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North Texas QB Battle Loses Williams, Gains Focus

North Texas had as many as nine quarterbacks on the roster heading into the summer. With the departure of one of their top prospects earlier this offseason, North Texas isn't just narrowing down who gets the top job-- they're defining what kind of team they want to be.

Dajon Williams looks downfield during last season's contest vs. Rice
Dajon Williams looks downfield during last season's contest vs. Rice
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
It was widely reported back in early June that JUCO transfer Dajon Williams left North Texas (or was dismissed, depending on who you ask).  This shrinks the quarterback battle down to the two most high-profile remaining candidates, Andrew McNulty and Josh Greer, headed into the fall.

While obviously disappointing news for Williams, this is good news for North Texas, a team still desperately trying to find its identity headed into the 2015 season, its 5th under current head coach Dan McCarney.

In the early 00's, North Texas was known for its ground-and-pound under former coach Darrell Dickey, which was good enough for four consecutive Sun Belt league titles and four consecutive bowl games.  As the rest of the Belt started to catch up with Dickey, he was replaced with high-school-to-college coach Todd Dodge, who promptly ran the program into the ground, finishing with consecutive losing seasons until the AD realized nothing was going to improve, and fired him in favor of someone with actual college experience-- Dan McCarney.

Nine quarterbacks is a lot to carry into the fall, and while Williams showed a lot of promise during his 77-3 dismantling of Nicholls State, that was still Nicholls State, a school North Texas hadn't played since 2002 (the last time North Texas played a FCS team at all, prior to 2014).  While any non-Marshall school in C-USA should be happy with any success at all, a school needs to consistently beat FBS teams, or they'll go nowhere.

Williams run-and-gun style worked well against the lower- echelons of D-I, it did not work well for McCarney's style, or for North Texas.  In 2013 QB Derek Thompson took the team to the Heart of Dallas Bowl, where a strong ground game and multiple rushing touchdowns took North Texas through the best season in the last ten years, even defeating eventual C-USA champion Rice on their way to the prize.

A quarterback who can run and throw is, in theory, just what the doctor ordered, but slow and steady wins the race, and that appears to be what North Texas had in Thompson in 2013, and McNulty in 2014 and moving forward.  If McCarney is the guy (and we hope 2013 is more indicative of that than 2014), then the patience and experience of McNulty or Greer is what we're looking for.  Letting the competition resolve itself, finding players more suited to the style, is the best possible outcome for North Texas headed into 2015, provided McCarney can continue to build on that promise.