I would have come back and posted some additional thoughts on UNT’s scrimmage on Sunday. It would have made sense from a timing standpoint, but I had to make my annual call to Get Your Rear on the Record before my season preview came out in the Morning News.
I went with the homer pick of 6-6 (more on that later).
I didn’t get a chance to see UNT scrimmage. UNT has closed practice again this fall.
I did talk to a few of the pertinent parties after the workout, though, which provided a little insight into what is going on behind the scenes. UNT’s defense — the one with just three starters back and on the field has controlled the action most of the way in fall workouts. Offensive coordinator Mike Canales mentioned that UNT looked better and got into the end zone with a little more regularity during the first scrimmage of the fall.
Canales is trying to get it done with very few proven playmakers. He did a great job last year and will have less proven talent to work with this year. Antoinne Jimmerson’s name keeps coming up. I am starting to think he is going to be UNT’s starting running back.
What I am starting to wonder about when it comes to UNT on the offensive side of the ball is if this team is going to lack a deep threat on the outside again this season. UNT had just 11 pass plays of 30 yards or more last season, and two of them went to Dunbar.
UNT’s opponents stacked the line last season to stop Dunbar, which should have opened up the deep ball a little more than it did. I wondered if Chaz Sampson would be that deep threat, but his stock seems to be falling a bit, freshman Roderick Lancaster is out for the year. Carlos Harris is a converted running back who is 5-8. The other option is Nick Schrapps, who seems to be getting a long look. We just don’t know how fast he is yet, not in a fall when practice is closed.
UNT was a grind it out team last year, and that worked out well against some of the bad defensive teams in the Sun Belt like Middle Tennessee. The top teams in the Sun Belt in scoring defense during conference play were Arkansas State, Florida International and Western Kentucky. UNT lost Derek Thompson early on against ASU, but the bottom line is ASU held UNT to 14, FIU held UNT to 16 and WKU held UNT to 21, and seven of those points came on a meaningless touchdown with 46 seconds left in the Hilltoppers 31-21 win.
Brelan Chancellor is an explosive player in the slot and Chris Bynes and Ivan Delgado are solid players on the outside. It would just really help UNT if it could stretch the field a little with a receiver outside the numbers.
I’m also keep getting the feeling that we are going to see a lot of Devante Davis and Zac Whitfield at cornerback this season. UNT didn’t have a lot back at that spot outside of Hilbert Jackson anyway and those two guys’ names keep coming up.
And now for one of my favorite features of the year. Here is our first “Get Your Rear on the Record” update:
9-3 — L.D. Stacy III
8-4 – ATXScrappy, Jeremy Roden
7-6 – SHOSS, Lynn Ramsey, Kellen Jemeyson
7-5 – Joe Eckstein, Andrew David Morris
6-6 – Brett Vito, Steve Baker, Sarah Kelley, Bruce Lathrop, Chris Ballard, Matthew Taylor
6-7 — Todd Samuels
5-7 – GreenFlag
One of the best parts of this whole exercise (and it takes weeks for the picks to trickle in) is that it gives us the pulse of the Mean Green Nation.
So what does this tell us so far?
There is a real sense of optimism out there, at least so far.
There are few experts on the planet that are picking UNT to go better than 6-6. Most have UNT headed for an eighth straight losing season.
Of the 15 people who have checked in so far, only one has UNT finishing less than 6-6 at the end of the regular season.
I went with 6-6 and squirmed a little doing it because UNT going to have to win every game it looks like it has a chance to win on paper (Texas Southern, Troy, Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee, South Alabama and Louisiana-Monroe) or win five of the six and then pull an upset (Western Kentucky would be the best bet).
Keep the picks coming. We will see if UNT fans are all on the same page.