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2003 PREVIEW: North Texas Mean Green

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The two-time Sun Belt champion is ready to do more. Over the last two seasons, UNT is 1-10 against D-I programs outside of the Sun Belt and 11-1 in conference play. After getting that one non-conference win against in the New Orleans Bowl, the Mean Green wants to make the move up in national respect. Oh sure, a third straight conference title would be great, but this is a program ready to pull off something bigger. While UNT doesn't have the offense to beat an Oklahoma or an Arkansas, it can certainly play with Baylor or . Why? Defense.

Team Information
Head coach: Darrell Dickey
6th year: 21-37
Returning O Lettermen: 20
Returning D Lettermen: 22
Returning ST Lettermen: 2
Lettermen Lost: 14
Ten Best Players
1. DT , Sr.
2. OG , Sr.
3. LB , Sr.
4. LB , Sr.
5. DE , Jr.
6. SS , Sr.
7. LB , Sr.
8. FS , Jr.
9. P , Soph.
10. RB , Soph.
2003 Schedule
8/30 at
9/6
9/13 at
9/20 at
9/27 UL Lafayette
10/11 at
10/18
10/25 at MTSU
11/1
11/8 at UL Monroe
11/15 St.
11/22 at St.
has one of the best defenses in America with nine returning starters to a team that held teams to 14.8 points and 290.2 yards per game. Granted, the team was able to amass some great defensive stats against teams like Nicholls State, UL Monroe, UL Lafayette and , but the defense was also able to play TCU, Texas, Arizona tough and clamped down against . Statistically, the defense will rank among the top ten in the country. If the offense can help out a little bit, a third straight Sun Belt title, and even more, could be in the works. The Schedule: It's not going to be easy. Road games at Oklahoma, and Arkansas could make life tough before Sun Belt play. The two strongest teams in the league other than UNT, MTSU and , get the Mean Green at home. Best Offensive Player: Senior OG . The All-Sun Belt guard is an experienced starter and a superior run blocker. With a line that'll probably start two redshirt freshmen and a sophomore, Zuniga will be needed more than ever. Best Defensive Player: Senior DT . The best player in the Sun Belt, Kennedy will start to get more accolades this season and a few more All-America honors. He's not just great at stopping the run, he's also wonderful at getting into the backfield. Key player to a successful season: The offensive line needs to adjust to several newcomers. The biggest concern will be on the left side where redshirt freshmen Weston Thaggard and Dylan Lineberry are very talented, but very inexperienced. The season will be a success if: wins the Sun Belt title ... again. It's never a bad season when you win a conference title. With tough league road games and an offense that doesn't look a whole bunch better than it was last year, getting to a bowl game is a great goal. Key game: Oct. 25 at MTSU. Sun Belt life hasn't worked out the way the Blue Raiders originally hoped. They thought they'd be the two-time defending champion at this point. You can bet that this will be yet another big game for the conference title. 2002 Fun Stats:
  • Third quarter scoring: UNT 78 - Opponents 23
  • Penalties: Opponents 127 for 1,046 yards - UNT 105 for 928
  • Sacks: UNT 44 - Opponents 17
    2003 Recruiting Class
    Star of the Class
    Michael Pruitt DL 6-1 275 Northeastern A&M CC

    Josh Alexander DL 6-3 278 Fort Worth, Texas/Southwest HS
    Rendal Bailey OL 6-4 290 Fort Worth, Texas/Christian HS
    Cordale Baldwin RB 5-10 185 Pflugerville, Texas/Pflugerville, HS
    Jeremy Brown OL 6-5 285 Tecumseh, Okla./Tecumseh HS
    Lawrence Brown DE/LB 6-3 200 Houston, Texas/North Shore HS
    Blake Burruss DE/TE 6-7 235 City, Okla./Westmoore HS
    Joey Byerly QB 6-4 215 Orange, Texas/West Orange-Stark HS
    Lonnie Chambers OL 6-3 284 Trinity Valley CC
    *Charles Dupree DE 6-3 228 Northeastern A&M CC
    Raifu Durodoye DL 6-1 235 Denton, Texas/Denton HS
    Allan Harrison DB 6-2 188 Big Lake, Texas/Reagan County HS
    Maurice Holman LB 6-1 209 Mt. Vernon, Texas/Mt. Vernon HS
    Eli Hutchinson DE 6-4 213 Northeastern A&M CC
    Jonathan Ieans QB 6-5 200 Houston, Texas/Madison HS
    Curt Jones DL 6-2 260 Sinton, Texas/Sinton HS
    RB 5-10 180 Northeastern A&M CC
    Arther McNac LB 6-0 260 Northeastern A&M
    Zach Muzzy WR 5-10 175 Alvin, Texas/Alvin HS
    CB 6-0 180 Mansfield, Texas/Summit HS
    Damion Nobles OL 6-4 290 Navarro CC
    Montey Stevenson DL 6-2 240 Alvarado, Texas/Alvarado HS
    T.J. Raymond DL 6-2 295 Grand Prairie, Texas/South Grand Prairie HS
    Adam Vinegas DL 6-3 276 Olathe, Kan./Olathe North HS
    *Potential Instant Impact Players

  • Tagged: Troy, Wake Forest, North Texas, Arkansas State, Idaho, Utah State, Arizona, Washington State, Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas, Cincinnati, Air Force

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