North Texas held its weekly press conference today in advance of its game at Cal on Saturday.
The Mean Green are 1-1 after falling to SMU 49-27 last week and will face what could be one of their biggest challenges of the season when they take on the Bears. Cal is 2-0 after knocking off No. 14 Washington 20-19 last week.
Here are five takeaways:
UNT's loss to SMU was a tough blow for the Mean Green
Losses are always tough to take, but all losses are not the same.
Falling to SMU was a painful blow for the Mean Green. The Mustangs are UNT's most bitter rival, and also happen to be a team UNT beat by 23 points last season.
"Everyone was disappointed in the loss," UNT coach Seth Littrell said. "It’s one thing to go out there, play really good football against a great opponent and feel like you left everything out there.
"When you feel like you didn’t play the way you needed to, there is some heartburn in that. You have to reset. That's no disrespect to SMU."
UNT had a chance to win consecutive games in its series against SMU for the first time ever.
Littrell talked about quickly turning the page after the setback. That will be a challenge for the entire program and the people who support it.
UNT gave credit to SMU for its shutting it down
The big question for UNT after its loss to SMU was how the Mustangs were able to shut down the Mean Green's offense.
Mason Fine threw for just 152 yards, his lowest total since his freshman season. Wide receiver Rico Bussey, a preseason All-Conference USA pick, finished without a catch.
Littrell and his players gave SMU's defense credit.
Fine said UNT tried to do too much at times and that everyone has to look at how they performed.
Fine said offensive coordinator Bodie Reeder told the team during meetings on Sunday there are adjustments he needs to make.
"Coach Reeder will tell you himself that he has to do a better job of getting Rico the ball," Fine said. "That is not coming from me. That is coming from him on Sunday. He is going to do a better job of getting the ball into our playmakers' hands. We are all going to look in the mirror."
Lineup changes could be on the way
Littrell didn't rule out lineup changes after the Mean Green continued to struggle in terms of giving up big plays defensively, especially in the passing game.
UNT ranks last among teams in Conference USA with an average of 282.5 passing yards allowed per game.
The Mean Green lost both of their starting cornerbacks after last season and also have a new starting nickel after Tyreke Davis moved to linebacker.
Jameel Moore started three games last season and became a fulltime starter at nickel this fall, when Cam Johnson and Nick Harvey have started at cornerback.
"We will see about lineup changes," Littrell said. "As coaches, we have to put our guys in situations to be successful. We know who our team is and are going to have to adjust."
UNT should have Elex Woodworth back this week
The good news for UNT's offense it that offensive lineman Elex Woodworth is expected to be back this week.
Woodworth missed UNT's first two games and is among the Mean Green's best offensive linemen.
The Mean Green struggled without him and allowed five sacks in their loss to SMU.
Cal has UNT's attention
UNT is well aware of the challenge it will face when it takes on Cal.
The Bears received the second highest number of votes among teams that didn't crack the AP Top 25 poll this week.
"I have played there and it’s not an easy place to win," Littrell said. "Cal is a very good team. We have to have great preparation this week."