Conference USA will kick off its annual media days on Wednesday, when the league’s East Division coaches and player representatives appear via Zoom.
North Texas coach Seth Littrell is slated to speak about the upcoming season along with C-USA’s West Division coaches on Thursday, the second day of the event. Offensive lineman Manase Mose and defensive lineman Dion Novil will appear along with Littrell.
C-USA elected to forgo a traditional in-person media day to hold its event virtually. The Big 12 held its media days event at AT&T Stadium last week, while the SEC and Mountain West are staging in-person events this week.
C-USA is coming off a season that saw its teams combine to go 0-6 in bowl games. UNT fell to Appalachian State in the Myrtle Beach Bowl in December and was picked to finish sixth in C-USA’s West Division in the league’s preseason media poll that was released on Monday.
Littrell spoke about where the Mean Green stood following spring practice earlier this year as they look to build on a 4-6 season.
“We still have a long way to go, but I’m really excited about where we’re at,” Littrell said. “There was good back-and-forth competition, which is always good to see in the spring.”
Littrell and his players emphasized the importance of building on what they accomplished during the spring in summer workouts. UNT’s trio will address how those summer workouts have gone and where the team stands as it looks to address a few lingering issues.
Perhaps the biggest is where the Mean Green stand as they adjust to defensive coordinator Phil Bennett and his scheme. The former SMU coach took over UNT’s defense in the offseason and will be the Mean Green’s third coordinator in three years.
UNT linebacker KD Davis spoke highly of Bennett and the progress the Mean Green are making over the summer. UNT allowed 42.8 points per game last season, leaving the Mean Green plenty of room for growth as they adjust to a scheme with a base four-man front.
“Coach Bennett comes in every day with high intensity,” Davis said. “He makes sure we get better.”
While UNT’s defense is its largest issue, the Mean Green’s quarterback race is also an important storyline heading into media days.
Jason Bean and Austin Aune split time last season. Bean has since left the program and transferred to Kansas.
Littrell said over the summer that Aune has improved after throwing for 1,650 yards and 13 touchdowns last season and is in position to start. He’ll be challenged by North Carolina graduate transfer Jace Ruder, who arrived over the summer.
UNT will be far from the only team in C-USA looking to make the jump from bowl participant to bowl winner after last season’s dismal postseason showing.
UTSA, Western Kentucky, Marshall, Florida Atlantic and Louisiana Tech also lost bowl games last season. UAB beat Marshall in the C-USA title game and was scheduled to face South Carolina in the Gasparilla Bowl before it was canceled.
UAB and Marshall will be among the teams C-USA will depend on this year to break through for a bowl win. UAB was picked to win the West Division and Marshall the East Division in the league’s preseason media poll released earlier this week.
The league followed up on Tuesday by releasing its preseason superlative awards. UTSA running back Sincere McCormick was named C-USA’s Offensive Player of the Year, Western Kentucky defensive end DeAngelo Malone the Defensive Player of the Year and UTSA punter Lucas Dean the Special Teams Player of the Year.