DENTON (8/7/06) - The North Texas athletic department held its annual football media day on Monday afternoon after the team's first pre-season practice.
Head coach Darrell Dickey and Mean Green players met with the local media, answering questions about the upcoming season and the Sept. 2 date with Texas. The Mean Green open its season on Saturday, Sept. 2 against Texas in Austin.
North Texas will begin its 91st season of football when it kicks off the 2006 season against Texas in Austin Sept. 2. Since the inaugural season in 1913, North Texas has accumulated a record of 456-394-34 and has amassed 25 conference championships and played in seven bowl games. There have been 15 coaches in North Texas football history, and only three coaches with longer tenure than current head coach Darrell Dickey.
For the second time in five years, North Texas will open the season against the defending national champion. The Mean Green kicked off the 2001 season against Oklahoma, just nine months after the Sooners finished 13-0, winning the national championship game over Florida State. This time, North Texas will face a Texas team that is also fresh off a 13-0 season, which included a win over Southern Cal in the national championship game.
North Texas has been picked to finish fourth in the Sun Belt Conference preseason poll as voted on by league coaches and media. With 37 votes, the Mean Green came in behind Troy (48), Arkansas State (50) and Louisiana-Lafayette (58). North Texas won four straight conference championships before Arkansas State snapped the streak in 2005.
North Texas placed more individuals on the Sun Belt preseason all-conference team than any other school with six. The Mean Green had three offensive and three defensive players tabbed while no other team had more than four players named. Running back Jamario Thomas, wide receiver Johnny Quinn and offensive guard Dylan Lineberry all landed on the offensive team while defensive end Jeremiah Chapman, linebacker Phillip Graves and defensive back Aaron Weathers were all named to the second team.
North Texas returns 17 starters from last year’s team, which is the most returning starters since the Mean Green brought 20 players back for the beginning of the 2002 season. It is also more returning starters than any Sun Belt Conference school, with no league team returning more than 15.