North Texas Daily

Quick Hits: Mike Canales Coach’s Show – Episode 9

Quick Hits: Mike Canales Coach’s Show – Episode 9

North Texas interim head coach Mike Canales looks on with his team inside the red zone against Western Kentucky. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Quick Hits: Mike Canales Coach’s Show – Episode 9
November 09
21:50 2015

Alex Lessard | Staff Writer

@alexlikechexmix

Due to broadcast conflicts with basketball season starting this weekend, this week’s edition of the Mike Canales coach’s show was the final episode of the season Monday night at Rudy’s BBQ. For those that couldn’t listen in, here are some of the main points that were covered.

The struggles continue

The nightmare season for North Texas continued in Ruston, Lousiana on Saturday, where North Texas (1-8) fell to Louisiana Tech (7-3) 56-13. The loss marks the fifth time this season the Mean Green gave up 49 points or more.

“The last four weeks, we’ve had to play three of the four top teams in the conference. We knew it was going to be a challenge,” Canales said. “We wanted our kids to play with such a fierce, competitive spirit, and we did.”

Canales was without senior running back Antoine Jimmerson for the game, who decided not to travel with the team in protest of not receiving enough playing time in recent weeks.

“If you’re not 110 percent into helping us win a ball game, I’d rather not have you on the trip,” Canales said. “To me, one player is not more important than this team or this program.”

Junior quarterback DaMarcus Smith was inconsistent all game until throwing two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. Smith made an appearance in the middle segment of the show, going over how he fought through the death of his brother two weeks ago and how he’s grown since taking over as the starter.

“Each game is a learning experience for me, but at the same time, I use it as a power,” Smith said. “Instead of learning every day in practice, being able to learn in-game can boost that skill to try and get better every game.”

Preparing for Tennessee

The schedule is not getting any easier for North Texas. Canales will take his squad on the road again for a matchup against the University of Tennessee (5-4) on its homecoming weekend Saturday with the potential of seeing a crowd of over 100,000 screaming fans.

“If it’s loud, that’s a good thing,” Canales said. “That means we’re in the game, and that’s the way it should be.”

Even with the tough task ahead, Canales said he’s stressing energy and commitment heading into this week’s game and the final stretch of the season.

“It’s about the next three weeks, giving all we’ve got for each other,” Canales said. “We’re going to go up there and play. We’re not going to be intimidated by the environment.”

If North Texas wants to pull off the upset, stopping Tennessee’s return game could be vital. The Volunteers thrive off big plays from its special teams led by sophomore Evan Berry, who’s averaging a nation-leading 40.6 yards per kickoff return.

“We’re going to do some rugby punting, and hopefully we can kick it out of the back of the end zone for a touchback,” Canales said. “But at all costs, keep the ball away from these guys. They’re really special.”

Farewells

Near the end of the show, head soccer coach John Hedlund made an appearance to talk about the team’s incredible 19-win season, the most wins of any program in the nation. The senior-laden team will head to Lubbock, Texas to face Texas Tech University in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday at 7 p.m.

“With this particular team, I said ‘Ok. Don’t mess it up,’” Hedlund said. “Don’t over-coach. Let them play, find a system for them, and then they took over. With senior leaders like that, they can take it so far.”

Canales said the soccer team’s path to success is something that translates to all sports.

“When you have senior leaders that step up, and they take on that role and accept it, they control the locker room at any program,” Canales said. “We see it all over the country.”

Before concluding the show, Canales made sure to thank the loyal fans that came out every week despite an extremely rough season for the Mean Green.

“I just wanted to let you know how special you are to us and how special you are to me,” Canales said. “The University of North Texas will always be in my heart.”

Featured Image: File Photo Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

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