MGB video: McCarney discusses where UNT is at after spring practice

UNT has wrapped up spring practice. So how did it go? Dan McCarney gives us his impressions in the video above.

Thursday afternoon notes (Former Guyer QB to SMU, UNT grads sign extensions)

There have been a few items of interest I have been meaning to get to in the last couple of days. Here’s a quick lap around the world of UNT athletics as I empty out the notebook. …

First off, there is nothing UNT fans like more than keeping tabs on SMU, the Mean Green’s neighbor to the south and key competitor in a lot of ways.

I bring it up because a player with local ties elected to Pony up today. Nationally ranked quarterback David Moore, who was briefly at Guyer, committed to SMU today. He was only around for a couple of months vying for the starting job before Jerrod Heard, the potential starting quarterback at Texas, handed the job off to Shawn Robinson, the No. 1 ranked dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2017 who just picked up an offer from Alabama.

It doesn’t look like UNT was ever involved with Moore, and considering the number of young quarterbacks on the roster, that makes sense. He was also all the way down in Georgia finishing out his high school career.

Moore landing at SMU is just something to watch down the line. There would be a lot of interest if someone who made a pit stop at Guyer ends up starting at quarterback for SMU in a game against UNT. The Mustangs are starting to build a little pipeline to Guyer. Wide receiver Alex Honey signed with the Mustangs last year. The Mean Green have Guyer product John Schilleci.

There has also been some good news that has come down in terms of former UNT players in the NFL. …

Both Craig Robertson and Lance Dunbar signed new contracts. Each has been a great representative of the Mean Green in the NFL.

And finally, the Charlotte Business Journal had a breakdown of the College Football playoffs revenue distribution by conference.

 

Conference BCS payout
1. Southeastern Conference $71.4 million
2. Pac-12 Conference $68.9 million
3. Big 12 Conference $67.4 million
4. Big Ten Conference $61.3 million
5. Atlantic Coast Conference $57.2 million
6. Mountain West Conference $20.7 million
7. Conference USA $15.2 million
8. American Athletic Conference $14.1 million
9.  Mid-American Conference $12 million
10. Sun Belt Conference $11.5 million
11. Independents $2.8 million

It’s a good sign for C-USA to come in ahead of the American when it comes to revenue distribution figures.

Mitchell adds Tron Griffin to staff

Griffin

Griffin

UNT announced late Wednesday night that Tron Griffin has joined Jalie Mitchell’s staff with the Mean Green women’s basketball program. Griffin has spent the last three seasons at Prairie View A&M.

Griffin will serve as UNT’s recruiting coordinator in addition to working with the Mean Green’s post players.

Griffin coached at Bethune-Cookman before joining the staff at Prairie View.

Griffin graduated from Bethune-Cookman, where he was a four-year letterman in football in addition to lettering one year in basketball.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of the brand-new staff and just helping this program get back to its winning ways,” Griffin said in a prepared statement. “I really appreciated how humbling it was to have Jalie explain her vision for the future of the North Texas program. After having the initial conversations with Jalie, then coming on campus and speaking with Rick [Villarreal], I was so grateful how welcoming everyone was.”

Griffin is originally from Florida.

“Tron is an impressive individual and you realize that as soon as you meet him,” Mitchell said in the release announcing the addition of Griffin. “He’s extremely confident, hard working and he carries himself very well. We crossed paths many times on the recruiting trail and he has always been focused, attentive and knowledgeable. I’m thrilled to have him join me on this journey.”

Kasondra Foreman, a former UNT player who has spent the last two seasons at Northwestern State, is also expected to join the staff.

Colin Voss talks about pro day, what happened with NCAA appeal, notes

I caught up with Colin Voss after his pro day workout this afternoon at Apogee Stadium and the Mean Green Athletic Center. The former UNT power forward with the basketball team is trying to make the jump to pro football, a goal he talked about during his senior season.

The Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs came by to see Voss work out. He ran an unofficial 4.93 40-yard dash and put up 18 bench reps.

I will have a story in tomorrow’s paper, but first a key point.

Voss said that he was considering playing one season of college football at UNT or Toledo, where his brother Trent is a defensive end.

The NCAA denied Voss’ appeal for an extra year of eligibility in football after his four seasons playing college basketball before he could make that decision.

“I didn’t close the door on college football, the NCAA did,” Voss said. “I tried to do it, but they wouldn’t grant me an extra year. I was planning to play a year here or at Toledo with my brother. Those are the two places I wanted to try.”

I asked UNT head coach Dan McCarney about Voss before finding out that Voss wouldn’t have the opportunity to play for the Mean Green, or anyone else for that matter.

