Returning Starters – Offense: 6 Defense: 6
Preview: North Texas took a huge step back last season going from 9 wins in 2013 to just 4 wins in 2014. With only 12 starters returning there remains a lot os uncertainty to a team that’s seems destined for another low finish in CUSA. Head coach Dan McCarney has had his ups and downs with the Mean Green as the team is 22-27 in his 4 years as the head man.
The offense was disastrous last season ranking near the bottom of the FBS in many statistical categories. The Mean Green will bring in OC Mike Canales to increase the pace of the offense and hopeful improve a unit that doesn’t have much room to get worse. The QB position had an open competition, but it doesn’t appear anyone was able to take over 2014 starter Andrew McNulty. During the offseason McNulty has shown progress and the team is hoping he can make a big leap this season. The O-line was once the strength of the team, but with 4 starters moving on this unit will be a work in progress. The run game will be a major feature of the offense with returning players Jimmerson and Wilson leading the position. The receiver position is also in good shape with guys like Harris, Goree, and Smith ready to produce.
The defensive line was a rebuilding project last season, but with 3 returning starters this unit will now be looked to for some stability. The depth on the D-line is apparent and the unit will be led by pass rushers like Combs, Polk, and Tillman. There’s significant losses in talent coming in the back 7 of the defense. The LB corps will be led by returning starter Scott and Buffalo transfer Bean. The secondary has proven commodities in CB Kenny Buyers and FS Kishawn McClain. The rest of the unit will be inexperienced and worked in early on.
Prediction: This team took a big step back in 2014 and there’s not much reason to believe this squad can get any better in 2015. In a hope to cover up the inexperience of the O-line, North Texas will try to speed up the tempo of the offense. The defense has a number of new faces and the unit hopes to improve under new DC Cosh. The schedule also doesn’t do North Texas any favors with only 5 games coming at home and no off weeks after not playing in week 1. A bowl game for the Mean Green is likely out of reach.
Projected Record: 3-9 (2-6)