McCarney press conference notes and thoughts

Dan McCarney wrapped up UNT’s spring practice this afternoon with a press conference.

I was there, along with Joe from The Ticket.

Here were the highlights:

– The quarterback battle stands about where I have been saying it stands the last few weeks. McCarney said that Derek Thompson is the starter at this point, Andrew McNulty is the second guy and Brock Berglund is sitting third.

McCarney said that McNulty is our most improved offensive player on the team.

“Derek has really gotten better,” McCarney said. “He needed to because McNulty has really improved. He is our best quarterback running the ball, but it is a complete thing, which is why you see D.T. at No. 1 and McNulty at No. 2.”

The hamstring injury Berglund suffered in the end of the Mean Green Olympics that mark the end of winter workouts has really put him behind.

“Brock has missed a lot of practices,”McCarney said. “We know a little more about him, but not much because he has missed a lot of practices, scrimmages and opportunities to get into the hunt. He is really not in the hunt right now for the top two spots because he has missed out on some of the most important evaluations we have had this spring. We have not given up on him. He still has three years and still has talent. We are glad he is here, but going into tomorrow, clearly D.T. is No. 1, McNulty is No. 2 and Berglund is No. 3.”

– McCarney also talked a lot about establishing a culture in spring practice, which is not uncommon. When Darrell Dickey was running winter ball years ago now, UNT would hammer away for hours at a time to establish the physical ability to wear other teams out with a pounding running game and a physical defense. UNT really drilled on the passing game over and over the last few years until McCarney got to town and started to stress fundamentals.

“If you really get good at fundamentals and learn the system so that you can play with confidence and then master things that take no talent what so ever – that is effort, that is toughness and that is the ability to communicate with your coaches and teammates, that is a really good start for 2013,” McCarney said. “We have done a good job of that. I really like where we are at right now.”

– There was some interesting talk about who has played well and moved up the depth chart. Outside of McNulty, the interesting name was Kenny Buyers. The walk-on cornerback has had a good spring. I have mentioned him a few times on the blog, noting that he has been working with the first team at times. What surprised me was that McCarney said he is on the same line (an either-or situation) with Zac Whitfield. Buyers isn’t even on scholarship at this point. Whitfield has not had a bad camp. Buyers has just played that well.

– McCarney continued to hit on the fact that all of UNT’s transfers are in the two-deep.

– Walk-on Kaydon Kirby is still holding on to the starting center job with Shawn McKinney pushing for playing time.

– McCarney likes UNT’s depth on its offensive line. Backups Justin Manu and McKinney will play.

– McCarney also made a point of encouraging fans to come out to the series of events that will take place this weekend, including the basketball practice facility dedication, the Hall of Fame luncheon and the spring game.

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