Linebacker Craig Robertson
On first day of full pads
“You think about this since May, come Friday its like a dream come true”.
“We are just trying to absorb everything from the beginning, stay stretched out and just stay healthy during two-a-days”.
Defensive Back Adyran Adams
What he is trying to show the coaches
“I think I’ve shown that I can step up and help lead this team at the cornerback position”.
What the coaches are telling him
“As long as I stay focused and not worry about mistakes I can be a play-maker out there”.
Offense Gets The Last Laugh
Last night the edge went to the defense in 11-on-11 drill, but the edge tonight is tilting towards the offense. Runner-up for play of the night was turned in by Casey Fitzgerald who grabbed a quick out from Vizza and made one quick flash to the right and left true freshman John Shorter hugging air. Quick word of advice to Shorter, Casey does that to a lot of people.
Practice over, back with quotes.
We’ve had some fun with offensive lineman Nate Jenkins the first few days of practice because of his size, but seeing him over the last few days at o-line, I wouldn’t count on anyone who lines up against him to have any fun at all. Jenkins has been very impressive and its quite clear what Coach Dodge talks about when you hear how athletic he is. For confirmation you can ask Draylen Ross.
Play of the Day
Marcus King just hauled in a Randy Moss-esque touchdown bomb from Giovanni Vizza from about 45 yards out just over the outstretched arms of Adyran Adams...only he did it with one hand. Adams was consoled afterwards by new (old) defensive coordinator Gary DeLoach. Adams has no reason to be down though, just a great catch and a perfect throw.
The Truman Show
Senior Truman Spencer just got done working on a unique drill. Facing the south end zone at around the 30 yard line, Spencer practiced pinning the ball deep by aiming for the pole-vault matt in the corner of the end zone.
Unfortunately, unlike Jim Carey, the world does not revolve around only Spencer; we’ll be back with more on the rest of the team as the night winds down.
Does He Like The Cowboys?
One of the best in the business is T.O. No its not catching, running, acting, dancing, partying, or doing sit-up’s in a driveway....Its blocking downfield. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Sam Roberson, (Yegua, high school nickname day comes next week), put on a great display of it on back-to-back plays to give All-American Casey Fitzgerald some more room to maneuver.
Its' a lost art like the jumpshot, but Roberson has continued to improve on the little things.
Let the Hitting Begin
Today is the first practice with shoulder pads and you can count Tobe Nwigwe as one player who is happy that the amount of contact has picked up. During linebacker drills, Nwigwe and teammate Germaine Dawson had spirited exchanges while the two worked on tackling drills. Nwigwe began the friendly battle with a crushing hit on Dawson who was acting as the ball carrier. Dawson returned the favor when the two switched roles. The two made sure that the lined up against each other for the rest of the drill and gave a lesson on intensity to some of the younger linebackers.
Todd Dodge just got done working with quarterbacks Giovanni Vizza and Daniel Meager on their footwork in the pocket. Dodge sent one man as pressure then pestered with both QB’s by slapping at the ball from behind. He then yelled out certain numbers for which the QB’s to aim at on the net with three different squared holes. We don’t really know what it’s called...
The "Big Uglys"
The offensive line is learning on the fly what it takes play at this level. Line coach Spencer Leftwich is always giving his players words of wisdom. “Stay low, stay low and stay down. Keep your man in front of you and keep those arms inside and pushing forward. Straighten up, lean, and don’t waddle your butt.”
Still Looks Tender
While Riley Dodge looked good in the out pattern drill, tossing the over-the-middle route from about 15-yards away, Dodge looked rather gingerly in his tosses. Movement wasn’t like we’ve seen before in previous days....Todd Dodge that is. He still likes to throw it around and warm up the receivers.
Nowhere But Out
QB Riley Dodge hit consecutive deep-out patterns with receivers Marcus King and Chase Baine of just under 35 yards out. No pass rush or line in the way, but none the less he hit both receivers in stride. Full squad has arrived and is warming up. Gonna keep an eye on a certain Yegua tonight....
