North Texas coach Dan McCarney, already excitable when it comes to the subject of his football team, turned his annual National Signing Day news conference into a stem-winder.
Quarterback has become his “Niagara Falls” topic. He is resolved to fixing instability at the position. Three started there last season and all, in the estimation of the coach, performed below average during a 4-8 campaign.
“You’re damn right we’re not good enough,” said McCarney on Wednesday at Apogee Stadium. “We weren’t productive, we weren’t consistent and we didn’t play good enough at the quarterback position to get this program where it should be every season.
“I just don’t like being below average; I don’t like being average. And that’s where we were at our best at quarterback this year.”
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As a result of this bee in his bonnet, North Texas coaches didn’t sit around and “twiddle their thumbs” during recruiting.
In fact, the quarterback corps now resembles a busy lunch hour line at Chick-fil-A after signing two more in the Mean Green’s recruiting Class of 2015.
When the whistle blows to assemble spring practice on March 10, no fewer than seven quarterbacks will take snaps, including Longview Pine Tree product Caleb Chumley, who enrolled for UNT’s spring semester.
An eighth will be on hand when fall practice begins. That is DaMarcus Smith, a junior college transfer from Butler Community College in Kansas.
Chumley, who played in only four games as a senior because of a toe injury, and Smith will join a core competition that will include junior Josh Greer, senior Andrew McNulty and redshirt sophomore Dajon Williams, all of whom made starts last season. The three combined to throw for 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Connor Means, a redshirt freshman, will also be in the mix.
“If those three guys who started games get their tails in gear and get a helluva lot better then maybe they’ll start Sept. 12 at SMU.
“If they don’t, we brought some guys in who we think can compete for that job.”
McCarney heralded the Mean Green’s Class of 2015 as the best in his four full seasons on the job.
North Texas signed 25 players, including eight from the ranks of the junior colleges. In addition to Smith, coaches believe transfers will be capable of making a mark in 2015.
Among them is defensive end Jareid Combs, who had 25 sacks in two seasons at Iowa Central Community College, including 17 as a junior college honorable mention All-American last season. Linebacker Cortney Finney was selected the national junior college defensive player of the year in 2014. The Mean Green beat out five others for Finney, including UT El Paso.
Smith was among the nation’s top dual-threat prospects as a high school senior at Kentucky’s Seneca High School in the Class of 2013, passing for almost 8,000 yards and 75 touchdowns in three seasons.
At Butler last season, Smith passed for 2,746 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Kevin Dillman, a native of Sweden who was once a highly sought-after signal caller from California, will not play quarterback, McCarney vowed. Dillman transferred to Denton Guyer and was ruled ineligible by the UIL because of transfer rules.
He had originally committed to Nebraska to play quarterback until the coaching change there.
Dillman, 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, will be a tight end at North Texas.
“This guy has a chance to be a freak, really special, but it won’t be at quarterback,” said McCarney.
In fact, McCarney compared Dillman to Marv Cook, the former NFL tight end who changed positions at Iowa after being a star high school quarterback.
“He said: ‘That sounds good, coach. Who’s Marv Cook?’ He’s one of my favorites from this class.”