North Texas Mean Green Football: 2009 Season Preview

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North Texas Mean Green Football: 2009 Season Preview
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Presenting the most detailed preview of a 120th ranked team in FBS you will ever read. 

I am a struggling writer, not a news reporter, so the opinions expressed here are my own combined with data mined from other sites to form a handy season guide.

This contains a lot of supporting information read in reports from such sites as scout.com, rivals.com, the Denton Record-Chronicle, and other sites, but are my own views and predictions. 

I do want to say that large chunks of the information from which I pulled together the likely depth chart and other information were initially reported by Brett Vito, the reporter who covers the Mean Green for the Record-Chronicle.

He is quite simply the best source for information on the Mean Green out there and the Record-Chronicle is the best source for Mean Green News. The stats, schedule, and player dimensions are pulled from the UNT.edu athletics pages.

Let's get started. 

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK: There was apparently a split locker room last year as offensive players divided their loyalties between the coach’s son, Riley Dodge, and former Freshman-of-the-Year, Giovanni Vizza. The drama on offense wasn’t covered much as the team was truly wretched on defense and special teams, creating plenty of media fodder. With the departure of the very talented Vizza to Texas A&M, the team is now united behind Riley Dodge.

Riley knows all of the intricacies of the offense having started for his Dad in high school. Riley was one of the highest ranked recruits to come to UNT in years. He initially committed to Texas and has the same look as past longhorns QBs such as Major Applewhite; you know the type, the smart smallish Texas kid with modest tools who is pretty instinctive and willing to run. An FCS talent with FBS moxie. (That's not a damning statement...so was Ty Detemer.) 

Dodge is listed at 193 pounds this year and he does look about 10 pounds heavier than last year, but odds are he is shorter than his listed height and slightly lighter.  He has proven to be very accurate, sees at least half of the field, and very willing to run in practice.

On the positive side, like many of the better QBs, he is always looking to pass when he rolls out to run and knows where his receivers are. 

On the negative side, you’d like to see a few more deep heaves from him. His arm looks solid on short to intermediate passes, but is it there for long passes? In the Spring game, he completed 19-24 passes for 94 yards.  That has to worry you a bit. Todd Dodge’s offense is all about taking what the defense gives you, so the team average will be low, and Riley clearly buys into that concept, but on the same token if you don’t take at least a handful of shots deep, the defense will pack it in on you leading to stops and interceptions. Riley’s thrown more than a few of those in practice lately. I have seen them practice a few deep shots, but will we see them in the games? I think UNT will have to have to take at least 5-6 deep shots per game versus the lesser opponents on the schedule to have a shot to win those games. 

With that in mind, Riley’s injury history is a concern. He has had injuries cancel his last two seasons—a troubling trend with Alabama on the schedule early.

Backup Nathan Tune is a tall, skinny former walk on with a fairly impressive high school resume himself. He seems a very competent backup, if a little robotic.  He has a nice arm and fairly good straight line speed when running. He makes his decisions very quickly.  As he is so quick to decide, it makes me question if he is reading the defense or if he makes his decisions exclusively before the ball is snapped. I question how well he sees the field, but frankly I’ll admit, I might be wrong to do so.  He may just be really good at reading defenses and just very decisive. On the negative side, the biggest problem I see is that he regularly telegraphs his throws and I don’t see the instincts on the move and the vision that Riley shows. 

The third string QB Chase Baine has a similar but slightly larger build and plays a game very similar to Riley. If Baine has to play, he may be decent.
Projection: C

RUNNING BACK: UNT has a wealth of talent at RB lead by last year’s leading rusher, Cam Montgomery. Montgomery has a real shot to finish the season as an all-Sunbelt pick if the team does well. He was one of the better backs in the conference last year and is a little bigger this year. Of the top four backs, he is the only one with real breakaway speed, so, barring injury, he will get the lion’s share of the carries. The team intends to throw more to its backs so Montgomery could put up some yards in that regard as well. On the negative side, he is an upright runner who will fumble on occasion.

Lance Dunbar is up to 203 pounds this year and appears to have grown from a change of pace back to a legitimate every down option should something happen to Montgomery. 

Jeremi Mathis seems to have the talent to develop into a feature back as well, but he isn’t there yet.

Michah Mosley seems to be a little typecast by this staff.  He is currently set as the team’s short yardage specialist and, when needed, it’s fullback, but he really a feature back in a traditional Ace set. He is a more impressive talent than Dunbar or Mathis, but they are more the kind of halfback-type Dodge and his staff appear to value more. I see him and I can't help but think back to how the Jets never really utilized John Riggins back in the day. An under appreciated and under utilized talent, IMO. Hopefully, Mosely will inherit the starting job next year and get his shot. 

Overall, UNT has four backs who could all be 1,000 yard rushers at at least the FCS level and all of whom may prove capable of doing it at the FBS level before they graduate.

On a negative note, every one of them runs east/west far too much and that tendency does not appear to be being addressed by the coaching staff.
Projection: B+

WIDE RECEIVER: The talent is there for this to be a good unit, but after watching the final fall scrimmage, I am still not sure if the coaching staff will maximize it. Incoming junior college transfers Jamaal Jackson and Michael Outlaw are the headliners coming in, with B.J. Lewis likely to be the third starting receiver. 

