Player video interviews and notes

This is a video I shot yesterday with linebacker Jeremy Phillips and defensive end Aaron Bellazin. We talked a little about UNT’s win over Florida Atlantic, Saturday’s game against Houston and who has the best beard on the team.

Phillips is wearing a pink cast on his broken arm in honor of breast cancer awareness. It’s the type of cast that immobilizes his thumb. He can still play, which is good for UNT. That type of cast will make it difficult to catch the ball and make tackling a little tougher. He won’t be able to grab anything with that hand.

This is a link to my all-sports notebook in today’s paper.

I talk about UNT focusing on the running game at the top of it. It’s something I mentioned briefly on the blog yesterday. I was really surprised that UNT didn’t run the ball better. FAU stacked the line of scrimmage all night and dared UNT to throw it.

I thought McCarney’s comment on how teams will take that approach the rest of the season was telling. Outside of Brelan Chancellor, UNT’s passing game doesn’t strike a lot of fear in opponents.

The news that Freddie Warner could be out for the rest of the season was also pretty important. A couple of people e-mailed me or questioned the stance that he is UNT’s best defensive back and best guy in coverage. That isn’t my evaluation. That is something McCarney and several assistants have told me multiple times since last year. Warner is a really good player. We just haven’t seen him that often due to the injuries he has suffered the last two years.

UNT’s young secondary has been really good so far this year, considering its overall lack of experience. UNT held Troy, which might have the best overall passing game in the Sun Belt, in check in a 14-7 loss. The tests are going to keep on coming, though, starting on Saturday at Houston. The Cougars rank eighth nationally in passing yards per game at 350.3.

Houston will certainly take some shots at UNT’s secondary.