Wrap up thoughts — UNT is three practices into the spring and still has a long way to go. That is not exactly a newsflash, but I thought Dan McCarney made some telling comments after practice.
“I didn’t expect us to come out and look like a bowl championship team with that huge class of guys gone, but I expected us to practice better,” McCarney said. “The standards and expectations are in place. We have enough guys who know how to practice and need them to show the guys who don’t. We didn’t get enough of that today. That is leadership that will come.”
I just don’t think there is any way one can expect UNT to not miss a beat after losing so many key guys in key spots, including quarterback (Derek Thompson), middle linebacker (Zach Orr) and safety (Marcus Trice).
UNT will just need some time.
The battle everyone is watching is at quarterback. In the interest of full discloser, I did duck out to go by tennis practice and softball practice for a few minutes to pick up material for other things I’m working on, but from what I saw Dajon Williams still looks like he is faring well. UNT is still working different players with different units, but Williams moved the ball pretty well when he was in there.
Freshman Connor Means has also impressed me just by competing considering he could still be in high school. Josh Greer also looks like he can play and Andrew McNulty had his moments.
To my untrained, not-a-football-coach eye, I still think Williams is leading the race.
There are a ton of other interesting battles out there on the defensive line and other spots. Not a lot is settled with this team at the moment.
That is what will make the next few weeks interesting.
UNT’s defense had a good day overall and forced at least four turnovers in team drills.
And UNT is done.
Update 6:00 — Willie Hubbard caught a long touchdown pass from Andrew McNulty in team drills. Hubbard is having a nice day. Erick Evans, the younger brother of Zed Evans, broke free for a long touchdown run. Connor Means is seeing some time with the first team. UNT’s first-team defense recovered a Marcus Smith fumble after he caught a pass over the middle. Turner Smiley caught a long pass from Means in team drills.
Update 5:25 — Sed Ellis is UNT’s other outside linebacker on the first team. He is wearing No. 9 today, which is different from the roster. Cyril Lemon continues to work at tackle with Shawn McKinney at guard. Dajon Williams worked with the third team and moved the ball in team drills. He made a couple of good throws. UNT is still working different quarterbacks with the first-, second- and third-teams. Williams overthrew one ball on the sideline. McNulty threw a good ball over the middle. Freddie Warner intercepted a pass and returned it down the sideline. I have not been here the whole time, but Williams looks the best among the quarterbacks to me.
Update 5:02 — Darvin Kidsy, Carlos Harris and Willie Hubbard are fielding punts.
Defensive tackle Alexander Lincoln had a nice rep in pass rush drills, pushing his way quickly through the middle. Defensive end Andy Flusche also had a good turn in there.
Redshirt freshman tackle Harrison Sorge struggled a bit.
UNT is working out for the first time in pads today.
Here are a few observations:
UNT’s starting defense in inside drills is as follows
DE — Daryl Mason, Chad Polk
DT — Alexander Lincoln, Dutton Watson
OLB — Derek Akunne, Sed Ellis
MLB — Fred Scott
Sir Calvin Wallace is running with the third team.
Austin Orr made a nice play in inside drills.