Outlaw has apparently shown some deep separation in practice and it appears may be earmarked by the coaching staff as the team's deep threat. I have not seen him much, but I thought he looked OK, but not special in that role.

Lewis was a clutch playoff performer as a high school receiver.  He showed some speed in his freshman year, had an injury abbreviated move to cornerback last year, and has now re-emerged as the starter at an outside spot.  He shows good straight line speed and solid size. He isn’t spectacular, but shows signs that he might become a solid starter if used properly (as a deep threat/end zone threat).

Jackson is a slot receiver type and an elusive runner after the catch.  I could see him catching a lot of passes, but not really breaking a lot of plays due to lack of size.  The backups in many ways are as or more exciting. 

Former high school QB Darius Carey has a chance to lead the team in receptions if he works as hard through the season as he has leading into the season. He is just so productive on the field.  Carey gets open, catches the ball, and gets upfield. It is exciting everytime he is thrown the ball.

The team’s returning receiver from last season, Alex Lott, is similar to Carey, but not as special of a talent. Still, if anything happens to Jackson, Lott would likely be very effective in that slot receiver role as well. Lott is another quick, sure handed guy who quickly thinks north/south after the catch.

Most of the remaining guys on the depth chart have flashed talent. Bennie Jones was one of the talks of the team in the spring, for example. I expect barring injuries you might see some of the backups red-shirted. I would not be surprised to see any of them become competent players if injuries provide playing time, but I don’t see any potential stars in the lot, besides potentially Breece Johnson.  Johnson reportedly flashed a lot, just never when I watched the team. He was an elite player in high school and a lot of collegiate players find their college legs in their Junior years.  If Outlaw misses any extended playing time, I would not be surprised at all to see Johnson emerging as a capable starter this year with the possibility of senior year stardom.  He just fits the mold of what you see pretty frequently.

On the negative side, with the exception of Carey and Lott, this receiving corps seems to think it is more talented than it is and spends a heck of a lot of time running sideways and backwards. 

This should be a pretty deep unit, but based on the coaching choices I have seen and the lack of direction during the past two years, not a great one.
Projection: B-

FLANKER/TIGHT END: Coach Dodge has been roundly criticized by UNT fans about the lack of a tight end in his offense for the pas two years. The team Dodge inheritied was loaded with TEs and he has about a half dozen former ones on the roster even now. Coach Dodge decided this year he would split time at the larger interior receiver slot between a TE and essentially a flanker. It is a smart move as it blunts fan criticism, allows Dodge a better chance to nab a highly-thought-of area TE prospect coming out this year... and as fans suggested actually would help on the field. 

Last year’s promising WR recruit Sam Roberson is the starting flanker. I think he may be miscast.  He is supposed to have pretty good speed. I haven’t see it, but if he does in fact have that extra gear that he kicks into running down the field, I think he would be essentially a taller version of Lewis and would do better as an outside receiver. 

Senior Bryant Seidle is the “starting” TE and he seems competent. They ought to call this position the “tall guy who jumps to catch the floater over the middle” position.  (That will make more sense after you watch this team this year.)

Forrest Rucker will probably see some time here. Ineligible Oklahoma WR Tyler Stradford is a big, athletic, physical flanker type who was slotted to start at an outside WR slot.  He would be a major upgrade at this position if he were eligible.
Projection: C+

OFFENSIVE LINE: The team features a very solid and deep veteran offensive line. Last year the team gave up only 23 sacks on 514 pass attempts and powered a running game that gained 4.1 yards per carry while breaking in new starters at center and both guard spots.

Super aggressive tackle Esteban Santiago is an underappreciated headliner, but many argue that the other tackle, the undersized Victor Gill is the better player. Both are quite competent. 

J.J. Johnson took over at center when former freshman all-conference C Kevin Drake went down with an injury and was solid.  Dodge loves Johnson’s heady play at center.

Drake is back (he has been singled out as a pre-season all-conference pick in some publications this year) and as of the final scrimmage he finally unseated big Gabe Hollivay as the starter at one of the guard spots.  Perhaps the prolonged duel was a face-saving act for the senior, but given the ruthlessness of the staff generally on these issues, I suspect Hollivay did give UNT’s perceived OL star a run for his money.

According to Dodge, senior Tyler Bailey has been pushing Coleman Feeley very hard to reclaim the other starting guard spot.

Junior Matt Menard, a former starter himself, was the third tackle for most of the spring, but bad knees may take him off the board. Tomlinson has emerged as the new third tackle. Franklin and Bean are fighting it out for the fourth tackle slot, but I think if it gets to that, UNT will have pass protection trouble. Nice looking prospects, but I don’t think they are ready yet.

This is a very competent and very deep OL, but may lack the star power to be an elite line.
Projection: B+

DEFENSIVE LINE: Shavod Atkinson was the star of UNT’s recruiting effort this year.  He had a scholarship offer from West Virginia but chose to become one of the starting DTs at UNT instead. His highlight clips from junior college do not show enough to accurately gauge his technique, but they do reveal a guy who flashes NFL-level athleticism and strength. He is regarded as a very good run stuffer and what I have seen of him so far seems to support that. 

