By Craig Fields
Nicholls State Colonels vs. North Texas Mean Green
Saturday – September 20 – 2:30pm
Apogee Stadium – Denton
The North Texas Mean Green will host the Colonels of Nicholls State this Saturday in a football game that will showcase two struggling programs trying to find an identity. Nicholls State is coming off of their third straight loss of the season, while the Mean Green will look to bounce back from a less than inspiring showing last week against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.
Nicholls State suffered a soul crushing 73-7 defeat at the hands of Arkansas in the second week of the young season. During that game they looked pretty inept in all phases of the game. During their week three loss, though they were competitive, it still ended in a 27-10 defeat handed to them by Henderson State.
This is a team going through rough times and major transitions. Their coach stepped down and resigned due to major health issues after their third loss. The Mean Green are going through their own set of transitions right now as well. One of these teams will walk out of that stadium feeling better about their program. There are a few reasons as to why that team will be the Mean Green.
With a move that will undoubtedly be for the better, Coach McCarney of the Mean Green has decided to start redshirt freshman Dajon Williams this weekend against the Colonels. Even though this will be a transition that affects the entire team, I feel like it will improve them significantly.
Dajon brings excitement, athleticism, and overall play making ability to the quarterback position. Last year Senior Derek Thompson was little more than a bus driver that supported a dominant running game. Though he was accurate and could make most throws, he was never really asked to win games based on his arm alone.
With a rushing game that is struggling this year, the quarterback position may need to be the strongest and most talented position on the team. Based on Josh Greer’s performance he can not lead a team to victory with his arm. Maybe Williams can.
At any rate we will see on Saturday. Williams should be able to find holes and gaps on the sideline and in the seams of the opposing defense. They are not a talented bunch and lack the ability to really get to the quarterback.
Williams may not have to showcase an ability to win the game with his arm because of the Mean Green running backs. Reggie Pegram and Antoinne Jimmerson might be all the fire power that this team may need. The Colonels have a hard time stopping the run. They have a hard time stopping everything, but I chose to focus on the run because if Coach McCarney had it his way, the Mean Green might only rush the ball the entire season.
There is no secret that McCarney feels like rushing the ball wins the game, and this Nicholls State team is absolutely terrible at stopping the run. However, all may not be loss for the Colonels. They just might surprise the Mean Green faithful and pull out a surprising win.
UNT struggles with big physical fronts. I’m talking about the lines of each side of the ball. Big physical guys on the offensive and defensive lines of teams can really wear down this undersized North Texas team. Now, Nicholls State does not play that way, but if they were able to put it together for 60 minutes on Saturday and really try to push the Mean Green around up front, then they could make this game competitive.
It is rather unclear how the team will play under interim head coach Steve Axman, however he has a wealth of experience with coaching stints at UCLA, Washington, Stanford, Minnesota and Arizona. He will definitely have his guys ready to play to the best of their abilities this weekend.
Prediction: 35-17 Mean Green