UNT players report tomorrow, thoughts, notes entering camp Part I

UNT’s players report for the beginning of fall camp tomorrow with practice and media day to follow on Monday.

We have been talking about how UNT’s roster shapes up and some of the key issues the Mean Green faces heading into the fall since the end of spring practice.

There is a feeling around UNT that this could be the year the Mean Green turns it around, and that maybe its UNT’s last good chance to turn it around after eight straight losing seasons. With so many seniors in key spots, it’s easy to see why. And that does not even take into account the one-time chance to get off on the right foot in Conference USA.

Practice will be closed up tighter than a drum again this year, which means we won’t see much, OK any, of the Mean Green before the season opener against Idaho.

What issues will UNT be working on behind the scenes?

Here are some thoughts:

Will Derek Thompson make the next step?

DT was not nearly as bad as people make him out to be last year while operating an offense with two playmakers in Brelan Chancellor and Antoinne Jimmerson who were both gone by the end of the year. Can he improve on a 14 TD, 14 INT season this fall? UNT needs him to be at least an average quarterback in C-USA, which has a lot of really good players at the position.

Are there any playmakers on offense ready to emerge?

UNT leaned heavily on Jimmerson and Chancellor last season. Is there anyone else? There had better be because C-USA is a high-scoring offensive based league. UNT needs wide receiver Darius Terrell and running back Reggie Pegram to produce after transferring in and sitting out last season.

Is UNT’s defense heading the right direction?

This was glossed over last year, but UNT gave up at least 37 points in three of its last the Mean Green’s last five games and gave up two late scores in a season-ending loss to Western Kentucky. UNT’s defense had a chance to save the Mean Green’s bacon after Jonathan Dowling returned an interception for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and didn’t do it. UNT is going to face a whole lot better offenses this year and needs to improve.

And speaking of teams with pretty good offenses on UNT’s schedule, Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning underwent knee surgery this week:

If one has followed UNT for any length of time, you know the rest of the story. He is expected to be ready for Ball State’s season opener and should be back to full strength by the time he faces UNT on Sept. 14.

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