After a brief hiatus from our summer questions series on UNT football, we are back at it today with question No. 10 — Does the pressure to break through break UNT?
I’ve been working on a series of stories that will run later in the summer on the 100th year of UNT football that will look at the program’s past and its future.
The one thing I’ve heard over and over from UNT officials, coaches and fans is the bottom line — “UNT just needs to win some football games.”
That isn’t exactly breaking news. It’s the same thing fans and boosters have been saying as well.
UNT hasn’t posted a winning season since 2004 and is tied with UAB for the sixth longest bowl drought in the country. UNT is also entering its third year under Dan McCarney, who like any other coach sees the pressure and expectations rise as the years go by. He’s done a lot of move the program forward, but there is little doubt people are getting anxious to see that bowl drought end.
UNT also has a pretty high number of key seniors who are down to their last shot to get to a bowl game, including Zach Orr and Derek Thompson, who will be feeling the heat this year. Thompson could well be the key to UNT’s season after highly touted transfer Brock Berglund missed essentially all of spring practice with a hamstring injury. The senior seems like the odds on favorite to start at quarterback again this fall.
What one has to wonder is how UNT handles that pressure, especially if a stretch of games following a season-opening home date against Idaho that appears tough on paper proves to be as challenging as it could be.
The heat will start to rise on UNT if it slides under .500 and toward and ninth straight losing season late in the year.
This all becomes a moot point if UNT beats Idaho and turns around to upset Ohio or beat Ball State at home. Beating Tulane in what looks like a winnable game to open C-USA play would also help matters significantly.
How UNT handles the pressure if it drops a few games early in the season could well determine how the Mean Green finishes its first season in C-USA.
Here’s our list:
No. 1 — Is Mac still the same old Mac?
No. 2 — Can Derek Thompson get it done?
No. 3 — Is a tough schedule a killer for UNT?
No. 4 — Can UNT find some help at wide receiver?
No. 5 — Is UNT in trouble up front defensively?
No. 6 — Can UNT improve its efficiency?
No. 7 — Can UNT replace a few key seniors who graduated?
No. 8 — Does a difference-maker emerge?
No. 9 — Will the ball finally bounce UNT’s way?
No. 10 — Does the pressure to break through break UNT?