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2011 College Football Preview: North Texas Mean Green

2010 Record: (3-9, 3-5 in Sun Belt)

Head Coach: Dan McCarney (First Year at North Texas, 56-85 All-Time)

Last Bowl Game: 2004 Season New Orleans Bowl: lost to Southern Miss 31-10

2010 Pre-Season Preview Link


9/1: at FIU (2010 result: lost 34-10)

9/10: Houston

9/17: at Alabama (2009 result: lost 53-7)

9/24: Indiana

10/1: at Tulsa

10/8: FAU (2010 result: won 21-17)

10/15: at Louisiana (2010 result: lost 28-27)

10/22: Louisiana-Monroe (2010 result: lost 49-37)

10/29: at Arkansas State (2010 result: won 24-19)

11/12: at Troy (2010 result: lost 45-35)

11/19: Western Kentucky (2010 result: won 33-6)

12/3: Middle Tennessee (2010 result: won 23-17)

2010 Offensive Statistics:

Scoring: 23.9 ppg (5th in Sun Belt, 87th in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 202.17 yds/game (1st in Sun Belt, 19th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 173.1 yds/game (8th in Sun Belt, 96th in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 375.3 yds/game (4th in Sun Belt, 63rd in Nation)

2010 Defensive Statistics:

Scoring: 29.7 ppg (4th in Sun Belt, 82nd in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 184.92 yds/game (6th in Sun Belt, 91st in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 209.6 yds/game (5th in Sun Belt, 48th in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 394.5 yds/game (5th in Sun Belt, 77th in Nation)

2010 Misc Stats:

Turnover Margin: -0.25 per game (5th in Sun Belt, 73rd in Nation)

Penalties: 51.5 yds/game (3rd in Sun Belt, 61st in Nation)

Returning Starters:

Offense: 6

Defense: 6

Kicker/Punter: 2

Top Returning Statistical Leaders:

Passing: QB Chase Baine, Jr (26 of 53 for 257 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT)

Rushing: RB Lance Dunbar, Sr (274 for 1553, 5.6 ypc, 13 TD)

Receiving: WR Darius Carey, Jr (38 rec for 524 yds, 5 TD)

Tackles: LB Jeremy Phillips, Jr (69)

Sacks: DE Brandon McCoy, Jr  (3)

Interceptions: DB John Shorter, Sr; LB Phillips (2)

Still looking for their first winning season since 2004, the Mean Green found out quickly that 2010 would not be that season. Just seven games into the season they axed Head Coach Todd Dodge after starting out 1-6. If there is good news it's that North Texas went 2-3 in their final 5 including a win over Middle Tennessee and Dwight Dasher. Dan McCarney, who at one point actually took Iowa State to first place in the Big 12 North (and placed in the top two for two consecutive years), takes charge for the Mean Green this year. We caught up with Brett Vito of the Mean Green Blog of the Denton-Record Chronicle to find out his take on this years version of the Mean Green.

You predicted North Texas would go 4-8 in our preview last year and they came close at 3-9. What were the biggest issues for the Mean Green last year?

UNT’s biggest issue was coaching. UNT went 6-37 under former high school coach Todd Dodge. UNT went 1-6 and was averaging 16.9 points a game under Dodge who lasted just seven games into his fourth year. UNT went 2-3, nearly won a 49-41 shootout with Kansas State and averaged 33.8 points once it finally fired Dodge and put offensive coordinator Mike Canales in charge. That pretty much says it all right there.

This year starts the Dan McCarney era. What does McCarney bring to the table that makes you think he can be successful here?

McCarney won at Iowa State, which like UNT is a really tough place to win. He brought in a bunch of experienced college assistants and also has a new stadium to work with. It will take him a while to improve the talent level of the team and clean up the mess following the Dodge era, but he should be able to win at UNT.

For those that don't follow the Sun Belt that closely...tell us a little about the best players on this team.

Lance Dunbar ranked eighth nationally last season with 1,553 rushing yards and is back for his senior season. He is among the elite running backs at non-AQ schools and should be picked in the NFL draft next year. Wide receiver Darius Carey has been a steady contributor, Brelan Chancellor is an outstanding kick returner and kicker Zach Olen is a good one. Those are about the only All-Sun Belt level players on the roster.

Who are some newcomers that can come in and immediately help this year?

UNT didn’t sign many junior college players, which was a surprise considering how many holes UNT has to fill. JUCO tight end Andrew Power will play and safety Kerry Swarn was a highly regarded player who could see time right away.

Looking at the schedule, what are the most important games for North Texas this year?

UNT will open its new stadium with a home game against Houston in Week 2 and will be a huge underdog in that game. Even if the Mean Green can’t win that one, it will be important for UNT to play well on a big day in school history. The Mean Green’s first six games will be brutal. UNT opens at defending Sun Belt champ and likely preseason favorite Florida International and has games against Alabama, Indiana and Tulsa to follow. UNT could be looking at an 0-5 start. That sixth game is at home against Florida Atlantic in Week 6. UNT could be looking to start a late run beginning with winnable game at home.

What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?

I like UNT’s new coaching staff, but this team was built to win last year and has a lot of holes and unproven players at key spots. My gut feeling is that UNT will finish 4-8, which would be a hugely successful season. UNT hasn’t won more than three games in a season since 2004 and is 13-58 since the 2004 New Orleans Bowl. It would be a big step in the right direction if UNT can win four.

Next Preview: Temple

Previous 2011 Pre-Season Previews:

Mac- Buffalo, Central Michigan


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