UNT will have its first scrimmage of fall practice tomorrow.
I will have a couple of video interviews to post here sometime this afternoon about what will be a key moment for a lot of UNT players.
While I was working on them, I got to thinking about how big tomorrow’s scrimmage will be for a lot of players on UNT’s roster.
Here are five that come to mind:
Bradin’ Byrd — Byrd is going to get a chance to show what he can do after spending the last few years working his way into position to take over for Lance Dunbar, UNT’s record-setting running back who is now with the Cowboys. How well Byrd plays today could go a long way toward determining if his opportunity is short-lived. UNT has several running backs competing for playing time, including Jeremy Brown and freshmen Antoinne Jimmerson. Running back is a place where UNT has some depth. Bryd could find himself buried on the depth chart again if he doesn’t produce early.
Will Wright — Wright is another one of those players who has waited his turn. The junior outside linebacker began last season as a backup, moved into the starting lineup for three games, and then dropped back behind since departed Forlando Johnson. The competition for playing time dwindled a little when UNT elected to redshirt Mike Stojkovic, but Jeremy Phillips is back and likely to start. That leaves one outside linebacker spot, and UNT has options, including freshman Jarrian Roberts and redshirt freshman Chad Polk.
D.Q. Johnson/Hilbert Jackson — Johnson is a junior who transferred to UNT at the semester break, while Jackson is a junior who has been at UNT since his high school days. Both enter the fall as starters, but UNT’s secondary struggled in spring practice and there are some talented young players waiting in the wings, including freshmen Devante Davis and Xavier Kelly and converted running back Zac Whitfield.
Chaz Sampson — UNT needs to find playmakers on offense after losing some key players last season. We have heard about Sampson’s potential and his size (the guy is 6-5) for months. Saturday’s workout gives Sampson a chance to show what he can do.
Cooper Jones — The converted quarterback is settling into his role at tight end but has already burnt his redshirt sitting out last year. UNT lost Daniel Prior for the year to a shoulder injury, but is deep at the position with Andrew Power and Drew Miller returning and several other young players coming on, including Marcus Smith. Jones might need to show something today to earn a role this year.