In fall practices he, fellow JUCO DT Kelvin Jackson, and redshirt Freshman DE Tevinn Cantly have added a much needed spine to the team’s starting lineup and short yardage run defense. Jackson has some foot issues that are a big concern, but he seems a very competent run stuffer and pass rusher. He is a very active player for his size. Cantly was a find in the spring. He has dropped to 285 pounds to increase his speed and looks quite good at the strong-side DE.

Last year the team’s defensive linemen were unable to hold their positions or keep blockers off the UNT Linebackers, a situation that lead UNT to yield an unmanageable 5.6 yards per carry. This year the team will rotate 2-3 players at each spot with the big trio likely to get the lion’s share of short yardage and run down situations.

Draylen Ross and Jesse Desoto were part of the horrific problem they had last year, but both are bigger and better this year. I think the strength coach and better coaching really shows in these two players. Most earmarked Ross as the one likely to have a breakthrough year, but DeSoto impresses each time I see him play. I thought he was just a run stuffer, but he is one of those sneaky DTs who doesn’t seem to be an elite pass rushers but get sacks at a higher rate than he should. 

Redshirt Freshmen DT Joe Hawthorne has flashed some talent for disrupting the run and freshman DT Kyle White is a large and coveted prospect. Both could work their way into some playing time, especially if injuries hit. I think the team could likely withstand a loss of Jackson or Atkinson and still get capable DT play. 

Brandon Akpunku is a former linebacker the coaching staff loves. He had been firmly entrenched as the starting weakside end throughout the spring. He bulked up from 209 to 226 pounds but is still hugely undersized at DE. With the demands of the season, I question whether he will stay above 220 throughout the season. He is one of the feistiest players on the team and showed good pass rushing ability in the final pre-season scrimmage, but had difficulty holding his position and seems a likely target for teams to run on. I suspect that the coaching staff may find that Akpunku is too inviting of a target to be more than a pass rush specialist this year.

Dodge has stated John Weber and Sam Owusu-Hemmeng can play both ends. Weber is a good sized DE who showed a lot as a pass rusher last year in JC ball. I think in passing situations Weber will play the strong side end and Akpunku will ultimately be the weakside end. Owusu-Hemmeng was a non-factor last season and for most of the off-season, but the senior has been dynamite the last few weeks and may keep the coaching staff writing the depth chart in pencil. 

Confusing matters further, Eddrick Gilmore, a starting defensive end last year and the team’s only capable defensive lineman on that unit, had been moved to DT to help generate an interior rush. Gilmore added 10+ lbs to play DT.  It seems that experiment might be being reversed with Gilmore now seeing some minutes at DE. (My take is that they may have realized Gilmore is no better than a 3rd team DT on this unit but he was getting mention as a possible all-conference candidate by some media sources who thought he would be a starting end on this team. Borderline star at one spot or 3rd team backup at another—? Moving him back starts to make a lot of sense.  Additionally, there was some talk in the spring that the move to DT was a bit of a "just in case" move, in case they did not land the 3 big Juco DLs and that he might be moved back in the fall.  Clearly, on paper, with the exception of the loss of talented DE Kyle Russo to Southern Illinois, everything regarding the DL has come up roses for the UNT staff lately.) It is entirely possible Gilmore may end up being the weakside DE on run downs, keeping Akpunku fresh for passing downs. If that happens this DL will not be undersized at all.  Owusu-Hemmeng could then spot at either end spot.

Finally, UNT brought in a well respected veteran defensive line coach in Mike Wilson.

There is a real chance that the DL goes from the weakest area on the team to one of the strongest.
Projection: A- if Gilmore is moved back to end and there are no injuries to the big 3, but those are big ifs. B is more likely.

LINEBACKERS: Tobe Nwigwe and Craig Robertson both have taken turns receiving all-conference recognition in the past two seasons. Nwigwe falls asleep at times, missing tackles, but when challenged can be a real terror.

Robertson is more the solid player who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and can do everything pretty well.

Kylie Hill, one last year’s starting safeties, was moved up to help the team cover better. It is a potentially a really smart move, if the lack of size issue up front of him is addressed. Hill is undersized, but he is there to cover and really helps the defense in that regard. 

He may end up losing his job to redshirt Freshman Jeremy Phillips, a former high school QB who seems a more natural OLB and real playmaker at that spot (If this happens, I could see Hill moving back to safety for at least run down plays).  Phillips plays bigger than his weight and just has that knack for playing LB.  If he continues to work hard, he has a good chance to make an all conference team or two before his career is over.

Last year’s OLB starter A.J. Penson failed to make enough plays and was moved inside to back up Nwigwe, where his positive attributes will be much better utilized and the fact that he lacks playmaking skills in space is largely irrelevant.  He appears to be the heir apparent to Nwigwe’s MLB spot next season.

Do not be surprised if the highly recruited Daniel Prior sees some time on passing downs.  He has good instincts versus the pass and Defensive Coordinator Gary DeLoach has taken a personal interest in his new, very talented, whipping boy. 

Senior Steve Warren seems a competent backup for Robertson on the strong side.  There is some promising depth beyond that, especially Prior, but it is largely unproven.
Projection: B+ today, A- if Phillips continues to work hard and takes the third LB spot from Hill.

DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD: With no pass rush to speak of and playing four freshmen and a JUCO transfer, the secondary was predictable and frequently torched last year. As with most teams that play a freshmen laden secondary, the second year will likely feature vastly improved players.

The team features a wealth of quality cornerbacks. Antoine Bush is a three-year starter and was the arguably the team’s best CB last season.  Phil Steele’s magazine chose him as a Pre-season second team all-Sunbelt pick before he went down with an injury a month ago that will keep him out until conference play starts. Even prior to the injury he had been pushed to the third CB spot by the development of Royce Hill and former JUCO star Adryan Adams. 

Hill was pretty awful early last season, but has shown a real ability to cloak a receiver in practice this year. He will probably turn out to be the team’s No. 1 corner this year and is another player who may eventually be all-conference if he continues to develop.

Adams was very highly regarded coming out of junior college and is at worst, a solid starter. Adams is currently struggling with a back injury. 

Robbie Gordon has emerged as a very competent CB since Bush went down with an injury. Even though he was lulled to sleep on one play and gave up a TD to the speedy BJ Lewis, Gordon was a star of the fall scrimmage. They went hard after him in the scrimmage and he had an interception and was very solid overall, suggesting that in a pinch he can fill a CB slot. Hilbert Jackson is another CB well regarded by the coaching staff. 

Ira Smith moved to safety and looks like he might be pretty good. He seems to have a good feel to playing centerfield, can cover a bit, and is a decent tackler.

DeWaylon Cook is also a decent coverage guy with good instincts and speed, but seems like an arm tackler with weak hands. I think he mostly just needs more strength training.  We may see a lot of missed almost big play tackles from him on TDs. If this becomes an issue, you might see Darien Williams or even Hill splitting time with Cook.
Projection: C in the first few games; B+ once Bush and Adams return.

SPECIAL TEAMS: I am going to glaze over this a bit because I don’t watch them everyday and can’t do much of a review on this. Last year the special teams were poorly coached and undisciplined. On almost every kickoff or punt the team gave up 10 extra yards putting their overmatched defense in a hole. This year, they are being coached by an experienced collegiate coach and improving the special teams has been a focus of the coaching staff. Even if the coverage becomes merely poor, this team will be dramatically better.
Projection: C

COACHING: Todd Dodge was voted dead last among non-BCS coaches this spring by Rivals.com. Sadly, it was an earned honor for a coach who is not only regarded as an offensive genius and the father of one totally unique branch of the spread offense, but also had an impeccable reputation among area coaches that has opened recruiting doors UNT hasn’t had opened for years and employs one of the nation’s best defensive coordinators in Gary DeLoach. On paper, with all this going for Dodge, it should be smooth sailing. The past two seasons have proven those accolades do not matter in the head coaching business.

Dodge was just as much a victim to the recruiting game as any other collegiate coach. If you lack size, talent, and experience at the FBS level, you usually lose. 

Dodge had even more problems last year. He lost his team for long spans in 2008. One could see that several times last season his team didn’t buy into what the coaching staff was selling and quit on the field. Several contributors left the team during and after the season. He had a divided locker room on offense and not only lost the other two of the three phases of the game, his team was the nation’s worst in defense and special teams. 

If he loses the team again this year, he’ll likely be gone, in spite of the history of his recruitment.  (UNT was only able to lure Dodge from Texas 5A power Southlake High School because not only did the athletic Director Rick Villarreal promise Dodge he’d be able to recruit in the new stadium, so did the university president.  If that commitment was not made, Dodge very well may have waited for a better college job --- it was pretty clear the talent cupboard was bare at UNT and the crumbling Fouts Field would make recruiting difficult.  Dodge was by far the biggest name in the Metroplex UNT could land --- and may still be.)

The team was so bad last season that Dodge's free pass to wait for the new stadium seems much less certain.  Dodge seems to be feeling a little heat this year from Villarreal.  Villarreal has stated he expects the team to compete every week --- A tough pronouncement with Alabama on the schedule. 

When you have the worst 2 year record in the school's 96 year football history and you are the head coach at a school with a winning all-time football record in the state of Texas, you make everyone's job a little unstable --- including the President and the AD.  While there is no doubt both want to honor their committment to Dodge, this is just the reality of the coaching business --- they are not going to put their jobs on the line because Dodge has not been able to acheive even acceptable mediocrity.

Dodge will need to get better at feeling the pulse of his team and may need (at least temporarily) to put a little more importance in retaining potential contributors in this, his likely make-or-break season.

Additionally, Coach Dodge subscribes to a “take what the opposition gives you” philosophy in his offense.  Certainly that is generally a good plan, but with as strong of a running game as he has versus a very inexperienced passing game headed by a fragile QB, it would make a lot of sense to dictate to the opposition with his running game a bit this year. There been a general inconsistent commitment to the running game in the Dodge era. Dodge promises to run more this year, even going so far as to add a TE and some plays with the QB taking the snap under center for short yardage situations (something he was loathe to even consider adding to his offense in the past), but will he use these new features effectively during games?

The team will need to take a few more shots down the field utilizing the improved team speed to win its winnable games. Will this occur? 

