2008 North Texas Mean Green Football Preview
North Texas Mean Green - Sun Belt
North Texas 2007 Record: (2-10, 1-6)
2007 Bowl: none
UNT Head Coach: Todd Dodge (2-10 at North Texas, 2-10 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Todd Ford
Defensive Coordinator: Gary DeLoach
Returning Leaders for North Texas:
Other Key Returnees: S Kartey Agbottah, G Tyler Bailey, CB Antoine Bush, WR Sam Dibrell, C Kelvin Drake, DE Eddrick Gilmore, OT Matt Menard, CB Latif Nurudeen, G Esteban Santiago, WR Brock Stickler
Key Losses: DE Jeremiah Chapman, LB Maurice Holman, WR Brandon Jackson, LB Derek Mendoza, DT Montey Stevenson, RB Jamario Thomas, OT Adam Venegas, S Aaron Weathers
The numbers do not tell the entire story for North Texas. Coach Todd Dodge attempted to bring a high flying offense and, at times, it worked even with a limited amount of his players in the system. When the offense was moving, it was moving extremely well. With one year of experience for a group of young players, the offense should be more consistent this year.
North Texas' 2008 Strengths:
But the offense averaged less than 25 points per game. That is not too bad, but Coach Dodge wants a lot more. Quarterback Giovanni Vizza was thrown into the fire as a freshman and did a decent job. Vizza had some great games, like when he threw for eight touchdowns against Navy, but he needs to get more accurate with his passing and keep the turnovers down. Otherwise, coach’s son and incoming freshman, Riley Dodge could take over some of his duties. Receiver Casey Fitzgerald came out of nowhere to have an amazing year where he caught 111 passes for 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns. He should lead the way once again, but the Mean Green need to find a secondary target now that Brandon Jackson has run out of eligibility.
North Texas' 2008 Weaknesses:
Even on those occasions when the offense was putting up big numbers, the defense failed the team. Nobody in the nation gave up more points per game than UNT. Of course when the offense scores so quickly, the defense is going to spend a lot of time on the field, but that was not really the problem. North Texas could not stop anybody anyway. To make matters worse, the top five tacklers from a year ago are gone. Linebacker Craig Robertson is just a sophomore, but will be thrust into a leadership role and the line, led by tackle Joseph Miller, has to find a way to get into the backfield. A large group of newcomers, both freshmen and junior college transfers, will add some much needed depth, but it remains to be seen if that will make a big difference right away.
The Bottom Line for the Mean Green of UNT:
The Mean Green is still building towards the future…and it will take a little longer. The 2008 recruiting was ranked by most as the best in the conference and the pieces are starting to come together. If the offense can be consistent and the defense can improve a little bit, UNT will at least win a few more games and that will lead to much bigger things in the years to come.
2007 UNT Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 118.75 (99 th in nation, 8 th in conference)
Passing Offense: 289.67 (18, 2)
Total Offense: 408.42 (47, 3)
Scoring Offense: 24.83 (77, 4)
Rushing Defense: 229.67 (115, 8)
Pass Defense: 256.75 (95, 7)
Total Defense: 486.42 (113, 8)
Scoring Defense: 45.08 (119, 8)
Turnover Margin: -.92 (110, 7)
Sacks: 1.25 (107, 6)Sacks Allowed: 3.25 (110, 7)
By Joel Welser
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