North Texas coach Seth Littrell took on the responsibility of calling plays after an offseason shakeup of his coaching staff.
Littrell acknowledged Tuesday that his ever-expanding list of responsibilities has grown again heading into the Mean Green’s game against SMU on Saturday at Apogee Stadium.
Additionally, Littrell is now the Mean Green’s de facto quarterbacks coach following the departure of Tate Wallis.
Wallis resigned last week after being arrested and charged with two counts of an improper relationship between a student and an educator.
The alleged incidents took place before Wallis joined UNT’s staff.
“I’m coaching quarterbacks,” Littrell said. “I’ve always been in the room. They’re going to hear the same voice. As the play caller, they have to think what I’m thinking.”
Graduate assistant coach Quinn Shanbour will also play a key role. Littrell has always spoken highly of the former UNT backup quarterback.
Shanbour lettered at UNT in 2017 and 2018. He worked with the Mean Green’s staff last season before joining in an official capacity in the offseason.
“Quinn has played the position and worked with our quarterbacks,” Littrell said. “He’s been around me a long time. It helps having another quarterback in that room and on the field.”
Littrell took over working with UNT’s quarterbacks heading into the Mean Green’s season-opening win over Houston Baptist on Sept. 5. Jason Bean and Austin Aune went into that game listed as co-starters.
Bean started and threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns in UNT’s 57-31 victory. Aune came off the bench to add 111 passing yards and another score on a night the Mean Green rolled up a program-record 721 yards.
UNT listed the two as co-starters heading into its season opener with Aune on the top line. A school spokesman said the school listed the pair in alphabetical order last week.
Bean jumped to the top line heading into the second game of the season and is expected to start.
Both are expected to work with Littrell for the foreseeable future. Littrell indicated that he would not immediately seek to fill the opening created by Wallis’ departure.
“It’s not a must,” Littrell said. “Why rock the boat?”
Mooney will be available this week
UNT will have one of its best players back this week in kicker Ethan Mooney.
The junior missed the Mean Green’s season opener with an undisclosed injury.
Zach Williams filled in. He hit a 30-yard field goal and all but one of his seven extra points.
Mooney hit all but one of his 44 extra points and 16 of his 20 field goals last season. He was a preseason All-Conference USA selection.
Running back Nic Smith is also expected to play this week. The senior did not play in the Mean Green’s win over HBU.
UNT expects to have full roster available
Littrell expects his full complement of players to be available this week as the UNT athletics department continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school has two active cases of the disease across its entire athletics department following its latest round of testing conducted last week. UNT has not released if the people who tested positive are coaches, staff members or athletes. It also has not acknowledged which sports those who tested positive are associated with.
Conference USA is requiring its schools to test football players three times per week.
“We’ll continue to stress with our guys to do the right thing. As of right now, yeah, we plan on it,” Littrell said of having all of his players available.
Littrell: UNT benefited from bye week
UNT’s game at Texas A&M that was scheduled for last weekend was canceled after the SEC called off nonconfernce play.
Littrell believes the Mean Green benefited from what amounted to an unexpected bye week.
“It allowed us to spend a little bit extra time on correcting our mistakes from game one and make sure that we’re doing everything we need to do as a football team to be a lot better it game two,” Littrell said. “It also gave us an opportunity to prepare a little bit longer on SMU, which is a really good football team.”
The off week also gave UNT some additional time to recover from a long training camp.
UNT resumed its offseason program following the COIVD-19 shutdown this summer and quickly transitioned to fall camp.
“It gave us an opportunity to make sure we focused on nutrition and our health as well,” Littrell said. “Overall, it’s been really, really good.”