McCarney said he would have been open to taking on a talented guy like the UNT senior.

McCarney never got the chance.

Voss found out pretty quickly that the NCAA wasn’t going to rule in his favor and turned his attention to his pro day, which he thought went well.

“I was pretty happy,” Voss said. “I hadn’t done those drills in five years now. I went out with a fun attitude.

“It was hard to say no to those two teams after they called me at home and reached out to me.”

And in a side note, UNT will be the homecoming opponent for Louisiana Tech on Nov. 7

UNT post-spring position battles: QB race remains intriguing

UNT running back Jeffrey Wilson carries the ball last season in a win over SMU at Apogee Stadium. Wilson is in line to start next season for the Mean Green and is  battling Antoinne Jimmerson, among others, for the lead role in the Mean Green's running back rotation, (Nathan Hunsinger/The Dallas Morning News)

UNT running back Jeffrey Wilson carries the ball last season in a win over SMU at Apogee Stadium. Wilson is in line to start next season for the Mean Green and is battling Antoinne Jimmerson, among others, for the lead role in the Mean Green’s running back rotation, (Nathan Hunsinger/The Dallas Morning News)

UNT wrapped up spring practice on Tuesday, but still has a lot of issues to work through before heading to SMU for its season-opener in the fall.

Among the Mean Green’s biggest dilemmas is settling on a new quarterback, but it’s far from the only decision UNT must make. There are multiple position battles that will extend into fall practice.

Here is a look at the most important of those battles and how they will impact the Mean Green’s efforts to bounce back from a 4-8 season.

Quarterback: There is no more important issue UNT faces than making a final decision at quarterback. The Mean Green entered the 2014 season looking for a way to replace Heart of Dallas Bowl MVP Derek Thompson and ended up starting three quarterbacks. None could fill the void Thompson left, but all three return in Andrew McNulty, Josh Greer and Dajon Williams. What makes the situation all the more intriguing is that JUCO transfer DaMarcus Smith was supposed to join the fray in spring, but was academically ineligible. He will arrive in the fall. McNutly came out of the spring game solidly atop UNT’s depth chart, but still has work to do to hang on to the job. The plan is for UNT to work with three quarterbacks in the fall, McNulty and Smith will be two of those players. The third will be either Greer or Williams.

Linebacker: UNT coach Dan McCarney said that the Mean Green need to improve at the position after last season, which doesn’t look like it will be easy following the graduation of All-Conference USA performer Derek Akunne. UNT has a few solid players to work with and a new defensive coordinator and linebacker coach in Chris Cosh. The Mean Green moved several of its players around with middle linebacker Fred Scott shifting outside and Jamal Marshall, who started at times last season, moving back to cornerback, his high school position. There is no telling how UNT will line up at SMU. A couple of key battles to watch are Scott versus highly regarded JUCO transfer Cortney Finney, Blake Bean vs. Anthony Wallace at middle linebacker (if Wallace can get healthy) and Sed Ellis vs. Calvin Minor at the other outside linebacker spot. Finney was arguably UNT’s biggest star defensively in UNT’s spring game and appears likely to start.

Cornerback: One of the interesting stories of the spring was Marshall’s move from outside linebacker to cornerback. It seemed like a bit of an odd move at the time, but Marshall looked good once he settled in. Marshall has always been one of the fastest players on UNT’s roster, but he struggled with coverage fundamentals when he first arrived. That prompted the Mean Green’s staff to move him to linebacker, where they thought he would grow into an impact player. He started at times last season, but his heart wasn’t at linebacker. Marshall asked to move back and dropped weight. Since Marshall made the switch, he has shown a better grasp of the fundamentals and is now in a heated competition with Chad Davis to start opposite Kenny Buyers.

Running back: One player who has shot up UNT’s depth chart since the middle of last season is running back Jeffrey Wilson. The Mean Green’s staff thought he was a star in the making when they signed him in 2014 out of Elkhart. Wilson was buried on UNT’s depth chart behind Reggie Pegram and Antoinne Jimmerson at the beginning of last season, but by the end of the year, he’d worked his way toward the top and rushed for 105 yards in a season-ending loss to UTSA. Wilson finished spring atop the depth chart and will battle Jimmerson for the starting job in the fall. Pegram is gone after graduating. Who starts might not matter a whole lot with the way UNT rotates running backs.

Offensive line: UNT lost four starters on its offensive line after last season and spent the spring trying to remake its lineup. By the time the spring game rolled around, redshirt freshman Chris Miles was in line to start at right tackle. He’s battling senior Micah Thompson for playing time. UNT is far from set up front outside of returning starting center Kaydon Kirby and will finish sorting out its lineup in the fall.