Dodge has shown during this off-season that he is capable of looking at the problems his team faced last year and building a plan to address those issues, a skill set that he didn’t show in previous years. The adding of a strength coach and an experienced, proven, well-respected DL coach will lead to dramatic on-field improvement, especially on the DL. Dodge has eliminated most fan complaints (no TE, no short yardage sets, undersized DL, poor coaching on the DL and in special teams). That should buy him half a season’s grace with the fans ...and should help on the field as they were all valid complaints.

He  seems to show a willingness to evolve if that is what it takes to get the job done. That may just allow him keep his job.
Projection: C (but moving quickly in the right direction)

KEEP AN EYE ON: The defense, especially the line. They could go from being the worst in the nation to one of the best in the sunbelt if they stay heathy.
STAR POWER: LB Tobe Nwigwe had a great year last year and is the media’s general consensus star on this team, but RB Cam Montgomery might be the man who the media showers their attention on at the end of the season if the team nears .500 or even ends up bowl eligible.  Last year he averaged 5.5 yards per carry and was dynamite in the spring. He has breakaway speed.
STRENGTHS: Offensive line, running game, and defense.
WEAKNESSES: Tackling, mental toughness, size, head coaching, and injuries to key personnel. UNT was an awful tackling team last year and the coaching staff has stressed improved tackling over the off-season. We will see if that bears any fruit.

The team was mentally weak last year. Last season, UNT would give up three TDs and the team would spit the bit. There has been a lot of talk of this team acknowledging a need to get mentally tougher, but until the leaders on the team insist their teammate stand fast in the face of adversity, a lack of spine will be seen as one of the team’s chief weakness. 

This team still looks like a high school or FCS squad.  In spite of almost all players on the squad looking bigger and stronger, they still look small.  That said, they are bigger where they really need to be.  Last year their DL looked light and weak.  This year the DL looks OK.  If the DL holds, the lack of size behind it won't be much of an issue.  While they may still look like an FCS squad on defense, barring injuries I would stongly doubt they play like one this year.

As far as coaching goes, Dodge has grown a lot this off-season, but needs to learn to recognize his teams failings and address them while the season is going on. If this team does not stretch the field deep from time to time, it will not be able to stretch is wide. If this team doesn’t run the ball more, Riley Dodge will go down. With a strong running game and offensive line to support it and good but unproven talent in the passing game, the parts are there for this offense to be pretty good. If the passing game struggles, it will be a due to the coaching staff not utilizing their proven offensive assets and misusing their unproven ones. 

Finally, emotionally this team has a lot invested in Riley Dodge who is now the undisputed team leader. With his injury history, an injury to Riley still seems more likely than not. For a team with a weak constitution, a Riley Dodge injury could lead to an emotion-fueled multi-game collapse.

THE BUZZ: Obviously the national buzz on this team is lousy, but this team has a manageable schedule and vastly underrated talent. Rivals currently has six of the nine teams in the Sun Belt ranked in the bottom quarter of FBS. Their ranking at this part of the season are largely talent based.  It seems likely one of those six teams might with five games against those schools. Why NOT UNT?

The bodybag game at No. 5 Alabama will almost certainly be a blowout, and the games vs. No. 82 Florida Atlantic and at No. 66 Troy games look out of reach, but eight of the remaining nine games on the schedule are in the bottom quarter of FBS and the ninth is against an Arkansas State team that annually struggles vs. UNT (a matter of coaching philosophies favoring UNT in this particular head to head matchup). (The FIU game is just the opposite.  UNT should be able to win it, but FIU has appeared to have the UNT coaching staff's number.)

If the attitude and focus is there and the team avoids costly injuries, the talent is there to allow as much as a nine-win season, although with the Alabama smackdown likely to injure a few starters and the team's general inexperience with winning, that is highly unlikely.

If the fans do not immediately pick up where they left off calling for the dismissal of Dodge, as much as a six-or-seven-win, bowl-eligible season is very possible (perhaps even likely) with four wins being the likely bottom. 

However, if key injuries strike and the fans call for Dodge’s head early, distracting a still young team, a two-or-three-win flameout is still very possible.

Prediction: 6-6

UNT 2009 Schedule
@Ball State
 Ohio
@Alabama
 Middle Tennessee
@Louisiana-Lafayette
 Florida Atlantic
@Troy
 Western Kentucky
 ULM
@Florida International
 Army
@Arkansas State

FINAL 2008 STATISTICS
OFFENSE
20.0 PPG
1528 Rushing Yards @ 4.1 YPC with 24 fumbles, 16 lost.
2828 Passing Yards @ 61.8 percent for 5.5 YPA with 15 TDs & 17 INTs
DEFENSE
47.6 PPG
2485 Rushing Yards Allowed @ 5.6 YPC with 13 Fumbles forced, 6 recovered.
3306 Passing Yards Allowed @64.8 percent for 8.9 YPA with 34 TDs allowed & 10 INTs.
SPECIAL TEAMS
Punt returns 4.6 YPR
Kickoff returns 18.5 YPR
Punt coverage 13.1 YPR
Kickoff coverage 31.0 YPR

 

