Littrell presser

North Texas head coach Seth Littrell held his weekly press conference on Tuesday in advance of the Mean Green's game against UAB on Saturday.

North Texas coach Seth Littrell and his players held their weekly press conference Tuesday in advance of their game at Southern Miss. 

The Mean Green are 2-3 overall after falling to Houston in their last game on Sept. 28 before a bye week. Southern Miss is 3-2.

Both teams are 1-0 in Conference USA play heading into a key showdown of West Division contenders. Here are five takeaways from the event.

1. UNT's coaches and players know just how big this game is 

UNT came into the season with sky high expectations.

The Mean Green were picked to win the C-USA West Division title in the league's preseason media poll, and that was just for starters.

UNT had visions of posting a big nonconference win, putting up huge offensive numbers and winning a bowl game at the end of the season.

The Mean Green missed out on their opportunities in nonconference play while falling to SMU, Cal and Houston.

The hope now is to get on a roll in C-USA play.

Littrell was surprisingly candid in his remarks on where UNT stands and where it hopes to go the rest of the season.

"It has been frustrating at times with the win column, but that doesn’t mean I am not enjoying this group," Littrell said. "We have to continue to grow and get a week better. We have to have some better outcomes."

2. The bye week did UNT some good

UNT endured a challenging first five weeks of the season.

Cal is a Power Five team, while SMU is ranked in the Top 25. Houston is struggling but still has the type of physical talent that can wear down a C-USA team.

The Mean Green needed a break.

"It was good to get a little extra time to rest our bodies and heal some bumps and bruises," Littrell said. "These guys have been going since the beginning of August. Hopefully this off week helped us reenergize and get our focus back."

3. Littrell isn't talking about play calling

Littrell mentioned in the offseason that he was considering calling plays this fall. UNT has a new offensive coordinator in Bodie Reeder, who replace Graham Harrell.

Littrell was asked where UNT stands as far as game planning and calling plays and declined to address the situation.

"It’s always evolving," Littrell said. "As an offensive staff, we are going to work well together. Whoever calling it on game day doesn’t matter. The work has been put in."

UNT is averaging a solid 33 points per game but has been held under 28 points in all three of its losses.

The Mean Green averaged 34.6 points per game last season.

4. Jack Abraham has UNT's attention

Southern Miss quarterback Jack Abraham leads C-USA with an average of 303 passing yards per game and has UNT's attention.

Abraham threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns in a win over UTEP in Southern Miss' last game.

"Abraham manages the game very well," Littrell said. "He doesn’t put them in bad situations. When a play is not good, he's smart enough to throw the ball away and play the next down. He is very comfortable getting the ball down the field to his receivers."

5. UNT's game against Southern Miss will be telling

Southern Miss' record is a little deceiving. The Golden Eagles have lost two games, but those losses came at Alabama and Mississippi State.

Southern Miss has taken care of business the rest of the way while beating Troy, UTEP and Alcorn State.

UNT is in essentially the same spot. 

The Mean Green have won the games they were expected to against Abilene Christian and UTSA while falling to Cal and a pair of AAC teams in Houston and SMU.

This looks like a 50-50 game for both teams, one that will say a whole lot about where both teams are near the midpoint of the season.

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

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