North Texas exceeded expectations last season, building a solid foundation for the football program in the process. Under first-year head coach Seth Littrell, the Mean Green went from 1-11 in 2015 to 5-8 last season and a Heart of Dallas Bowl appearance.
Spring brings new optimism and new expectations. The Mean Green are back on the practice field for spring practice with more confidence than before. North Texas gave Littrell a new five-year contract and the coaching staff is now complete after bringing in four new coaches for the 2017 season.
“The offseason is the most important part for any program,” said running back Jeffrey Wilson. “We’ve been going hard this offseason. We’ve been working hard every day and striving to be the best that we can be.”
The addition of new faces isn’t just on the coaching side, but with the roster. The Mean Green inked 18 recruits on National Signing Day and also added redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jalen Guyton. The former Allen standout came back home to North Texas via Notre Dame and Trinity Valley Community College and has been impressive during the first week of spring practice.
“It’s exciting,” said Guyton after Wednesday’s practice. “My main thing is to come in, starting making plays, establish myself and do what I can to help the team. If I’m doing that, I feel like I’m fitting in pretty good.”
The Mean Green have plenty of positives to build on from last season, including at quarterback. Mason Fine saw significant time at the position last season as a freshman before suffering a shoulder injury in November, causing him to miss the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Fine threw for 1,572 yards and six touchdowns in ten games in his first year in Denton.
“I came in with the same mentality this spring ball as I did last year,” said Fine. “I performed well at times last year but we went back and watched film and there’s still a lot of room for improvement.”
North Texas opens the 2017 season against Lamar on September 9 in Denton. While last year is considered a step in the right direction, the program is ready to turn the page and focus on improving for the upcoming season.
“It was great last year but I think the attitude is you’re not settled with last year’s performance,” added Fine. “We don’t want to be satisfied. We want to keep reaching for our goals which is a conference championship.”