Spring games are tough to watch because, well, it's not real football. But, going into North Texas' annual Green vs. White game there was a lot to watch out for. After all, this is a team that went 4-8 last year after a bowl victory the year before. That being said, there are a few things I took away from the Mean Green spring game.
The Green team, made up of the first and third stringers, ended up beating the white team, made up of the second and fourth string, 48-36. The game was played with 12 minute quarters and the White team began the game with a 21-0 lead.
1. Quarterback competition is over: Okay, maybe it's not over but it's pretty close to it. Andrew McNulty played well for the Green team, going 14-29 for 342 yards and three touchdowns. Freshman Connor Means also got some time for the Green team and showed some flashes, but he played no where near as well as McNulty. The White team alternated between Josh Greer and Dajon Williams. Greer struggled during his time out there, going 10-17 with one interception. But Williams, on the other hand, looked good and even led the team on a touchdown drive. Make no mistake though, at this point, it's McNulty's job to lose. North Texas also went to a more up-tempo offense, something Dan McCarney said has been a focus this spring. McNulty seems like the right guy to lead them in that direction.
2. Running game will be a strength: This Mean Green team doesn't have one workhorse running back, but a bunch of pretty good ones. Senior Antoinne Jimmerson started for the Green team, which featured the first stringers, but guys like Willey Ivery and Jeffrey Wilson looked good in the ball game. The Mean Green's "running back by committee" could end up being a tremendous strength for them.
3. The offense has weapons: Assuming McNulty does get the starting job, he will have a bunch of weapons to work with and that was evident today. Senior receiver Carlos Harris had six catches for 183 yards while sophomore Turner Smiley had five catches for 124 yards and three touchdowns. Granted, it's a spring game, but it is nice to know that some of these wide receivers have developed enough to potentially be legitimate threats on the Mean Green offense.
4. Trevor Moore: You could argue that Trevor Moore was the Mean Green's MVP last year, and he didn't disappoint in the spring game. Moore hit field goals from 26, 40 and 35 yards. The freshman was a huge security blanket for the Mean Green last year, especially when the offense stagnated. They can't lean on him all the time, but the fact that he looks like he hasn't taken a step back is a positive sign.
5. Offensive line, defense still improving: The two biggest question marks on the team, the defense and offensive line, showed some positive signs, but overall it was clear they are still working on improving. The defense is trying to adjust to new defensive coordinator John Skladany. Both the Green and White teams had a couple of timely sacks and pass break ups, but the first team defense did get burned by the second string offense a few times. There are four new starters on the starting offensive line, and they performed relatively well. They allowed a few sacks, but overall McNulty had plenty of time to throw and find who we wanted. Expect this unit to look more cohesive by the time North Texas plays SMU.