PREDICTED 2009 STATISTICS
OFFENSE
~24 PPG
2000 Rushing Yards @ ~4.5 YPC with ~15 fumbles, 8 lost
Montgomery 225 Att @ 5.8 YPC 1300 Yards 12 TDs + 40 catches @ 10 YPC 400 Yards 1 TD
Dunbar 80 Att @ 4.8 YPC 384 Yards 2 TDs + 20 catches @ 6 YPC 120 Yards 2 TD
Mosely 50 Att @ 3.8 YPC 190 Yards 6 TDs
280/450 for 2800 Passing Yards @ ~ 62 percent for ~6.2 YPA with 16 TDs & 23 INTs
Dodge 240/380 for 2240 Passing Yards @ ~ 64 percent for ~5.9 YPA with 12 TDs & 18 INTs
Tune 40/70 560 Passing Yards @ ~ 57 percent for ~8 YPA with 4 TDs & 6 INTs
Jamaal Johnson 40 10.0 400 1
Carey 35 10.0 350 3
Outlaw 35 11.0 390 2
Lewis  30 13.6 430 3
Roberson 25 8.0 200 1
B Johnson 20 13.0 260 2
Lott 20 8.0 160 1
Dickerson 10 9.0 90 0
DEFENSE
~19 PPG
1500 Rushing Yards Allowed @ 3.4 YPC with 18 Fumbles forced, 10 recovered.
2700 Passing Yards Allowed @~55 percent for 6.0 YPA with 20 TDs allowed & 22 INTs.
34 team sacks
Akpunku, Gilmore, & Weber 6 sacks each
Cantly & Jackson 3.5 sacks each
Ross, Desoto & Owusu-Hemeng 3 sacks each.
Smith 4 Ints.
Royce Hill & Kylie Hill 3 Ints.
Cook, Phillips, Robertson,  2 Ints.
Bush, Nwigwe, Phillips, Prior, Adams, Gordon 1 Int
SPECIAL TEAMS
Punt returns 7.0 YPR
Kickoff returns 22.5 YPR
Punt coverage 9.0 YPR
Kickoff coverage 24.0 YPR


PROJECTED/APPARENT DEPTH CHART
OFFENSE
QB 11 Riley Dodge (6', 193, R-Fr.), 6 Nathan Tune (6'4", 206, Jr.), 13 Chase Baine (6'0", 198, R-Fr.)
RB 26 Cam Montgomery (6'1", 218, Sr.), 5 Lance Dunbar (5'9", 202, Soph.), 32 Michah Mosely (6'0", 224, Jr.), 24 Jeremi Mathis (6'1", 215, R-Fr.)
OWR 82 Michael Outlaw (6'0", 185, Jr.), 1 Desmond Brigham (6'1", 184 R-Fr.), 17 Breece Johnson (6'1", 178, Jr.), 87 Chris Brainard (5'11", 158, Fr.),
SLR 15 Jamaal Jackson (5'10", 163, Jr.) 4 Alex Lott (5'9", 173, Jr.), 3 Willie Taylor (5'10", 175, R-Fr.)
FL/TE 8 Sam Roberson (6'4", 220, Soph.) 80 Kevin Dickerson (6"0", 200, Sr.), 83 TE Bryant Seidle (6'2", 223, Sr.)
OWR 9 BJ Lewis (6'1", 197, Soph.), 19 Darius Carey (5'10", 188, Fr.), 18 Bennie Jones (6-2, 165, Jr.)
LT 64 Victor Gill (6-4, 261, Jr.), 72 Matt Tomlinson (6-5, 297, Soph.), 74 Troy Franklin (6'5", 272, Soph.) 71 Matt Menard (6'4", 297, Jr.)
RT 77 Esteban Santiago (6'3", 296, Jr.), 72 Matt Tomlinson (6'5", 297, Soph.), 73 Jeremy Bean (6'5", 301, Jr.), 71 Matt Menard (6'4", 297, Jr.)
G 70 Coleman Feeley (6'4", 305, Soph.) 57 Tyler Bailey (6'2", 292, Sr.)
G 68 Kevin Drake (6'2", 280, Jr.), 62 Gabe Hollivay (6'3", 328, Sr.)
C 56 J.J. Johnson (6'3", 283, Soph.) 68 Kevin Drake (6'2", 280, Jr.)

