2022 North Texas Mean Green Preview

by Matt Fargo

North Texas Mean Green

2021-22 Season Record 6-7 (5-3 C-USA West) - 9-4-0 ATS - 4-8-1 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 8
Defense - 5

Overview

It has been a roller coaster ride for North Texas football after bottoming out in the first decade of the 2000s. Dan McCarney brought some life into the program including a bowl game in 2013 and then he too bottomed out and current head coach Seth Littrell inherited a 1-11 team and the turn around came quick with a 19-17 record in his first three seasons but it has been three straight losing campaigns since then but last year we might have seen something that could influence this team going forward - determination. The Mean Green opened with a win over FCS Northwestern St. and then it was six straight losses. Instead of quitting on Littrell, they rallied around him by winning their last five games to become bowl eligible for the fifth time in six years. Even though North Texas lost to Miami Ohio in the Frisco Bowl, the 2021 ending can carry some confidence for a team in need.

Offense

Plain and simple, the offense last season was a major disappointment. After finishing 2020 ranked No. 7 in total offense, North Texas brought back 10 of those starters including quarterback Austin Aune who was ready for a breakout but instead, the Mean Green regressed by 100 ypg on offense to finish No. 30 in total offense and No. 67 in scoring offense. Aune is back but will be tested for the starting role but competition is a good thing to have. Also good to have are three excellent receivers to throw to led by Roderic Burns who had 54 catches and 715 yards. The passing numbers were down because of inaccuracy at quarterback and because the running game flourished, finishing No. 3 in the country behind DeAndre Torrey who ran for over 1,200 yards but he is gone and second leading rusher Ikaika Ragsdale takes over. Four of five starters from the offensive line return.

Defense

The defense improved enormously as the Mean Green dropped over 125 ypg from 2020 to finish No. 67 overall after ranking No. 127 the previous year. It certainly was not a great unit, yet the improvement was one of the best in the country but what goes up looks like it will come down as six starters have to be replaced and some are irreplaceable. One starter that is back is linebacker K.D. Davis who led the team with 120 tackles and he will have to carry the defense until it can all come together. Losses up front will be impossible to overcome as Gabriel and Grayson Murphy combined for 15 of the 38 team sacks and that is hard to overcome. In addition to those two, both tackles also have to be replaced to the front four looks shaky at best. The secondary has three of four starters back and will have get after the ball better as the six interceptions were tied for No. 109 in the country.

2022 Season Outlook

Last year was a success even though it was a losing one based on how it transpired. Littrell is still considered a coach with a ton of upside and the second half of last season showed that as he united his team to reach down and that they did. Even if the turn around did not come, he likely would have been safe still because of the upside he possesses. That being said, this will be one of his toughest coaching tests since coming to Denton with all of the attrition and the fact the upcoming schedule is a monster. Five of the six road games are against teams .500 or better from last year and are expected to be even better. The home portion is much easier with five of the six against some poor teams so the opposite of this home/road slate would have been ideal. The O/U win total is 6.5 and that looks to be right where it should be as it will take an upset or two on the road to get over this number. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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