I have made the trip back to the hotel down in Nashville and have had some time to formulate a few thoughts.
There really is no way around it. This season was pretty disappointing overall. People had really high hopes for UNT’s final season in the Sun Belt after a 5-7 finish last year only to see UNT go 4-8.
I picked UNT to finish better than it did (stay tuned for the annual “Get Your Rear on the Record” winners), but had some reservations to begin with that came home to roost.
UNT didn’t have a whole lot to work with offensively to start with and lost two key players in running back Antoinne Jimmerson and wide receiver Brelan Chancellor. Derek Thompson is an average Sun Belt quarterback, which makes him look like a superstar by UNT standards, but it does present problems.
Thompson didn’t come out of the locker room after the game. He was pretty upset about the pick 6 he threw.
But back to the point. UNT’s leading receiver tonight was Darnell Smith. He’s a solid player. He’s also a walk-on. Ivan Delgado also had a couple of catches — again, walk-on.
UNT’s second-leading rusher was Jeremy Brown — another walk-on.
The popular thing to do in the next couple of days is going to be throwing Mike Canales under the bus. McCarney said he was disappointed that UNT didn’t score after its defense made some stops.
I just don’t know what else Canales can do with what he has to work with.
What we could be overlooking as well is that UNT’s defense cracked late after playing well early. WKU scored on consecutive drives after Jonathan Dowling returned Thompson’s interception for a touchdown.
It would have been three straight, but Antonio Andrews slid down at the UNT 1 so that WKU could run the clock out.
Any way you look at it, UNT is in a tough spot. Conference USA will be tougher, the schedule will not be very favorable with Georgia, Ball State and Ohio and a full C-USA league slate and UNT is going to lose some key guys, including a center it might not have a replacement for in Aaron Fortenberry if Boone Feldt isn’t ready and several other contributors. Think guys like KC Obi, Jeremy Phillips and Will Atterberry will be easy to replace?
UNT thought all those guys in its secondary would be easy to replace as well. They weren’t.
And just for the sake of argument, let’s say UNT does switch up its staff.
Some of those guys have been on the road recruiting for quite a while. It wouldn’t be a huge deal, but you do jettison a lot of work some of those guys have done with recruits if they depart stage left.
UNT is having a hard enough time putting together a good recruiting class as it is. I know people want to run Canales out of town at this point, but he was heavily involved in recruiting Houston area quarterback Dajon Williams.
It might be hard to hang on to Williams without Canales. Wide receiver Darvin Kidsy is also wavering. TCU is sniffing around.
What makes the whole situation worse for UNT is that SMU upset Tulsa today and is headed to a bowl, which will leave the Mean Green as the only team among the Dallas trio of UNT, TCU and SMU that won’t he headed to the postseason.
The Macaulay Culkin Era continues. UNT will be home alone for the holidays.
That just puts UNT behind overall.
How does UNT recover?
That’s something McCarney will be pondering the next few days.