The cliché has been said during every North Texas press conference this season.
But that can probably be said for most programs throughout college football. It seems as if every college football coach in the country emphasizes the importance of taking the season “week-by-week” or “going 1-0 every week.” However, none may preach the “reset” motto quite like UNT’s Seth Littrell.
It started Week 2 after the Mean Green had just handled rival SMU to start the season. But by the next Tuesday at Littrell’s press conference, it was old news and the team needed to look forward to Incarnate Word. It was emphasized that week, with the FCS opponent sandwiched between a rivalry win and a road contest against SEC foe Arkansas. But two weeks later after the Mean Green had beaten UIW and Arkansas to become 3-0, it was still the same thing: Reset for Liberty, which UNT thumped to improve to 4-0 and enter Conference USA play against Louisiana Tech this weekend undefeated.
“I’m very proud of the reset,” safety Khairi Muhammad said. “Guys, like myself, I had two picks (against Arkansas), Mason (Fine) had a great game, Nate (Brooks) had a great game, Kemon (Hall) had a pick-6, but it was just like when it came down to it to prepare for Liberty, it was like it was all over. It was just on to next week.”
It’s no longer just Littrell who repeats “reset” at UNT press conferences. That was obvious Tuesday during the Mean Green’s media availability before starting conference play. After Littrell took the podium, another player did, one-by-one, and all of them said the word “reset” at least once during their interview.
“Every team is out to get us,” linebacker E.J. Ejiya said. “They’re out to ruin the undefeated record. Each team wants to be like, ‘OK, we beat that streak for North Texas.’ It is a big target on our back, and it’s a lot of pressure on us, but we handle that well.
“We just come in each and every week and just reset. I can’t preach that enough; just reset every week and just keep the momentum going, never slowing down.”
The “Reset” persona was paired with it being a “new season” with C-USA play starting Saturday. Littrell said non-conference play is pretty much to see how teams stack up before conference play kicks off.
“Everybody is 0-0,” Littrell said. “The games that truly matter are the ones that are fixing to be played within our conference play.”
And again, Littrell’s players echoed.
“The 4-0 don’t mean nothing right now because it’s a brand new season being conference play,” quarterback Mason Fine said. “It’s 0-0.”
But apparently the cliché isn’t as boring as it sounds. Littrell said the “Reset” process starts with a celebration. Whether the team wins by 40 or by 1, home or away, the Mean Green rejoice in the locker room or on the plane ride home.
“I think it’s so important that you can’t get on a roll and forget and take for granted that winning is challenging,” Littrell said. “You gotta do the right things. All the hard work that goes into that week, it takes everybody. I think you have to be able to enjoy that process, enjoy those victories, because, again, they’re hard to come by. Just ask anybody in the country who lost this week.”
But on Sunday, the celebration ends when the team returns to the athletic center to watch film from the previous game.
“Once we make those corrections, then we get out back out on that field on Sunday night,” Littrell said. “That’s the reset button.”
The “Reset” mentality is something Littrell learned from going 13-0 and winning a national title as a fullback at Oklahoma. Littrell hasn’t been part of an undefeated team since, and although UNT is capable of achieving the feat this season, and fans and media are already pointing out the possibility, it’s not the Mean Green’s ultimate goal. Of course, when Littrell was asked about an undefeated season he obviously preached taking the season week-by-week, as did his players.
“I think every team would want an undefeated season, but we don’t look at it that way,” Ejiya said. “We just look at it as taking it week-by-week and just handling the opponent every week. That’s our saying: reset. Reset every time and just continue to build off each win, and then just keep on working every week.”
So far, the “Reset” motto has helped UNT to 4-0 for the first since 1966. A win against La Tech on Saturday would boost the Mean Green to 5-0 for the first time since 1959. But don’t bring up anything other than this week to Littrell.
“We have a lot of football games to be played,” Littrell said. “If you start thinking about this is already a special season, you can just as easily go, what, 4-9? That wouldn’t be such a special season to me. It’s about the big picture.”