Watching for the first time the D-line and O-Line engage in drills and the early scorecard in round 1 goes to the D-line. While the size might not be there on the ends, the speed certainly is.
In keeping with a theme set forward by new (old) defensive coordinator Gary DeLoach of ballhawking and turnovers, in one-on-one drills the DB’s were playing tight coverage. So tight that freshman Darien Williams could have switched jerseys with wide receiver Willie Taylor on one such play.
Although he didn’t see it, DeLoach would have loved what defensive lineman Sam Owusu-Hemeng did to freshman Aaron Fortenberry in some trench warfare. Owusu-Hemeng bull-rushed Fortenberry off the right side and didn’t stop until he was on the turf.
Throw It To The Other Team
The defensive backs started with catch and tip drills early in practice. Coach Chuck Petersen provided some important instruction to his players-“Really good players can drill and transfer what they’ve learned to the field. Don’t be lazy. Bend your knees and get your hands underneath the ball. Anticipate the pass and stick to your man.” DBs Robbie Gordon, Darien Williams, Justin Edwards, Jeremy Phillips, and John Shorter were all showing the ability to make big plays.
I thought young guys liked to sleep in? Everyone's accounted for and its an early start tonight. Freshman and newcomers on the practice field. Back with more...
Alright we finally have the conundrum to a question that has been plaguing the blog since its inception on Monday. How did defensive back Justin Edwards lose 30 pounds in six months since signing with North Texas. Here’s how.
His playing weight was 175 pounds at Eastern Arizona. In the spring Edwards had a death in the family that in turn caused some weight loss. Exactly how much, he didn’t know, but he’s been working all summer to put the weight back on.
He told us verbatim that his weight right now is around 160 and change. He then uttered a line that most people dream of hearing. “I’ve been trying to put the weight on lately eating everything I can, but nothing’s worked so far”.
So don’t fear Mean Green fans, Edwards is hard at work on the field and in the fridge.
Another 48 Hours
I know that's what linebacker Toby Nwigwe is thinking. 15 minutes until the freshman and newcomers get after it but after media day this afternoon we’ve got some areas and individuals to keep an eye on. We are still 48 hours away from any real hitting, but if last night was any indication the players are starting to get that itch.
Small Town Salute
Over the last few years pretty much everyone thinks of Southlake Carroll when it comes to the best high school football program in the DFW area. In this day and age of cloning if one were to duplicate the success at Carroll then you get.....Celina.
Yes the Bobcats have just as many state titles as the Dragons do (seven) and in fact over the last three years a better record.
So as we pointed out yesterday, yes Riley Dodge, Kyle Russo, and Jared Acton have scoreboard on the Trinity bunch, however Troy Franklin and brother Tyler can point out the fact the Bobcats compiled a 47-1 record while the Dragons went 43-2 in the last three years.
Not bad for a town that’s 132 years young.
In Their Own Words
It would be hard for anyone to truly comprehend the close relationship that bonds freshman defensive tackle Troy Franklin and his brother, Tyler, the newest member of the North Texas equipment staff.
The duo from Celina both became property of the Mean Green this last spring but it was Tyler who took the harder road. Just after his 18th birthday and earning a scholarship to play outside linebacker at Texas A&M Commerce, Tyler was diagnosed osteosacroma, one of the most common types of bone cancer.
The news was hard for both brothers but they have remarkably used the sport of football to rally around each other and in the process, created an opportunity of a lifetime. This fall Troy will be on the field while his brother will be looking over his shoulder from the sidelines, watching his own dream play out through his brother.
Q: What has it been like to be able to be around Tyler on a daily basis again?
A: “It’s been pretty cool. We’ve been able to get a lot closer because he went to school at Oklahoma State last year. I know he took the job here because he wanted to be with me, so that means a lot.”
Q: When the news broke of Tyler’s disease, what was your initial reaction?
A: “It was just a very unfortunate series of events. He was such a strong guy and to see what he had to go through was very tough.”
Q: How excited are you for this opportunity with North Texas and your brother?
