The Mean Green football squad has a bunch of issues it needs to work out after last season's 4-8 disappointment. There's breaking in a new defensive coordinator, replacing two four-year starters on the offensive line and, of course, quarterback.
I've already detailed where North Texas stands at quarterback going into the spring. To recap: it's, uh, not good. But the thing is, there is one player at that position who could be the key to North Texas heading back to a bowl game, and recapturing the momentum the program had two year ago.
I may sound crazy. After all, how can a quarterback who was the third guy North Texas turned to be any kind of savior? The answer is that even with his flaws, he's the quarterback which gives Dan McCarney's squad the best chance to win, and is the best fit.
We know what Josh Greer is, and that isn't a starter. We have no idea what Connor Means is, but even if he does have talent, let's not pretend that North Texas is going to hand over its offense to a redshirt freshman. It even took them a while to turn to Dajon Williams last year.
Speaking of Williams, he remains the wildcard. McCarney maintained that North Texas' most talented quarterback was Williams, but Williams just wasn't able to take any kind of leap forward.
Enter McNulty, who provided some sort of stability for the Mean Green at quarterback for the latter half of last season. He wasn't great, but he wasn't bad either, and that's all the Mean Green need.
What was Derek Thompson? Not a phenomenal quarterback by any means, but he was good enough to get the job done in the 2013 season. Granted, Thompson had the perfect team around him in 2013 with a stout defense, power running game and good receivers, and it remains to be seen if this incarnation of the Mean Green has anything close to that.
But McNulty is a lot like Thompson in that he can be pretty good with the right pieces around him, or he can at least make North Texas average on offense. The same can't be said for the other quarterbacks on the roster.
The problem with Greer was he looked like a dear in headlights. Teams would take away North Texas' running game and force Greer to throw, which he just couldn't do. The problem with Williams was he'd make too many mistakes and simply didn't have a grasp on the offense that North Texas wanted to run. Sure he adds another dimension to the Mean Green offense, but that means nothing if he can't take care of the ball. There are other quarterbacks on the roster, but all of them are inexperienced and unknowns.
McNulty is by no means perfect, but he is the best quarterback for the Mean Green at this time. Let's say he gets hurt. Do we honestly expect McCarney to feel good about trusting Greer or Williams with the keys to the offense? Absolutely not. But, I do think there is a certain level of comfort he has in McNulty's ability to run the offense and keep things afloat at quarterback.
McNulty is going to be the starter going into the offseason, and through the offseason. He's probably going to be starting for game one against SMU. That may not get fans excited, but no one can hide from the fact that it's probably the best thing for the Mean Green, and that McNulty may in fact be North Texas' most crucial player.