DEFENSE
WE 47 Brandon Akpunku (6'1", 226, Soph.), 94 Eddrick Gilmore (6'5", 269, Sr.), 52 Sam Owusu-Hemeng (6'2" 242 Jr.), 98 John Webber (6'3" 288 Jr.), 48 KC Obi (6'2" 214 Fr.)
DT 99 Shavod Atkinson (6'2", 307, Jr.), 95 Jesse DeSoto (6'1", 289, Jr.), 97 Joe Hawthorne (6'4", 270, R-Fr.)
DT 91 Kelvin Jackson (6'2", 309, Jr.), 92 Draylen Ross (6'4", 292, Jr.), 94 Eddrick Gilmore (6'5", 269, Sr.), 63 Kyle White (6'2", 309, Fr.)
SE 96 Tevinn Cantly (6'4", 285, R-Fr.), 98 John Webber (6'3", 288, Jr.), 52 Sam Owusu-Hemeng (6'2" 242 Jr.)
WLB 37 Kylie Hill (5'10", 186, Sr.), 45 Jeremy Phillips (6'3", 198, R-Fr.),
MLB 44 Tobe Nwigwe (6'1", 251, Sr.), 31 AJ Penson (6"1", 225, Jr.), 36 Marquese Davis (6'1", 232, Soph.) 53 Daniel Prior (6'2", 215, Fr.)
SLB 42 Craig Robertson (6', 226, Jr.), 18 Steve Warren (6'1", 220, Sr.), 54 Robbie Deheck (6'2", 231, Soph.)
CB 22 Adryan Adams (6'0", 182, Sr.), 35 Antoine Bush (5'10", 194, Sr.)
CB 21 Royce Hill (6', 177, Soph.), 27 Robbie Gordon (6', 180, Jr.), Hilbert Jackson (6'1", 181, Fr.)
SS 10 DaWaylon Cook (6'1", 196, Soph.), 23 Darien Williams (5'10", 189, Soph.)
FS 25 Ira Smith (5'11", 183, Soph.), 23 Darien Williams (5'10", 189, Soph.), 18 John Shorter (6', 195, Soph.)
SPECIAL TEAMS
K
Jeremy Knott (6'3", 182, Sr.)
P Jeremy Knott (6'3", 182, Sr.)
KR Royce Hill (5'10", 173, Soph.)
PR Royce Hill (5'10", 173, Soph.)
HEAD COACH: Todd Dodge (3-21 in two seasons).
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Gary DeLoach

LAST SEASON: 1-11 overall, 0-7 in Sun Belt (eighth in league).
FINAL 2008 RIVALS.COM RANKING: 119th/120.
PRE-SEASON 2009 RIVALS.COM RANKING: 120th/120.
PRE-SEASON 2009 SCOUT.COM RANKING: 116th/120.
RETURNING STATISTICAL LEADERS:
PASSING (RETURNING PLAYERS THREW 15 ATTs out of 514)
Tune,Nathan      6    6-13-0     46.2   55   0  16   9.2
Dodge,Riley        3    0-2-1       0.0    0    0    0   0.0
RUSHING (370 TOTAL RUSHING ATTEMPTS IN 2008)
PLAYER       G    ATT    YDS     YPR    TDS    LG    AYPG
Montgomery 12  170    928     5.5     9     42    77.3
Dunbar         5   39     178     4.6     1     24    35.6
Mosely         5   21     102     4.9     1     18    20.4
RECEIVING (RETURNING PLAYERS RECIEVED 79 CATCHES OUT OF 318)
PLAYER            G    ATT    YDS     YPC    TDS    LG     AYPG

Lott,Alex         12   26    201      7.7      2     19     16.8
Dickerson,K.     12   21    180      8.6     1      36     15.0
Montgomery,C.  12  18    118      6.6      0     22      9.8
Roberson,Sam   10  12     76       6.3      0     12      7.6
Dunbar,Lance    5   12     51       4.2      1     12     10.2
Dodge,Riley       3    9     59        6.6      0     31     19.7
Johnson,Breece  9   7      60       8.6      1      15      6.7
Hamilton,J.       11   4     32        8.0      0     15      2.9
Mosely,Micah     5   4     14        3.5      0       9      2.8
INTERCEPTIONS (10 TOTAL/PLAYERS RETURNING ACCOUNTED FOR 10)
PLAYER            NO.
Nwigwe,Tobe     3
Hill,Kylie            2  
Robertson,C.      2  
Shorter,John      1  
Adams,Adryan    1  
Bush,Antoine      1  
SACKS (12 TOTAL/PLAYERS RETURNING ACCOUNTED FOR 7.5)
PLAYER            NO.

Gilmore           3.0
Desoto           2.0
Ross              1.0
Cole               1.0
Williams, D       0.5

 

MEAN GREEN MINUTIAE
(Notes about key personnel mostly pulled from player profiles at UNT.edu)