A: “It’s great being out there with him. It’s a whole new perspective for me. He’s such a great person and I’m excited to not only see how he does, but the team as a whole. You can feel that good things are coming around here.”
Q: When you were first diagnosed, how hard was it on you and what were your thoughts on your future?
A: “I didn’t know what was next or what I was going to do. It was tough because I thought I had a future playing football. When all this happened Troy told me, “Don’t worry about football, I’ll get a scholarship for you.” That really meant a lot to me.”
Q: What’s the best-case scenario of being here with Troy?
A: “I want both of us to win conference together. We’re really close friends, we have been our whole life. I’m also looking forward to catching up with him and making up for missed time. He means so much to me and I’m so excited to be back together.”
Media Day Recap II
Now that the room has cleared here are a few of the highlights from Media Day.
Linebacker Craig Robertson raved about the talent of the incoming freshman. At one point he stopped to gather his thoughts when talking about the freshman. Translation: This freshman class is going to be really good.
Coach Dodge didn’t back away from any questions regarding the quarterback position as you can see from his quotes.
Folks, seeing the weight of the offensive lineman on paper is nothing compared to a face-to-face chat with one of them. Large, athletic young men.
Most Offensive Dance Move of the Day
Freshman Forrest Rucker. Not only will fans love him on the field, but he is showing an infectious personality off the field. While doing his video head shot, Rucker waited until the final three seconds or so before breaking out in his best running man impersonation. Brought the house down. If he keeps it up he might end up here one day.
Media Day Recap
First the quotes found here, here, here, and here. Time To Link Up
ETA of about 5 more minutes until Coach Dodge begins his meet and greet with the media.
We will have plenty of quotes to fill you plate with once things are finished.
Its probably running neck and neck between Casey and Giovanni in terms of interviews right now. Things have been quite lively as the players do their video head shots. Zach Highfill went for the stone cold, serious look, but couldn’t hold it for more than two seconds before falling apart in the face of laughter from his teammates.
ETA of 10-15 minutes for Coach Dodge press conference.
Media Day Is Underway
And who else would you want to kick off the interviews than no other athletic director Rick Villarreal. The unofficial media count so far is 16, but growing. The players are putting on extra make-up (some of them) for their mug shots to be followed by video shots. Can’t discuss to much about the video shots but I think the fans will be in for a treat this year at home games.
First things first, Coach Dodge’s press conference today might get pushed back a few minutes from the original time of 1 p.m. Maybe looking closer to 1:30 p.m., but either way it will still be streamed live.
The last two nights we have been able to pick up some, let’s say, animated quotes from the field.
O-Line coach Spencer Leftwich last night sounded as if he was giving instructions for a Twister game while teaching the some technique to his lineman.
“You’ve gotta get your right foot moving in this direction, towards the green, and your left foot in the other direction”
Following the first practice of the fall camp wide receiver coach Clayton George thought he would ask one of the new lineman what he thought of first day of practice.
“I’m tired coach” was all that behemoth lineman Nate Jenkins could muster after Monday night’s practice.
Oh So Special
We haven’t been able to get to everyone yet in the first two days of practice, but punter Truman Spencer saw his first, well let’s call it semi-action of the fall camp last night. Impressive as always, but the interesting part wasn’t Truman’s punting, but who was on the receiving end.
No need to proclaim who the return specialist will be after a 15-minute exercise, but the last names of those working on the job were Fitzgerald, Neal, Shorter, and Hill.
We heard a lot about the North Texas defense blitzing last night, but today’s it’s the media’s turn. From 12-2 p.m. members of the media will get their chance to corner North Texas players about the upcoming season. Don’t forget at 1 p.m. you can watch Todd Dodge’s press conference live on the blog. There will be a link provided once we get closer.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of updates before, during, and after. Look for plenty of quotes, pictures, and more from media day. Today we also plan on making this the unofficial day to recognize the city of Celina. And if we have time we might reveal who Terry Bradshaw’s new caddy was over the summer. Stay tuned.
Dodge Days Part II
Dodge Days Part I