North Texas Daily

#SoarWithTheMeanGreen? Not so fast

#SoarWithTheMeanGreen? Not so fast

#SoarWithTheMeanGreen? Not so fast
January 28
03:52 2016

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer


The Seth Littrell era at North Texas is in full swing after arguably the most embarrassing football season in recent memory. The Mean Green finished a dismal 1-11, which tied for the worst record in school history.

So where does that leave North Texas? Until the Littrell hiring in December, it left the program with a coaching staff in total disarray, which put North Texas behind the eight ball in terms of recruiting. Heck, Littrell just finished hiring his offensive staff last week.

However, that’s not to say he hasn’t made effective moves in his short tenure so far.

Since being hired, Littrell brought on former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell to serve as the offensive coordinator – the air raid disciple of Mike Leach who led the Red Raiders to a stunning upset of the No. 1 ranked Texas Longhorns in 2008. He’s the same quarterback who will now call plays for a previously anemic North Texas offense.

Perhaps more notably, Littrell also acquired two highly touted transfers in two-time national champion quarterback Alec Morris and defensive tackle Bryce English.

These moves are a good start, but there is still a long way to go. Make no mistake about it – the turnaround at North Texas will not be easy.

It’s going to take time, finesse and probably a bit of luck.

If you watched the Mean Green at all last season, and my condolences if you did, you witnessed the quarterback carousel that took place between Andrew McNulty and DaMarcus Smith. Morris should solve that for the time being by bringing poise to the position.

But that doesn’t solve all their offensive woes. In 2015, they had little to no experience on defense and were abysmal at wide receiver, with the exception of now-graduated Carlos Harris.

No, I take that back. He was disappointing too, in his own, special way. Look no further than his targeting ejection, which he celebrated on social media, on North Texas’ final drive against UTEP.

But these issues go farther back than last year. Since 2005, North Texas has had just one winning season, and it’s no coincidence. The school hasn’t pieced it together on the recruiting trail for a variety of reasons, including playing in run-down Fouts Field until 2011. But with a state-of-the-art stadium in plain view off a prominent area interstate, that excuse no longer holds.

Littrell seems poised to change that narrative. The former UNC offensive coordinator is bringing a spread offense that was the blueprint for the No. 16 offense in the nation last season. In the past, the Mean Green offense was pro-style, especially under Dan McCarney, which does not appeal to most top recruits in Texas, who are used to a high-flying spread system.

Now, high schoolers will get the chance to come play for a program that perceivably has more fun by spreading the field with five wide receivers and prioritizing the passing game. Several high school and junior college players who have already committed to North Texas are all preaching the same message – “we love Coach Littrell, cannot wait to play for him.” They are determined to never have a season like the one North Texas had in 2015.

It’s easy to see why the recruits like him. In the short time he has been here, Littrell has already rebranded the team on social media. See #SoarWithTheMeanGreen. He has even created a Twitter page, #UNTouchable, which has gained more than 1,200 followers in less than a one-month span. And while that may seem like a drop in the bucket, consider the day and age.

Social media is extremely important to people, especially those college age or younger. I know I have spent many sleepless nights browsing the web on my phone or tablet, which is exactly what many potential recruits are doing on the days leading up to national signing day next Wednesday.

And while these are all positive steps to righting the Mean Green ship, I’m still hesitant.

No matter how excellent a coach is, that does not always create talent on the field. Talent wins football games, and victories have not been synonymous with North Texas the past 10 years.

Littrell is a good coach, and maybe even a great one. But even good coaches have had trouble winning at North Texas.

Only time will tell if they turn into wins on the football field. The Mean Green and its new head coach are trending in the right direction, but are nowhere close to being back yet.

Featured Image: Seth Littrell dances to, “Fly Like An Eagle,” during the meet and greet with students shortly after his hire. Evan McAlister | Staff Writer

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