The North Texas football team’s offensive line was one of the pleasant surprises of the 2020 season for the Mean Green.
UNT brought in a new offensive line coach in Mike Bloesch and had several new players to work into the starting lineup.
The Mean Green played well considering the circumstances. Dazion Carroll became a starter in the third week of the season when he replaced Chris Cassidy. Outside of that, UNT’s lineup stayed intact through the regular season.
The Mean Green allowed 17 sacks in 10 games after giving up 28 in 13 games in 2019.
UNT lost Oklahoma State transfer Jacob Farrell, who left the program after playing in the Mean Green’s loss to Appalachian State in the Myrtle Beach Bowl. Outside of Farrell, most of the Mean Green’s key players are set to return.
UNT added a pair of intriguing prospects to the mix in former Guyer standout Gabe Blair and Rayvon Crum. Blair is among the more highly rated players to sign with the Mean Green in recent years.
Here’s a look at how UNT’s line shapes up in the latest installment of our annual breakdown of the Mean Green’s roster on a position-by-position basis.
Key returnees: Anterrious Gray, Jr.; Dane Jackson, Fr.; Jacob Brammer, Jr.; Teeshaun Turpin, Jr.; Chris Cassidy, Rfr.; Jett Duncan, Fr.; Daxton Buyers, Rfr.; Kade Bond, Fr.; Manase Mose, Jr.; Cole Brown, So.; Dazion Carroll, So.; John Brunner, Rfr.
Key losses: Farrell, Brian Parrish, Erik Williams, Chad Hickson, Branson Kane
Newcomers: Blair, Crum
Biggest unanswered question: UNT has its entire starting offensive line back and could easily roll the same lineup out in 2021.
One of the big storylines to watch is if Blair or Crum can come in and claim a starting job in their freshman seasons. Blair passed on scholarship offers from Power Five teams to stay home and play for UNT. Crum was also highly regarded and could complete for immediate playing time.
Why 2021 production could be better: Nearly all of the Mean Green’s key players up front are returning and should benefit from the experience they gained last season as well as an additional year in UNT’s weigh training and nutrition programs.
The Mean Green should also be more comfortable with Bloesch and quality control coach Steven Haunga. Bloesch will continue to work with UNT’s offensive line after being promoted to offensive coordinator after serving as a co-coordinator last season.
Why 2021 production could be worse: There aren’t many reasons to believe UNT will take a step back in terms of its offensive line play this fall. The one area of concern could be depth.
The Mean Green stayed healthy most of the year and didn’t need to turn to its backups often. UNT lost a few players who could have provided options if a rash of injuries comes along.
Farrell certainly would have contributed. Williams was among the more highly regarded recruits UNT has signed in recent years. Parish opted out of the season, elected to transfer and landed at UMass.
The Mean Green definitely lost some talent with that wave of departures.
Overall outlook: UNT made significant progress in terms of its performance along its offensive front in what was a year of transition.
There is no reason to think the Mean Green won’t continue to make progress under Bloesch. UNT has good leadership with Brammer and Mose returning and some high-end talent arriving with Blair and Crum.
The group should continue to grow through the offseason and into next year.
Here’s our series so far:
- Quarterbacks — Ruder joins fray as UNT’s situation improves from a year ago
- Running backs — UNT poised to thrive in running game behind Torrey, Adaway
- Wide receivers, tight ends — UNT has plenty of talent after losing all-time great in Darden