Monday practice notes

North Texas wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord runs his players through drills on Monday at Apogee Stadium.

North Texas returned to practice on Monday morning following its first scrimmage of spring workouts on Saturday.

UNT coach Seth Littrell provided his take on how the Mean Green are progressing early in spring practice, but before we get to the story that will appear in tomorrow's paper, it's time for a few practice observations and notes.

One of the position battles to watch this spring is at linebacker, where the Mean Green must replace E.J. Ejiya and Brandon Garner.

Mike Linehan and William LeMasters entered spring practice in position to claim those jobs. Both are playing well a week into drills, as is KD Davis, another player who served as a backup last year.

The player who might be making a move is Tyreke Davis. The Denton Ryan product started at the nickel spot last year when he split time with Jameel Moore.

Moore is back for his senior season.

Davis is seeing more time at linebacker. He would be small for that spot at 192 pounds but is tough and a hard hitter. 

UNT has a long way to go before deciding who its starting linebackers will be. Just don't count out the possibility that Davis could see time there.

And in other notes and observations ...

-- Cam Johnson dropped a sure interception in drills with wide receivers and defensive backs on the field but has played well overall early in the spring. 

-- There were close to a dozen high school coaches at practice.

-- Running back Loren Easly worked with a host of other players recovering from injuries today. That's a good sign for Easly, who was an impact player early in the year before going down with a season-ending injury.

-- Backup quarerback Austin Aune had a good day. He hit Dennis Smith for a touchdown in team drills and later hit Jyaire Shorter on a good deep ball.

-- Former UNT linebacker E.J. Ejiya watched practice.

And finally, a few plays that stood out ...

-- Cornerback Keelan Crosby intercepted a pass in one-on-one drills.

-- Jaelon Darden made a terrific move to get open in one-on-one drills in the red zone.

-- Mason Fine hit Rico Bussey Jr. for a touchdown in team drills. Bussey later made a great one-handed grab on a pass that was a little off target. 

-- Tight end Kelvin Smith made a nice catch in team drills.

-- Tre Siggers broke a long run in 11-on-11 drills. Siggers is back at running back after serving as a backup safety last year. 

-- Taylor Robinson intercepted a pass in team drills. 

-- Freshman quarterback Will Kuehne rolled out and hit Michael Lawrence in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Kuehne appears to be a lock for a redshirt year and is taking advantage of his limited opportunities in the spring. He's looked good for a guy who just showed up on campus. 

-- Dion Novil intercepted a screen pass from Fine and returned it for a touchdown. UNT's entire defense went wild. That tends to happen when a nose tackle intercepts a pass. 

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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