Get to know Idaho's opponent: North Texas

STATESMAN WIRE SERVICESAugust 28, 2013 

Established QB

Senior Derek Thompson will start for the third straight season, but only Monday did he officially win a four-player race.

"We feel good about the improvement and the consistency Derek has shown in camp,'' coach Dan McCarney told the Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle. "I'm really proud of what he has done the last few weeks."

Thompson threw for 2,649 yards last season, and his 4,551 career yards are sixth best in school history. But North Texas went 4-8 last season as Thompson threw as many interceptions as touchdowns (14).

No sack for you

North Texas led the nation by allowing only six sacks last season (none in nine games).

"We're always striving to do better," said junior guard Cyril Lemon, one of three returning starters.

McCarney said as many as nine linemen will be in the rotation.

Defensive line depth

McCarney, who is working with 85 scholarships for the first time in three years at North Texas, said that even on its best days the past two seasons, the line has been "below average" in numbers and production.

"We have nine or 10 that we think can give us a chance to play this year," McCarney said. "We've never had more than four or five. ... Hopefully those days are behind us, and hopefully we can be a great solid contributor."

Early at home

The Mean Green play their season opener at home for the first time in 12 years. They play two of their first three games at home, something that also hasn't happened since 2001.

They were 7-4 at home the first two seasons in their new stadium - after going 1-16 in Denton the three years before that.

Lone Star love

North Texas is one of four Texas teams in Conference USA, giving them three games against in-state opponents. The Mean Green played only one Texas opponent in each of the past three seasons.

Senior linebacker Zach Orr, who had 108 tackles last season, said they look forward to finally getting to play against "a lot of guys we played high school with or high school against."

UNT is picked fourth in C-USA's West Division.

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