NEW ORLEANS , La. ( 7/19/04 ) The North Texas football team, coming off its third consecutive Sun Belt Conference championship, has been selected as the favorite to win the conference title in 2004 according to the league’s preseason poll that is voted on by a panel of coaches, sports information directors and media. Mean Green running back Patrick Cobbs and defensive end Adrian Awasom also claimed the Sun Belt’s top preseason honors as the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.
The Mean Green received 15 of a possible18 first-place votes and totaled 159 points, while Troy State was second in the voting with 116 points. New Mexico State was picked third with 110 points and followed by Louisiana-Lafayette (107), Middle Tennessee (94), Utah State (75), Arkansas State (66), Louisiana-Monroe (47) and Idaho (36).
The Mean Green enters the 2004 season with the nation’s longest conference winning streak at 18 games. North Texas returns 16 starters from last year’s team that posted a 9-4 record and made the school’s third straight appearance in the New Orleans Bowl.
Cobbs was named the Sun Belt’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight year after leading the nation in rushing with an average of 152.7 yards per game and in scoring with an average of 11.5 points per game as a junior in his first full season as a starter. He set North Texas single-season records for rushing yards, rushing attempts, rushing touchdowns, 100-yard rushing games and scoring.
While Awasom was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year for the first time, it marked the second consecutive season that a Mean Green player was named the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Awasom is a two-time all-conference selection and a 2004 preseason All-America candidate. Additionally, the 6-5, 275 pound senior has been named to the Lombardi watch list.
Other North Texas offensive standouts joining Cobbs on the All-Sun Belt preseason team are center Andy Brewster, tight end Andy Blount, wide receiver Johnny Quinn, and quarterback Scott Hall.
On the defensive side, tackle Evan Cardwell and safety Jonas Buckles joined Awasom on the All-Sun Belt preseason team.
2004 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Poll
1. North Texas 159 (15)
2. Troy 116 (1)
3. New Mexico State 110
4. Louisiana-Lafayette 107
5. Middle Tennessee 94
6. Utah State 75 (1)
7. Arkansas State 66
8. Louisiana-Monroe 47 (1)
9. Idaho 36
2004 Sun Belt Conference Football Preseason All-Conference Teams
Offensive Line: Andy Brewster, Sr., North Texas; Bruce Hampton, Sr., Louisiana-Monroe; Junior Louissaint, Sr., Troy; Steve Subia, Sr., New Mexico State; Hank Therien, So., Idaho Tight End: Andy Blount, Sr., North Texas Wide Receivers: Johnny Quinn, So., North Texas; Kerry Wright, Sr., Middle Tennessee Quarterback: Scott Hall, Sr., North Texas Running Backs: DeWhitt Betterson, Sr., Troy; Patrick Cobbs, Sr., North Texas
Defensive Line: Adrian Awasom, Sr., North Texas; Evan Cardwell, Sr., North Texas; Ronald Tupea, Sr., Utah State; Demarcus Ware, Sr., Troy Linebackers: Jimmy Cottrell, Jr., New Mexico State; Rich Glover, Sr., New Mexico State; Robert Watts, Sr., Utah State Defensive Backs: Derrick Ansley, Sr., Troy; C.C. Brown, Sr., Louisiana-Lafayette; Jonas Buckles, Sr., North Texas; Chris Harris, Sr., Louisiana-Monroe
Kicker: Sean Comiskey, Jr., Louisiana-Lafayette Punter: Joel Stelly, Jr., Louisiana-Monroe Return Specialist: Charles Estes, Sr., Louisiana-Monroe
Offensive Player of the Year: Patrick Cobbs, RB, Sr., North Texas
Defensive Player of the Year: Adrian Awasom, DE, Sr., North Texas