UNT’s offense might have been the most confounding unit in Texas a year ago. The Mean Green struggled to protect quarterback Mason Fine and dropped from No. 27 to No. 52 nationally in scoring offense.
Seth Littrell didn’t hesitate. He fired offensive coordinator Bodie Reeder and will take over full-time play-calling responsibilities for the first time since he was at North Carolina. With Littrell leading the way, expect the offense to move back towards the air raid concepts that helped elevate UNT to conference contention.
“I’m not going to go too far away from my identity,” Littrell said. “Obviously, we’ve hired some guys that have done different things and had a lot of success, so we’ve implemented some of that stuff. But for the most part, I’m going to do what I do.”
For this to work, everything relies on the quarterback position, where the Mean Green must replace a four-year starter. Junior Jason Bean holds the inside track after serving as primary backup, but former Yankees minor leaguer Austin Aune is pushing hard in his third year on campus. The battle will go up until game week.
While replacing Fine will define the 2020 offense, the offensive line presents a far more pressing issue. Guard Manase Mose ranks as the only full-time starter back from a unit that’s struggled for years. Junior Jacob Brammer will play a key role. JUCO transfers Teeshaun Turpin and Anterrious Gray will add key depth to the group.
If the QB and offensive line situations can get up to speed, there’s plenty of reason for optimism. Jaelon Darden leads a receiver group positioned for a breakout. Sophomores Jyaire Shorter and Deonte Simpson combined for more than 700 yards and 11 touchdowns; both are in line for breakout seasons.
However, running back might be the best position on the roster. Junior Tre Siggers rushed for 853 yards in 2019. Second-string rusher DeAndre Torrey came just shy of 1,000 yards in 2018 and should receive an expanded role with Littrell calling plays.
Littrell is betting big on himself by taking over the offense, and for good reason. His track record of overhauling struggling offenses earned him the UNT job in the first place. Competing for championships in Conference-USA relies on the offense rediscovering its mojo.
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