North Texas coach: "We can't accept losing anymore"
The Mean Green still have a lot of work to do, but things in Denton have started to look up since Dan McCarney’s arrival two years ago.
“We took over a team that was bottom 10 in the country,” said McCarney, who has led North Texas to 5-7 and 4-8 records thus far. “We have a plan to win and we know what it takes.”
2012 showed there are plenty of reasons to believe that this team is improving.
It didn’t translate over to the record books, but the Mean Green showed distinct competitiveness against quality opponents.
Kansas State held an eight-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter in UNT’s 35-21 loss to the Wildcats, while Troy and Western Kentucky won by a combined eight points.
North Texas even took Louisiana-Lafayette – the conference runner-up – by surprise in a 30-28 Week 8 victory. But the trick for next season is to win more games like these and to stay consistent.
“We have to continue to grow the program,” said McCarney. “This is one of the youngest teams I’ve ever been around. We have to focus on our weaknesses and shortcomings and get better in the months ahead.”
One of those weaknesses could be the offensive side of the ball, where North Texas finished 105th in the nation in points scored (20.9 per game). Much of this had to do with a lack of red zone efficiency – the Mean Green placed 112th out of 124 teams with just 71 percent scoring success.
Still, there is a lot of talent here and the young players will continue to develop and get better.
“We have more guys coming back now than a year ago – all with experience,” McCarney said. “We improved in most areas on defense (61st in NCAA) and took some real strides there.
“Offensively, we did some real good things: we lead the nation in least amount of sacks allowed (6.0), and our running backs only fumbled twice,” he added.
North Texas now makes the transition to Conference-USA, which is effective July 1. It joins Louisiana Tech, UTSA, FIU, Old Dominion, Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee, who are all converting over as well.
“We’re thrilled about it,” said McCarney. “It has respect around the country thanks to the success of certain teams in recent years. (There are) natural rivalries in state of Texas, so it should be real exciting.”
It’s possible that a change in conference scenery will help North Texas’ program break its postseason drought.
“We can’t accept losing anymore,” McCarney said. “We came here to win and anything less than that is unacceptable and I think that’s understood in our program now. Everyone is sick and tired of watching other teams play during the bowl season.”
The Mean Green haven’t partaken in any bowl festivities since 2004, when it lost to Southern Miss by 21 in the New Orleans Bowl.
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