New Mexico JC C Ray Barreno to Portland

One of the players UNT was hoping would bolster its front court is off the market.

New Mexico JC center Ray Barreno has committed to Portland.

Barreno visited UNT just a few days ago. New Mexico JC coach James Miller told us this week that Barreno was going to pick between UNT and Portland.

The Mean Green are looking for front court help following the graduation of forwards Colin Voss and Armani Flannigan. Arlington Pantego Christian center Rickey Brice could end up being a key player for the Mean Green, but he’s only going to be a freshman this fall.

He’s also just one guy.

UNT also has Muhammed Ahmed, but still needs some help and hoped Barreno could provide it.

The Mean Green will now have to look elsewhere.

Former Guyer QB to make call this week

There isn’t a more proven commodity when it comes to developing high school quarterback talent in Texas high school football than John Walsh over at Guyer.

Walsh might just have the starting quarterback at Texas this year in Jerrod Heard. His son J.W. plays for for Oklahoma State and has started and he’s got the No. 1 quarterback in the country in the Class of 2017 in Shawn Robinson.

I bring it up because another one of Walsh’s products is set to announce his college destination this week, and he might be headed to UNT’s biggest rival. David Moore was briefly in the quarterback race at Guyer before it became apparent that Robinson was Walsh’s next elite national recruit.

Moore left Guyer to go back to Prosper and then landed at Milton High in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Moore is announcing this week and the expectation is the the 30th-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the country ends up at SMU.

I still find it humorous that there are still UNT fans bitter over Walsh’s assessment that Kevin Dillman is better off playing tight end in college and that he isn’t a college quarterback as evidence stacks up and up and up that clearly indicates that Walsh knows exactly what he’s talking about. UNT’s coaches agreed with that assessment, by the way.

It doesn’t look like UNT jumped into the race for Moore, even though he had some connections to town.

Just something to watch on Thursday when Moore commits.

Kasondra Foreman addition looking more official

This bit of news is destined to become old news before it ever becomes official.

Former UNT guard Kasondra Foreman has been hanging around town for the last several days. She was at Jalie Mitchell’s introductory press conference and at Saturday’s spring game, where I talked to her for a bit.

Nothing was officially official about her joining Mitchell’s staff then, and it still isn’t now. We still said that it seemed likely that Foreman is about to join UNT’s staff.

Seemed like a safe bet since the soon-to-be former Northwestern State assistant is very close to Mitchell. Throw in the fact that Foreman’s attire made her greener than your average house plant on Saturday and you can see where this is headed.

Well, Foreman made it official. Well, kinda official, tonight.

Expect an announcement in the next day or so.

Video: Andrew McNulty talks about spring practice with some notes

I swung by the final workout of spring practice today and will have a few football items in tomorrow’s UNT notebook.

Until then, a couple of highlights to go along with the video interview above of Andrew McNulty, you’re winner and still starting quarterback, after a spring practice battle royale for the top line on the depth chart.

– Cortney Finney made a huge impression in the spring and has moved up to the top line on the depth chart along with Fred Scott at one outside linebacker spot. I would be surprised if Finney isn’t starting in the fall.

– McCarney named Carlos Harris as one of UNT’s top spring performers, which is no surprise. What is more encouraging than hearing that one of UNT’s best players is still one of UNT’s best players is that Turner Smiley and Tee Goree also impressed the coaching staff.

– McCarney feels good about UNT’s spring adjustments, including going to an up-tempo offense and the adjustment the Mean Green made to Chris Cosh’s defense, which is a bit different from what UNT ran under John Skladany. It’s always interesting to hear the final analysis after spring workouts.

Land makes SC Top 10

If you’re around a TV and want to catch a nice moment for UNT, flip on SportsCenter.

Mallory Land made today’s top 10 plays for a catch in the Mean Green softball team’s 6-3 loss to Oklahoma. Land races to the fence on the third-base side, reaches over and catches a ball that appeared to be out of reach and about to drop safely foul.

The Sooners are ranked fifth nationally. It’s a tough test to go into Norman.

Fortunately for the Mean Green they headed north feeling a little better about its prospects late in the season.

UNT appeared like it was in big trouble in terms of making the Conference USA tournament not too long ago, but got off the deck after losing nine straight to take two out of three in a conference series with rival UTSA over the weekend.

The Mean Green (16-24) are 8-9 in league play heading into a doubleheader at home tomorrow against Stephen F. Austin. UNT will then head to Ruston over the weekend to take on Louisiana Tech.

There are eight teams that make the C-USA tournament. UNT is in a tie for seventh with Charlotte. UTEP is lurking a half game back at 8-10.