

“A quarterback that’s more of a drop back, stay in the pocket type, [Marshall] lives for that,” Canales said. “It’s how they can handle a quarterback that’s able to move and create a dynamic play with his feet.”

As for the Mean Green defense, tackling and swarming to the ball has been the biggest focus in practice this week, according to Canales. He is stressing the importance of not fearing mistakes and having the confidence to make a game-changing play every snap.

“If our kids keep coming in and watching film and doing the things they’re supposed to, the better recognition that happens, they ought to be able to call out what play is coming,” Canales said.

Even though North Texas comes in as big underdogs against another top team out of the East Division for the second straight week, Canales has the confidence that a fresh Mean Green squad coming off a long week can pull off the upset.

“We’re going to go there, we’re going to show up, and we’re going to play to win. That’s the way I want us to practice this week in preparation for it,” Canales said. “Our players understand what’s at stake. Why not do it? Why not us?”

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