In anticipation of two-a-days next week, MeanGreenSports.com breaks down the 2005 North Texas football team position by position.
With four consecutive 1,000 yard runners and the previous two national rushing champions, Mean Green backs are gaining a reputation of excellence.
In the history of college football there has never been a team with the luxury of two national rushing champions in the same backfield. The Mean Green will have just that in 2005 with the return of Jamario Thomas and Patrick Cobbs.
Cobbs had all of college football in his rear view mirror when he scrambled for 152.7 yards per game in 2003 before a knee injury sidelined him for most of 2004. The senior ranked in the top six in the nation in rushing touchdowns with 19 and all-purpose yards with 1771 yards in 2003. In his first season as the starting running back, he set three North Texas single-season rushing records and is in the top five in five different career records. He still holds the school record with nine straight 100-yard rushing games.
Cobbs was the only back in the nation to have four 200-yard rushing games in the 2003 season, and more importantly, his team was 9-1 when he rushed for more than 100 yards.
Where Cobbs left off in 2003, Thomas picked up in 2004. Thomas, named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, led the nation in rushing with 180.1 yards per game and set a North Texas and Sun Belt Conference record with 1,801 total yards.
He set the NCAA freshman record for 200 yards games, going over that mark five times, and tied the NCAA record for the fastest to reach 1,000 yards when he made it in seven games. Thomas is one of only three freshmen ever to rush for over 1,800 yards and the only back in the nation last season to have six 200-yard games. Together, the pair has combined for 3,537 yards and 36 touchdowns over the past two seasons, a scary sight for opposing defensive coordinators this year.
Back to pave the way for Cobbs and Thomas this season is fullback James Mitchell. Despite his size, Mitchell has evolved into a bruising blocker. Also a threat with the ball in his hands, Mitchell rushed for 166 yards and a touchdown in the regular season finale at Arkansas State. A true north-south runner, the junior did not have a run for negative yardage in 42 carries last season.
Check back tomorrow when MeanGreenSports.com takes a look at the quarterback battle heading into two-a-days.