Aug. 5, 2013
Football season has arrived as the Mean Green hits the practice fields today for the first workout of fall camp in preparation of the season opener against the Idaho Vandals on August 31. Coach Dan McCarney, entering his third season, welcomed back 16 starters and 38 letterwinners among the 105 players to report to campus.
Leading the way on offense is senior quarterback Derek Thompson, who enters the season with a chance to permanently put his name into the record books. Thompson ranks in the top-10 in nine different passing categories.
Protecting Thompson is one of the most experienced offensive lines in school history. The North Texas offensive line gave up the fewest sacks in the nation last season with six, and, in nine of 12 games, the Mean Green did not allow a sack. LaChris Anyiam, Antonio Johnson, Cyril Lemon and Mason Y'Barbo have started a combined 78 games.
Running backs Brandin Byrd and Antoinne Jimmerson return after combining for 1,419 yards rushing last year. Wide receiver Brelan Chancellor is also back for his senior season after missing the final four games in 2012 due to injury. Chancellor is sixth in school history in all-purpose yards and is close to cracking the top-10 all-time in receiving yards.
Defensively, North Texas has eight starters back led by senior middle linebacker Zach Orr. A Lombardi Award candidate, Orr led North Texas last season with 108 tackles and was a second-team all-conference pick. Heading into last season, the Mean Green secondary was as green as it gets, with zero FBS starts under anyone's belt. This season, the secondary has 45 games worth of starting experience.
The three weeks of practice last through the month of August as the Mean Green prepares to start the season at home for the first time since 2001. North Texas opens its first year in Conference USA on October 5 at Tulane.