Dec. 31, 2013
DALLAS - North Texas completed its preparations Tuesday for New Year's Day's Heart of Dallas Bowl at the Cotton Bowl, keeping the team schedule light and allowing the players to rest and relax.
Photo Gallery - Tuesday at the Cotton Bowl
• The team arrived at the Cotton Bowl around 11 a.m. to have a team photo taken. North Texas chose to have its team photo taken in front of the Cotton Bowl, with the stadium's iconic facade and the Heart of Dallas Bowl's banner as a backdrop. UNLV elected to have its team photo taken on the field.
• Following the team photo, North Texas conducted a walk-through on the Cotton Bowl's grass field. It will be only the second game North Texas has played on grass this year, the first coming at Georgia.
• The team's mood was upbeat as it took the field at the Cotton Bowl. Players appeared relaxed, but the walk-through was precise and efficient.
• The team then returned to the hotel for lunch and a restful afternoon.
• Coach Dan McCarney, quarterback Derek Thompson, linebacker Zach Orr, and safety Marcus Trice returned to the Cotton Bowl in the afternoon for a very well-attended press conference.
• Interesting quote from UNLV coach Bobby Hauck regarding North Texas: "They're going to beat you up a little bit. They play very physical on both sides of the ball."
• Senior linebacker Zach Orr will play his final game for North Texas in the same stadium in which his father finished his collegiate career 30 years ago. Terry Orr, who went on to play in the NFL, played his final game for the University of Texas on Jan. 1, 1984, when the Longhorns played Georgia in the Cotton Bowl.
• Defensive lineman Ryan Boutwell's father also played at the Cotton Bowl.
• North Texas ticket sales have been brisk. The will-call desk moved to the Omni Hotel lobby in Dallas and was busy most of the day. Mean Green fans are expected to fill the North Texas side of lower bowl at the Cotton Bowl from goalline to goalline, and tickets are also now being sold for the upper deck. Tickets remain on sale, and will be available at the Cotton Bowl Wednesday morning. "We're excited that there is going to be a lot of green in the stadium," quarterback Derek Thompson said.
• The gates to the Fair Park parking lots will open at 7 a.m., and the North Texas Tailgate will commence at 8 a.m. at the Embarcadero Building at Fair Park (click here for a map). Stadium gates will open at 9 a.m., and the game begins at 11 a.m.
• Fans who have purchased tickets but are unable to pick them up at the Omni Hotel will-call table can collect their tickets at the will-call window at Gate E at the Cotton Bowl Wednesday morning.
• For those who cannot attend Wednesday's game, the Heart of Dallas Bowl will be televised on ESPNU. Clay Matvick will be the play-by-play announcer, Matt Stinchcomb will handle color commentary, and Dawn Davenport will be the sideline reporter.