How does the North Texas Mean Green turn around its football team? If I knew the answer to that, then Athletic Director Rick Villarreal would be hiring me in December to replace Head Coach Todd Dodge. So, I decided to check the stats for the year to see what I could find out. I knew that UNT had been running the ball pretty well, therefore, I thought I would see things such as poor Red Zone conversion, poor third down conversions, etc. I am a big believer in teams needing to run the ball and stop the run to be successful, or at the least, a championship team. What I found were five areas of major differentiation between UNT and their opponents.
1. Endzone woes
UNT is actually better than their opponents in the red zone, but where they are losing the battle is getting into the end zone. While in the Red Zone, UNT gets into the end zone a paltry 57% of the time while their opponents are getting into the end zone 70% of the time while in the Red Zone. Further, 90% of their opponents’ scores are touchdowns while 57% of the Mean Green scores are touchdowns. That’s pretty tough when you consider that UNT is actually running more plays than their opponents.
2. Pass rush
The UNT has gotten 7 sacks for 34 yards against their opponents. The UNT offense has given up 15 sacks for 109 yards. That is a difference of 75 yards, three quarters of an entire football field. That is at least one Red Zone attempt.
3. Turnover Margin
UNT is sitting at a minus 16 turnover margin. The UNT defense has forced 5 turnovers while the UNT offense has given up 21 turnovers.
Early & Often
UNT opponents score early and often.
UNT opponents score every 8.89 plays while UNT scores every 23 plays. That means an opponent scores twice before UNT scores.
UNT gets a slow start to every game. The Mean Green are being out scored 276 to 66 in the first half this year. That means that the Mean Green trails at half time by an average of 34 to 8. They trail 15 to 3 after the first quarter.
These are just some of the areas of UNT woes on the field. One cannot underestimate the series of bad luck that UNT and coach Todd Dodge has had this year. First, it was announced yesterday that 15 UNT football players had failed drug tests. That is almost 18 percent of the team according to the article. That can’t be good for a team that is already behind in facilities, tradition, and recruiting successes. UNT has also lost several players to a myriad of reasons some of which you will see here and here including second leading receiver Sam Dibrell.
The news hasn’t been all bad for UNT howerver. The school and coach Dodge convinced students to vote for an athletic fee that will help pay for a new stadium and necessary facilities to help with recruiting. If you don’t believe that will make a difference, then you need to go down to TCU and look at the Dutch Meyer Athletic Complex. It is an outstanding facility with one of the best players’ meeting rooms in the country. It houses a tutoring center for student athletes and an awesome weight room. Further, it adds stadium seating and suites above the south end zone.
The coaches at UNT have their work cut out, and if Dodge does get it turned around, he deserves whatever he gets paid. Maybe fans should be patient as a number of the nation’s top coaches had to have time to turn their programs around.