OFFENSE
QB Riley Dodge
- Voted AP Player of the Year at 5A, the highest level of play in Texas. School record 101 career TD passes, 27-2 record in high school, only playoff loss was a game where he was injured.  The most celebrated and awarded prospect in recent UNT history.
QB Nathan Tune - Led Celina to 16-0 record and 2A state title. Lead offense that scored 46.1 PPG in playoffs in 2005.
RB Cam Montgomery - As HS senior rushed 226 times for 1,335 yards and 23 TDs. Rated 4 star JUCO recruit and nation's 3rd best JUCO RB prospect by scout.com. Ran for 928 yards and scored 9 TDs as a Jr. Won UNTs outstanding Offensive back award in 2008.
RB Lance Dunbar - three-time 1,000-yard rusher in HS. Team MVP as a senior at Haltom HS.
RB Michah Mosely - four-year HS letterman. AP Texas 4A first team selection. Ran 297 times for 2,403 yards and 29 TDs in 2006.  As a true freshman at UNT ran for 461 yards with 5 TDs.
RB Jeremi Mathis - Ran 231 times for 1,462 yards and 17 TDs as a Sr. Top-100 area prospect by DMN.
OWR Michael Outlaw - 51/796/5  as HS junior; 56/816/7 as senior. Named to 2008 MAJC All-State North First Team after 46 catch 624 yard JUCO season.
OWR Breece Johnson - 88/1,343/19 in 2006. Named AP 5A All-State First Team. Rated 33rd-best receiver prospect in Texas by Rivals.com
SLR Jamaal Jackson -41/418/1 at SWMCC. Runs 4.4.
SLR Alex Lott - 46/890 as a Sr. Earned first team all-area. Walked on at UNT and caught 26 passes in 2008.
FL Sam Roberson - 50/1,065/12 with 8 INTs at defensive back in 2006. Rated by Rivals.com as the 24th-best receiver prospect in Texas. Started 6 games in 2008 for UNT and caught 12 passes.
FL Kevin Dickerson - Caught 21 passes in 2008.
OWR BJ Lewis - 49/958(20.31 ypc)/8 w 72T, 6INTs, 1FR, 2FF and 13 breakups in 2006. Averaged 5/108.6 ypg w/ at least 1+ TD per game in 2006 playoffs. Member of Texas 3A state finalist. 3A all state first team selection.
WR Darius Carey - Played quarterback in HS. 2-time all-district 8-4A selection. 4.5 speed.
OT Victor Gill - Lead team to school's 1st state title appearance in 2005. Moved from TE to T in college. Started 12 games in 2008.
OT Esteban Santiago - Started every game in 2007 and 2008.
OT Matt Menard - started 11 games in 2007.
G Coleman Feeley - two-way starter and team captain in HS. Started seven games as a true freshman.
G Tyler Bailey - started eight games for UNT in 2007 and 5 games in 2008.
G Kevin Drake -three-year letterman in HS. Started all 12 games in 2007 earning second team all confence honors.
G Gabe Hollivay - NJCAA first team All-State for Itawamba CC. Started all 12 games at guard for UNT in 2008.
C J.J. Johnson - Rated as fourth-best center in Texas by Rivals.com. Started all 12 games as redshirt freshman in 2008. Won UNT's Outstanding Offensive lineman award in 2008.

DEFENSE
DE Brandon Akpunku
-Member of 2006 5A Texas State champion. 55t/8s/3fr in 2007.
DT Shavod Atkinson -Honorable mention KJCCC all-conference team in 2008
DT Jesse DeSoto - 51T/11tfl/7s/4ff in 2006. Rated as 19th-best defensive tackle prospect in Texas by Rivals.com.  Recorded 2 sacks for UNT in 2008.
DT Joe Hawthorne - 56t/12tfl/6s in 2007. Rated a 5.1 prospect on Rivals.com 6.1 scale.
DT Kelvin Jackson - Named to the MACJC North Second Team in 2008 at Itawamba CC.
DT Draylen Ross - 61t/6s/2ff as a DE in HS. Started last 3 games for UNT in 2008.
DT/E Eddrick Gilmore - started 5 games for UNT in 2007 and 6 in 2008. Finished as the team leader in sacks in 2008 with three. Gained 10-15 Lbs in off-season.
DT Kyle White -Ranked a 5.1 prospect out of 6.1 by Rivals.com.
DE Tevinn Cantly - 29 tackles,12 for losses, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 forced fumble in 5 games at DT as a senior. Dropped over 16 lbs over the summer to increase his speed.
DE John Weber - Louisiana All state DE. 4.85 speed. 8.5 sacks in 2008 at Itawamba CC.
OLB Kylie Hill - anchored JUCO secondary with Adryan Adams that allowed only 178 YPG. Honorable mention All-SWJCFC. Started all 12 games at safety for UNT in 2008 and won UNT's Outstanding DB Award.
OLB Jeremy Phillips - MVP of District 18-4A. Ranked as one of the top 6 “athletes” in the area by the Houston Chronicle.
MLB Tobe Nwigwe - Started 11 games in 2006. Started  all 12 games in 2008 recording 111t & 3Ints on way to 2nd team all-sunbelt selection. Won UNT Outstanding Defensive Player award in 2008.
MLB AJ Penson - Rated as No. 40 MLB prospect in nation by Scout.com. Started 12 games for UNT in 2008.
MLB Daniel Prior - Ranked a 5.3 out of 6.1 by Rivals.com. Ranked the No. 36 SLB in the nation by Scout.com. 4.66 Speed.
SLB Craig Robertson - Earned 11 letters in four HS sports, including first-team all-district in basketball, baseball and football. Honorable mention all-Sunbelt in 2007. 2 time UNT outstanding linebacker recipient.
CB Adryan Adams - anchored JUCO secondary with Kylie Hill that allowed only 178 YPG.  4 star recruit rated nation’s 5th best JUCO CB prospect by Scout.com.  Started 6 games in 2008.
CB Antoine Bush - Started 11 games in 2006, all 12 in 2007, and 9 in 2008 for UNT at CB.
CB Royce Hill - Ranked the 30th best corner prospect in the nation by ESPN.com.  Started 9 games in 2008.
SS DaWaylon Cook - 3 year starter in HS. 2007 District 13-4A Most Valuable Player. Played in 11 games in 2008.
FS Ira Smith - Part of a JUCO class that finished with a 22-2 record & a 2007 NJCAA co-national title. 4.4 speed.Ranked a 5.6 prospect out of 6.1 by Rivals.com.

 

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