North Texas opened the second week of spring practice this morning at the Darrell R. Dickey Football Practice Facility.
I had a story ready to run in today’s paper about where UNT’s defense stands now that Troy Reffett has taken over full time after sharing the responsibilities of coordinating the Mean Green’s defense with Mike Ekeler.
Ekeler left UNT after last season and landed at North Carolina..
That plan went up in smoke when UNT fired men’s basketball coach Tony Benford on Sunday night.
My story on Reffett’s take will now run later in the week, but he did make one interesting point I wanted to get to today.
Reffett’s biggest concern is UNT’s depth at a few spots, particularly at linebacker.
“Brandon Garner got some good playing time and E.J. [Ejiya] got some reps along with Josh [Wheeler],” Reffett said. “There is some experience with the ones [first team], but after that I don’t know if we have anyone who has played a snap. That is the concern.”
UNT lost starters Fred Scott and Cortney Finney to graduation.
Even the suspects list is a little short. Oklahoma Baptist transfer Zack Bishop is one player who is seeing time.
How that second-team linebacker unit develops will be something to watch over the next few weeks.
And in other notes and observations …
– Jalen Guyton continues to improve and is about as physically imposing as any wide receiver UNT has had in a long time. He’s every bit of his listed size of 6-1, 202. And he can run. He made a nice catch over the middle today and later caught a touchdown pass from Mason Fine. He made a great play on the ball, regained his balance and got into the end zone. Guyton should make an impact in the fall.
– Defensive linemen Bryce English and T.J. Tauaalo both made impressive plays to get into the backfield and post tackles for loss in team drills.
– Running back Christian Hosley continues to see time with UNT’s first-team offense. He made a nice catch out of the backfield and scored on a 5-yard run.
– Tyler Wilson caught a long touchdown pass from Quinn Shanbour.
– Jameel Moore broke up a pass down the sideline in a one-on-one situation. Moore appears to be coming along well and is taking advantage of extended playing time with Eric Jenkins down due to injury.
– Khairi Muhammad is still working with UNT’s first-team defense and appears to be a lock to partner with Kishawn McClain at safety.
– Kelvin Smith made a great catch over the middle on a pass from Devlin Isadore.
– Turner Smiley caught a touchdown pass from Isadore and later caught a second on a pass from freshman Cade Pearson.
– Jason Pirtle caught a ball over the middle from Mason Fine, his old high school teammmate.
– Caleb Chumley’s transition to playing tight end is still a work in progress. He has showed potential at times, but also dropped a ball over the middle.