Aug. 6, 2014
By Tyler Owens
NFL safety experience
Safties coach Perry Carter is looking to bring his vast NFL experience to the revamped 2014 Mean Green squad.
Carter coached in the Houston Texans organization for eight years, including his final four as assistant defensive backs coach, before joining North Texas this year.
This will not be Carter’s first time working at the college level, however it will be his first time in Division-I athletics. The McComb, Miss., native began his coaching career as secondary coach at D-II level Texas A&M-Commerce in 2004.
Carter, who played four years in the NFL with the Chiefs and Raiders, also coached for NFL Europe’s Hampton Sea Devils during the summer of 2006 before heading to Houston.
He said his experience at so many different levels has a ton of benefits when it comes to working with the players and recruiting for the future.
“Players should be like, ‘Man this guy has a wealth of experience. Here’s a guy that I want to gravitate to and listen to what he has to say,’” Carter said. “From the recruiting standpoint, it helps a lot because I am well-traveled. By me being able to coach at the highest level, NFL and all that, so now the players have an instant credibility with you.”
The Southern Miss grad said he hopes his coaching experience at so many different levels will propel the Mean Green to another successful season in 2014.
Twins sticking together
Freshmen twins Tillman and Terrance Johnson are looking to make a splash in this summer’s training camp after joining North Texas from McNeil High School in Round Rock, Texas.
Though their parents encouraged them to stay together there was a doubt that they’d part ways when it came to where they’d go for college.
“I was going to go to Texas State,” Tillman said. “But we didn’t know what [Terrance] was going to do. Then we came to UNT and Coach Canales got Terrance in the plans, and before you know it we were both here.”
Tillman, a highly recruited defensive end who was originally committed to Texas State, was a unanimous all-district selection in his senior year after registering 86 tackles – 37 of them for a loss – along with seven sacks and four forced fumbles.
Last year’s highly touted Mean Green defense lost a lot of key players from its Heart of Dallas Bowl championship team including defensive ends Brandon “Sarge” McCoy and Aaron Bellazin. Tillman said he’s going to work to find his role and keep being persistent, knowing he will fit in with the new NT defense.
His tight end twin brother Terrance was a standout center on the McNeil varsity basketball squad and only has one year of football experience under his belt coming into this season – his freshman year of high school.
“He hasn’t had a helmet and shoulder pads on in three years, and today was our first day in pads,” assistant head coach Nick Quartaro said. “I was really proud of the way he mixed it up and got after people. He knows he’s way behind as far as just football, but he’s a great kid and has a great attitude, so he should be fine.”
Other notes from camp
- Senior running back Reggie Pegram saw his first contact since having his 2013 season cut short because of a knee injury suffered versus Southern Miss in late October. Before his injury, the Purdue transfer was second on the team with 338 rushing yards and was tied for first with six touchdowns.
- Sophomore defensive back John Schilleci made a nice play in team drills, taking down the ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage. Schilleci, a Denton Guyer product, is looking to prove himself on defense in camp after being limited to special teams last season.
- Offensive coordinator Mike Canales was high on freshmen running backs Jeffrey Wilson and Willy Ivery, saying they give the team a “Lance Dunbar look.” He also complemented redshirt freshman running back Erick Evans on his runs early on in camp.
- Canales pointed out that several players have made big impacts so far in practice. He said wide receivers Turner Smiley, Darvin Kidsy and Derrick Teagarden had made some big plays, offensive lineman Micah Thompson has been doing well up front and tight end Marcus Smith has been excelling in his role.
- Canales also pointed out true freshmen wide receivers O’Keeron Rutherford and Tee Goree as standouts through the first three days of camp.