North Texas Daily

Roundtable: Football season wrap-up

Roundtable: Football season wrap-up

The football team stands at the entrance to Apogee Stadium before a game against Western Kentucky. Dylan Nadwodny

Roundtable: Football season wrap-up
December 04
09:10 2015

Editor’s Note: The North Texas Daily sports staff reviews the 2015 football season. The Mean Green finished the year 1-11, with its only win coming against the University of Texas at San Antonio on Oct. 31. North Texas lost at least ten games for the fourth time in the last 10 years.

Our staff: Reece Waddell (RW), Torie Mosley (TM), Alex Lessard (AL), Brady Keane (BK), Clay Massey (CM)

1) If you could sum up the season in one word, what word would it be?

RW: Train-wreck. It was one of those things that was just awful to look at, but you couldn’t really help but watch. Nothing went right for this team. And what’s even more concerning is they do not seem to be trending in the right direction. There are issues from top to bottom. From coaches to players, everyone must be held accountable. Changes are coming, hopefully.

TM: Embarrassing. Giving up more than 40 points a game all season is almost unbelievable on paper. Being the last ranked team in the nation also puts a stamp on possibly the worst season of all time. It literally doesn’t get any worse than that.

AL: Excruciating. If the Mean Green faithful thought they had endured some of the most painful years in school history before, this year likely proved them wrong. Although coach Canales gave the team a revitalized energy, this season as a whole was an abomination. If every single player refused to talk to the media, no one would have blamed them.

BK: R.I.P. North Texas just needs to bury anything to do with this season and never speak of it ever again. There weren’t many positives at all, and I don’t think there is much to look forward to in the future unless a new coach can come in and make a huge, immediate impact in the off-season.

CM: Why. That’s my word. Just, “why?” Why did it all go so wrong for North Texas football? Why did it have to be this way? Who did the football program upset so much that they hired a witch doctor to make sure this season as poorly as possible?

Senior quarterback Andrew McNulty avoids a tackle during a game against Rice. Matthew Brown | Senior Staff Photographer

Senior quarterback Andrew McNulty avoids a tackle during a game against Rice. Matthew Brown | Senior Staff Photographer

2) What’s the biggest positive you took out of the season?

RW: The biggest positive I took out of the season was that it finally ended last week. I can now spend my Saturday’s doing something else, like recalculating the equilibrium of the Earth. Honestly the only positive North Texas can take out of this season is the emergence of Jeffrey Wilson. He was the lone bright spot, leading the team in rushing and averaging 5.4 yards per carry as a sophomore.

TM: The fact that coach Canales stayed so positive throughout the struggling season is amazing and almost inspiring. He was at many basketball games and other athletic events, and he truly kept the team level-headed through the worst times.

AL: This team finally gave the fans what they asked for at quarterback. It might not have worked out if Dajon Williams played the entire 2014 campaign, but putting all its eggs in the DaMarcus Smith basket once Canales took over at least gave the team an idea of what they had moving forward. It didn’t work out, but at least the future coaching staff will know that recruiting a new signal caller is a top priority.

BK: As dismal as the defense was for the entirety of the season, defensive coordinator Chris Cosh and his players actually looked like they buckled down late in the season. The defense gave up an average of 32 points in the final six games, which appears bad. But it was an improvement on the 50 points per game the defense allowed through the first six fames

CM: The play of DaMarcus Smith is a pretty nice positive moving forward. His initial coming-out party against Western Kentucky University showcased a lot of play-making prowess. But he also showed he lacks accuracy. If Smith can work on holding onto the football, since he struggled with that for much of the season, he could be looking at a day-one starting spot next year and could make an even bigger difference for the Mean Green.

Sophomore running back Jeffery Wilson (26) runs the ball out of bounds late in the game. Wilson had 135 yards on 22 carries against UTSA on Saturday, October 31, 2015. Colin Mitchell | Intern Photographer

Sophomore running back Jeffery Wilson (26) runs the ball out of bounds late in the game. Wilson had 135 yards on 22 carries against UTSA. Colin Mitchell | Intern Photographer

3) What was the most disconcerting thing about this football season?

RW: Where do I even begin? Was it Carlos Harris’ ejection in the waning moments against UTEP that cost his team the game? Was it the worst loss in college football history to an FCS team on homecoming, which led to the firing of former head coach Dan McCarney? Or was it the way many players on the team took to Twitter and got into arguments with an already disgruntled fan base? I’ll let you decide.

TM: Other than the poor defense, the lack of play under center hurt North Texas a lot. The bad quarterback play kept the Mean Green predictable for opposing defenses.

AL: The worst of the Mean Green’s problems was that the season still didn’t get better after the Dan McCarney firing. It was clear the team wasn’t prepared or focused during the homecoming loss, but not seeing improved results after holding the team accountable stripped all hope of salvaging a lost season. Coaches can blame it on a difficult schedule all they want, but excuses don’t make up for a 1-11 record.

BK: I think you have to look at how the season ended. It was bad enough for the team to lose to UTEP and finish 1-11, but for arguably the best player on the team, Carlos Harris, to seemingly celebrate being ejected while ruining a potential game winning drive was just embarrassing. It really put the icing on the cake for the season.

CM: The fact Carlos Harris threw up the peace sign after getting ejected from his final game in a North Texas uniform is a little disconcerting. Was it sarcastic? Maybe. Did it look good? No. Did the act get caught by the Fox Sports Southwest cameras? You bet.

Interim head coach Mike Canales celebrates the first Mean Green win of the season. Ryan Vance | Senior Staff Photographer

Interim head coach Mike Canales celebrates the first Mean Green win of the season. Ryan Vance | Senior Staff Photographer

 4) What was your favorite moment of the season?

RW: Probably either the halftime cookies in the media room or the barbecue they served to the press. Both made the games a little more bearable.

TM: My favorite moment was seeing the hit that got Carlos Harris Jr. ejected from the last game of the season on a blindside hit. Not that I agree with making a blindside hit, but it truly showed the frustration the entire team, coaching staff and Mean Green fans felt all season long.

AL: On a list of the best moments of the season, the touchdown pass from Carlos Harris to Chris Loving against Iowa has to be up there. As it turned out, scheduling a game with the Hawkeyes this season was a really bad decision, as they are just one win away from a spot in the College Football Playoff. But when Harris looks back on a storied North Texas career, he’ll always have that play to hold on to.

BK: The most exciting moment of the season I think was the first half of the Western Kentucky game. For a little while, it looked like North Texas had an offensive attack that would be able to keep the game interesting for four quarters. There was also the Hail Mary from DaMarcus Smith to Darvin Kidsy touchdown right before halftime in that game.

CM: My favorite moment by far came after the UTSA win. It felt like the Rose Bowl, with players coming to the student section to celebrate and go nuts. Interim head coach Mike Canales stood on a bench near the fans with his players waving a towel and also went nuts. The crowd went wild. He was then lifted by his players as they celebrated. The only thing missing was a red Gatorade bath to ruin Canales’ white visor. I don’t think I’ll ever laugh that hard again.

Featured Image: The football team stands at the entrance to Apogee Stadium before a game against Western Kentucky. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

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