I was looking through the UNT football spring depth chart shortly after it was released and noticed something.
Has anyone stopped to consider how many seniors will probably be playing key roles this year?
Heading into the 2012 season, the talk was about how few seniors UNT would have to replace in 2013. Tight end Andrew Power was a pretty big loss as were defensive end K.C. Obi, wide receiver Ivan Delgado and to a certain extent linebacker Jeremy Phillips.
I haven’t had a chance to point it out until now, but there are a ton of vital seniors on this season’s team, which is good from an experience standpoint, bad when you think about replacing some of them.
Linebacker Zach Orr might be the best player on the roster and is a senior. So is right tackle LaChris Anyiam and defensive end Brandon McCoy, but it doesn’t stop there.
Here are some of the 0ther seniors this year who should play key roles:
WR Brelan Chancellor — UNT’s best wide receiver and returner
QB Derek Thompson — Say what you want. He’s UNT’s starter at this point
LB Will Wright — Another key defensive starter
RB Brandin Byrd — UNT always seems to have good backs, but he has played a key role for several years
S Zed Evans — Looks like he will start in his one season at UNT
S Marcus Trice — Could end up starting again this year, will play a lot
DT Ryan Boutwell — Maybe UNT’s best defensive tackle
DT Richard Abbe — Another starter at a position UNT has struggled to recruit players since the bowl years
DE Aaron Bellazin — Another solid player
CB Hilbert Jackson — He has played a lot
WR Darnell Smith — He could start this year
WR Lynrick Plesant — Another guy who looks like he will be in the two-deep
TE Drew Miller — He will play a lot
TE Daniel Prior — Another contributor
K Zach Olen — Very good specialist
What one has to hope from UNT’s perspective is that all those guys in their last year will put their hearts and souls into the 2013 season and help UNT turn it around. That is a pretty reasonable expectation.
And I can already hear the argument that follows — UNT hasn’t won anything with this batch of seniors, so it will be easy to replace them. There is some truth to that. But there are some good players on UNT’s roster who will be pretty hard to replace individually, especially Orr. People have made the same argument every year. That UNT’s talent level will improve with the next recruiting class and so will the Mean Green’s record. Only it hasn’t worked that way — at least not to the point where UNT has gotten to .500 — in years.
Consider the class as a whole and it becomes a pretty significant changing of the guard after this season.
It will go one of two ways. This turns out to be the batch of guys who turn it and help UNT land the type of recruiting class that will help fill the void when they leave. Or UNT could struggle again this year and see a pretty significant batch of players leave, and a whole lot of holes to fill when they depart.
It’s just something to consider with a senior-laden roster.