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North Texas Football Preview
by Matt Fargo - 07/28/2008
No. 113 North Texas Mean Green
2007 Record ~ 2-10 SU ~ 4-7 ATS
Starters Returning ~ Offense (8) Defense (6)
It seems such a long time ago that North Texas dominated the Sun Belt. It dominated so much in fact that it won 26 straight conference games and the conferences first four championships. In reality, that was only four years ago and since then, the Mean Green have been anything but mean. They have gone 7-28 overall including 5-16 in the SBC over the last three seasons and they are at least another year away from competing. Head coach Todd Dodge is in just his second season and he is showing hope for the future.
In the glory days, North Texas relied on a potent rushing game and an attacking defense. Neither of those are part of the program anymore. The Mean Green are all about passing and the offense will once again be potent. They averaged 24.8 ppg last season, up exactly 12 ppg from 2006 so the new spread offense was very effective. At quarterback, Giovanni Vizza shattered the freshman record for passing yards but had 20 picks. He will be pushed by freshman Riley Dodge, the coachâ€™s son and an original Texas commitment.
The offensive line returns four starters so pass protection will be better following 39 sacks allowed last season, 110th in the nation. The running game averaged 166.3 ypg over the last four games so there could be some improvement there. The defense is where the real issues are however. North Texas allowed an incredible 45.1 ppg which was last in the nation and it gave up 66 points or more three times. It rehired defensive coordinator Gary DeLoach to rebuild the unit and it should improve but will still struggle again.
Playing in the Sun Belt Conference usually means a top heavy schedule for most teams and it is no exception for North Texas. The Mean Green start the season at Kansas St. followed by a home game against Tulsa and then at LSU. A game at Rice rounds out the non-conference slate. The first two SBC games are at home against Florida International and La-Lafayette and a 2-0 start will do wonders. There will be a lot of points on both sides all season so look for value in the totals and find those spots to play the over.