After looking back through my notes from UNT’s football press conference today, the one topic I thought would be worth exploring a little more is the Mean Green’s plan to diversify its offense this season.
UNT struggled at times last year, and while Derek Thompson was the convenient one to blame a lot of the time, the Mean Green’s issues were a little larger than that. UNT really struggled at wide receiver last year. Dan McCarney used some strong words to describe UNT’s production, and none of them were particularly nice words.
The point is UNT’s coaches believe they will have more options and plan to use them this year, thanks to some transfers and guys who redshirted last year.
I thought it was particularly interesting that offensive coordinator Mike Canales asked Thompson to drop weight to improve his speed (he’s down about 15 pounds). UNT had Thompson put on 15 last year because of the type of offense it was going to run.
UNT thought last year that its strengths were its power running game (still is) and its tight ends. Canales moved away from the quarterback run game and had Thompson try to stand in there and deliver the ball.
Canales talked a little today about getting back to the dual-threat quarterback system and throwing the ball down the field to a new batch of wide receivers who should be capable of being a threat. McCarney mentioned that UNT’s outside receivers caught just four touchdown passes all year, which is not good. It’s downright bad.
UNT has Brock Berglund sitting there. He’s ideal dual-threat guy. Thompson should be back in that mode (as much as his running ability will allow) this season after cutting weight.
UNT used a lot of quarterback run early in Canales’ time with the team and will get back to it this season.
The idea is that it will make UNT tougher to defend and give opponents something else to worry about.
A lot of mid-major type programs use similar systems. How many times did Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin torch UNT? I don’t have the official total handy, but short answer — a lot.
If Thompson/Berglund can rush for 500 yards and throw for a couple thousand and UNT’s stable of running backs can rush for a couple thousand, UNT will be in business.
The only danger in the system is that the quarterback is a little more exposed and is at a greater risk of injury.
That is a gamble UNT will take again this year.