Aug. 13, 2014
By Tyler Owens
There are big holes to fill at middle linebacker with the absence of All-Conference selection Zach Orr on defense this year.
Orr has been a stalwart on defense in the last three seasons, but as he tries to earn a spot on the Baltimore Ravens NFL defense, two young linebackers are looking to make an impression on the Mean Green coaching staff.
Junior Oregon transfer Anthony Wallace and sophomore Fred Scott are locked in to the competition at middle linebacker.
“It will be a good battle,” defensive coordinator John Skladany said. “Saturday in the scrimmage we gave them, kind of, equal reps. We’ll probably continue to do that throughout training camp, and we’ll see which one emerges as the frontrunner.”
Wallace, who got off to a slow start in spring, saw six games with the Ducks as a true freshman before his transfer to North Texas.
“He’s made a really big jump from the spring,” Skladany said. “He really worked hard this summer in the weight room and conditioning. He took it upon himself to watch a lot of tape and learn our scheme better. He’s really made some good strides.”
Scott had 11 tackles and played in six games in the Mean Green’s 9-4 bowl championship season.
“But I would think, as of right now, both of them should be playing a lot of football,” Skladany said. “We may get to a point where they’re sharing equal reps during the season.”
· - Offensive Coordinator Mike Canales said that a lot of the guys returning, and even the players that joined in the spring, have done a good job in retaining the things they’ve learned at North Texas. He admitted that the team has a long way to go before it’s ready for the season opener against Texas August 30. He said the players have gravitated to McCarney’s mentality and the situations they simulate in practice.
· - The offensive line, which returns five players who saw at least 11 games in 2013, is one of the team’s biggest strengths this year. Canales said it shows in practice that the men have a lot of game experience as they continue to lead the offense on the field.