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Why We're Glad Dan McCarney is Gone

The Twitterverse seemed to blow up when North Texas suddenly and unexpectedly collapsed against Portland State last week. But was it really that unexpected? Really?

#McCarnage
#McCarnage
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, that magical feeling when your head coach is fired.  That mystical, wondrous feeling like when Dorothy first steps out of her crashed Kansas farmhouse and into the magical land of Oz-- equal parts terror, relief, and "why is everything suddenly in perfect, crystal clear color?"

If you're a North Texas fan, you might remember where and when you were when Todd Dodge was fired.

Or not, because I don't, but I do know I was relieved and threw my hands up in the air and shouted "finally!" because that was a man who walked into The House That Darrell Dickey Built and proceeded to burn it to the ground.

Now Dan McCarney is gone, and good riddance.

We all talked ourselves into this when he was hired. Yes, there was the Heart of Dallas Bowl - which he essentially won when most of the players on his squad had in fact been recruited by Dodge.  That proved nothing as it turned out.

We  waited to see who you could recruit and which players and offensive schemes you believed in, for your football vision and it's fruition. And we get a 66-7 loss to Portland State, and a first-string QB who can't even complete half his passes.  Um, okay.

There was a comment the other day where a reader said he knew McCarney to be a good man and a good coach.  Well, he was half right.


So why did this happen?

The firing happened, obviously, because he lost to an FCS team by 59 points, which is just not something that just happens. Literally. Nobody has ever done that before. Granted, this was a pretty freaking good FCS team (they are no Nicholls State, and they're ranked), but our scheduling folks tossed up a tin can for homecoming and McCarney whiffed.  This is not the first UNT homecoming loss, but Mac's opponents have been getting progressively easier, and this year we caved and gave him an FCS opponent, and he blew it.  Don't do that.

No, I mean WHY did this happen?

Well, the easy answer is that Dan McCarney can't coach.  Sure, there are the numerous excuses like the tough schedule and poorly placed bye week (Week One??), but you know who else has a tough schedule?  Bruce Barnum, head coach at Portland State.  He seems to be doing pretty okay.

Look, we've no doubt he's a good man, a nice guy, a family sort.  He's gone into any number of young mens' homes and convinced them to play for UNT.  Maybe he even talked them through a rough time in their lives, or offered them a chance to play football when no one else would, or even a college education when no one else would.  And those are noble things.

But he can't coach football worth a lick, and for the cheap seats we'll post his Wikipedia page again.  Five winning seasons in 16 tries.  Start a charity or something with that money Villarreal will be paying you for a few years yet.  Your talents would be better served elsewhere.

Back to the game. Is Portland State good or is North Texas bad?

Yes.  Portland State has an insane defense (in five games this season, they've allowed a sum-total of 57 points), and North Texas' offense hinges on last years 2nd chair, Andrew McNulty.  In a regular FBS program, he'd have been yanked as starter after falling apart against Southern Miss, but McCarney stuck with the guy without changing anything about the game plan or how McNulty, or the rest of the team, approached it.  This is the definition of insanity.

Meanwhile, the reason I picked Portland State to win by only 24 is that the Vikings offense is nothing special. They've now scored 172 points through five games, but the North Texas defense is less effective than Catholic birth control. They got rung up by 31 and 49 points by SMU and Southern Miss, respectively, and these are not teams who have really produced in other games.  Which in an of itself answers the next question.

First the coordinators were co-interim head coaches, and now Mike Canales is the sole interim.  What gives?

First of all, our DC is terrible while our OC nearly doubled the offensive output the instant he took over the job in 2010. Second of all, this is clearly an issue of a department being run by someone who doesn't understand football. Googling Rick Villarreal, there's not a lot of press on him like AD's at Texas or Ohio State, and honestly if you judged him by the athletic department overall, there's a discussion to be had.  But football?  Some things are lacking.

Look, the impending terrible season was clear before week one, with an opening week bye followed by 12 games in 12 weeks.  The SMU game was the first sign things might be going even worse than expected. Although the losses to Rice and Southern Miss weren't terribly surprising even if the scores were to a point. Nothing was changing, nothing new was being tried, and when they collapsed against a decent defense the entire internet exploded.  Does no one check stat lines?

Where does the AD fit into all of this?
Rick Villarreal's contract currently runs through Feb. 2017, but let's not get too worried, as McCarney signed a 5-year extension in 2013.  If the athletic department doesn't start producing some signature wins in revenue sports, right away, the Admin might actually take notice.  And unlike Villarreal, we assume the Admin knows a thing or two about football.