It was a problem against the University of Texas on Aug. 30, and it remained a problem for the 11 games that followed.
The Mean Green football team didn't have a quarterback.
After going through three starting quarterbacks in 12 games, none proved to be answer for Dan McCarney's Mean Green squad, which finished at a disappointing after last season's 9-4 success. If North Texas had quarterback play that was even halfway decent, it might have finished with six wins and a bowl appearance. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
So the big question, and the question that will be asked the most this offseason, is where do the Mean Green go from here at quarterback?
As of right now, North Texas has five quarterbacks on its roster, three of which started for the Mean Green this season. That number will grow with the addition of junior college transfer DeMarcus Smith and Caleb Chumley. Let's start with the guys that actually played for the Mean Green this past year, beginning with sophomore JUCO transfer Josh Greer.
Greer was, surprisingly, named the starting quarterback from day one. From the beginning, I thought the Mean Green would go with junior Andrew McNulty, who most resembled the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl MVP Derek Thompson. But alas, Greer got the nod and went 1-2 as the starter for three games with the only win coming at home against SMU, which isn't exactly something to go nuts about.
Greer only threw for 171 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions in the three games he played, and the offense became one of the more inept offense I have ever watched. Going off that, it's hard for me to imagine that Greer will even have a chance to start for the Mean Green again.
After realizing that Greer wasn't the answer, McCarney turned to talented redshirt freshman Dajon Williams. The hope was that Williams would inject new life into the offense with his dual threat ability. He showed flashes of brilliance in his first start against Nicholls State when he passed for 176 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for two more scores.
It all went downhill in his following two starts, as Williams tossed five interceptions and accounted for a few fumbles in two ugly road losses, which dropped the team to 2-4. Williams still showed some flashes of what he might be, but the biggest problem was that he was never ready for that role. He has the most raw talent out of all of the Mean Green quarterbacks, but just couldn't harness it.
It was McNulty who started the final six games at quarterback for the Mean Green, and went 2-4 in the process. That obviously doesn't look good on paper, but McNulty was far and away North Texas' most effective quarterback of the year.
One of Greer's biggest issues was struggling with ball placement. Sure, the Mean Green are primarily a team that's going to try and run the ball, but when he was forced to pass, Greer simply could not put the ball in his receivers' hands. Through those first three games, defenses would basically force the Mean Green to pass the ball, knowing very well that Greer had no chance of beating them.
Williams, for all the talent he has, struggled with turnovers. Four interceptions in three starts is a problem, and the lost fumbles make it an even bigger problem. Yes, McNulty threw seven interceptions to six touchdowns, but what he did do was he did a good job of being a game manager. He was able to put the ball in his receivers' hands unlike Greer, and didn't too much on offense like Williams. That's all the Mean Green needed McNulty to do.
So where does this team go from here? Personally, I thought McCarney should have played both Williams and McNulty towards the end of the year just to see what exactly they have in Williams. The biggest reason they yanked Williams after three starts was because the team was trying to win now. With hardly any hope at a bowl game towards the end of the season, not playing Williams just to get some snaps didn't make any sense to me.
I think McNulty will go into the Spring as the starter, with Williams and Smith competing with him along with Means in the mix. Unless Williams takes a big step in the right direction, it's hard to imagine him going into next August as the starter. It seems like it will be McNulty by default.
The scariest part of all this is that none of these guys guarantee North Texas getting back to where they were in 2013. They each have too many question marks. Think about it: none of the SEVEN quarterbacks may be the answer. It's a horrifying thought, but a very real one.