North Texas moved its press conference from Monday to Tuesday earlier this season, which has left Monday as a bit of a dead spot on the blog.
We still have our regular Monday column, which most UNT fans have already seen. If not, here’s the link: UNT shows newfound grit in comeback win against Rice.
The plan is to add to it with a What We Learned feature here on the blog. Here goes …
The point I was trying to make in my column is that UNT showed some intestinal fortitude while coming back from 17 points down against the Owls. I also mentioned that the last time UNT showed that kind of spirit was back in 2013 and back before that during the Miracle Bowl Run of 2001-04.
The teams are different and so are the situations, but the comparison as far as the fight those teams showed is still a valid one.
Here are a few other points as far as where UNT stands ….
– The UNT fan base is giddy right now, and justifiably so. UNT is 2-2 and has exceeded its win total from last season. ESPN has UNT in its latest bowl projections. A win over Rice showed that UNT is probably capable of making a run at six wins.
The fact remains that UNT has a long way to go. The Mean Green have beaten an FCS team in Bethune-Cookman and a Rice team that is 0-4 by the skin of its teeth.
It’s far too early to start making bowl plans. The Mean Green’s next three games against Middle Tennessee, Marshall and Army will show if UNT’s upward trend will be as sharp as the Mean Green hope it will be.
– Mason Fine has grabbed the quarterback job and run with it.
It was a bit of a surprise when UNT turned to Fine so early in the season, but it certainly looks like the right decision now. He has led UNT to wins over Bethune-Cookman and Rice. The surprising aspect of it is Fine has taken a beating in the pocket, run the ball quite a bit and remained healthy, despite being a smaller quarterback.
The fact we are no longer talking about the quarterback situation is telling.
– Some of the questionable offseason moves seem to be paying off
UNT’s coaching staff raised eyebrows with a few questionable offseason moves that seem to have paid off.
UNT moved cornerback Kenny Buyers to wide receiver, signed a host of quick-fix JUCO players and took a risk on an undersized quarterback in Fine.
Fine is playing well, but he is far from the only player who has been a bit of a surprise. Buyers caught four passes for 102 yards against Rice and has made a questionable preseason move look smart.
The quick-fix JUCO strategy has also paid dividends. Linebacker Joshua Wheeler has 15 tackles two sacks and two forced fumbles. Linebacker E.J. Ejiya has 14 tackles, while offensive lineman T.J. Henson started last week in UNT’s win over Rice.
The Mean Green needed those moves to pay off. So far they are.