Ohio offers a blueprint for North Texas football

Posted Friday, Sep. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information North Texas (1-0) at Ohio (0-1) 6 p.m. Saturday Radio: KHYI/95.3-FM, KNTU/88.1-FM Head to head
UNTOhio
Pts/game407
Total off.591273
Pass off.404192
Rush off.18781
3rd down57.1%33%
Pts allowed649
Total def.369615
Pass def.230416
Rush def.139199
3rd down 35.7%81.3%

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Whether or not North Texas coaches have brewed a competitive football team for its inaugural Conference USA campaign will be played out over the next 11 weeks.

But coach Dan McCarney is sure of one thing: He’s not raising fools.

No one on his team, the coach insisted, looked at last week’s results and made any presumptions heading into Ohio week.

The Mean Green opened with a 40-6 blowout victory over Idaho, a one-win team a season ago, while Ohio was the recipient of a 49-7 beating against Louisville, a Top 10 team with a Heisman Trophy candidate.

“No one is fooled in our program… by the outcome of that game,” McCarney said. “Ohio has a hell of a football team and we know how hard it’s going to be to win.”

North Texas visits Athens, Ohio, for a 7 p.m. kickoff Saturday against the Bobcats, who are seeking their 16th victory in their last 22 games and 21 of their last 26 at home.

Ohio enters its home opener looking for a fifth straight bowl appearance. The Bobcats, who return 16 players from an Independence Bowl winner, are led by quarterback Tyler Tettleton, a senior and member of the Johnny Unitus Golden Arm watch list.

Tettleton, son of former Texas Rangers player Mickey Tettleton, needs 87 yards passing to surpass 6,500 in his college career.

Ohio’s program under coach Frank Solich is the blueprint for the Mean Green, McCarney said: A team that competes every week, earns bowl berths and garners respect from everyone in the country.

“That’s the program I want to build at North Texas,” McCarney said. “They are who we want to become.

“They win and they’re successful.”

Part of that is winning games you’re supposed to win, such as Idaho last week.

Quarterback Derek Thompson passed for 349 yards and two touchdowns in a 40-6 victory in Game 1.

“It’s a good start,” said McCarney, whose defense collected three turnovers against the Vandals. “We know it’s going to be a much bigger challenge, obviously, this week.”

Flag the flags

One area Dan McCarney wants to see improvement from his team is penalties. Game officials hit the Mean Green with seven penalties for 72 yards.

That was, however, better than the original stat sheet, which listed North Texas with eight penalties for 152 yards, a mistake resulting perhaps from someone “sipping Jack Daniel’s during the game,” the coach suggested.

Seven, though, is still too many, McCarney said, but his team is not “a bunch of undisciplined horses rear ends” as the original stat sheet suggested.

Taking center stage

Twenty-five players made their debuts with North Texas last Saturday to mixed reviews from the coach.

Among them was center Kaydon Kirby, the former walk-on from Flower Mound who beat out junior college transfer Shawn McKinney for the starting job.

A redshirt freshman, Kirby was put on scholarship only days before the Mean Green’s first game.

Kirby got a thumbs up from Derek Thompson, who appears to be developing good chemistry with the new center.

“He’s like my little brother,” Thompson said. “He busted his butt. I’ve never seen an ovation like that when they announced the scholarship.

“I’m excited about what he can do. He has a lot to learn, but for his first game I think he did really well.”

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