Catch Up On North Texas' Remarkable Football Season With Nine Episodes of Beyond The Green.
Losing is no longer acceptable at the University of North Texas. Or so go the words that are reiterated, week after week, by the school's head football coach, Dan McCarney.
McCarney, who's in his third season with North Texas, has worked hard to change the culture surrounding the football program and is finally moving on from a recent history of losing streaks, low pride and low attendance at football games. This season, the North Texas Mean Green are finally in the position that the university, its students and its alumni have been for so long clamoring: With a 7-3 record on the season and a current five-game win streak, the Mean Green are in line to pull off the program's best season since 2003, when the team went 9-3 and won the Sun Belt Conference title.
This year's success may have taken most everyone outside the locker room by surprise — but the athletic department and McCarney knew that this would be the breakout season for their football program. With that in mind, the athletic department created a behind-the-scenes series titled Beyond The Green, inspired by HBO's sports documentary Hard Knocks that follows a select NFL team through training camp. The series has been documenting the UNT season since early August.
So far, the show has premiered nine episodes, the most recent of which features North Texas' conference win over Rice University on Halloween. A typical episode features a player or a coach, and documents his impact on the team, as well as the team's preparation for the week's game. The whole premise is to give fans — and, no doubt, potential recruits — an inside-look at team practices and travels. But by far the most captivating aspect of the show is coach McCarney's interaction with his team.
Each onscreen appearance from the head coach demonstrates his intensity and the enthusiasm he's hell bent on ingraining on the North Texas program. Whether it's during a practice, a pre-game meal, a pre-game speech or at halftime, McCarney stresses the importance of playing as a family, playing tough, being more prepared than any other team and not accepting losses. It's all quite inspiring.
This Saturday, as North Texas plays its final home game of the season at Apogee Stadium against University of Texas at San Antonio, the team looks to lock up an undefeated season at home, while setting itself up in prime position for a chance to play in the Conference USA championship game.
It's a new era for Mean Green football. That much is certain.
So, if you haven't been keeping up this season, catch up now with the first nine episodes of Beyond The Green. They're well worth the watch.
Episode 1: North Texas vs. Idaho.
This season is North Texas' inaugural season in the Conference USA. Episode 1 focuses on North Texas' step up to the new conference, and what it means for the university and program. Safety Marcus Trice makes it clear that, in August, the team believed this would be their breakout year.
Episode 2: North Texas vs. Ohio.
After its season-opening victory, the team reflects how important it was to start their season off right and how vital that win was to changing the culture of the program. Also featured is defensive back Freddie Warner's struggle with injuries in his three years at North Texas. Warner has suffered two ACL tears to the same knee, but has made full recoveries from both. Unfortunately, before the start of this season, Warner broke his forearm, forcing him to sit out yet another season.
Episode 3: North Texas vs. Ball State.
McCarney stresses his point that losing is not acceptable after the team's loss to Ohio. The Mean Green bounced back against Ball State, though, overcoming a 17-point deficit and showing a resiliency that hadn't yet been seen from the team.
Episode 4: North Texas vs. Georgia.
North Texas faces its most difficult opponent of the season in the No. 10-ranked Georgia. The episode showcases the confidence McCarney has in his team.
Episode 5: North Texas vs. Tulane.
Senior linebacker and team leader Zach Orr is featured as he visits his home in DeSoto during a bye week. The rest of the team prepares for its game against Tulane in New Orleans, where UNT played in four straight bowl games from 2001 to 2004.
Episode 6: North Texas vs. Middle Tennessee.
Coach McCarney looks back on overcoming a stroke and heart surgery in recent years, but never wavers in his intensity with his team.
Episode 7: North Texas vs. Louisiana Tech.
For the first time in 9 years and 101 games, North Texas wins back-to-back games and kicks off the team's current winning streak. The team's “championship defense” is featured for its tough, turnover-forcing play.
Episode 8: North Texas vs. Southern Miss.
Three-year starter, team leader and academic standout offensive lineman Cyril Lemon is featured for his impact on the team. Nicknamed “The Rev,” Lemon serves as a role model and the spiritual anchor for the team.
Episode 9: North Texas vs. Rice.
“Hit Six” has been one of the many rally cries for North Texas this year. Why? Six wins earns the team bowl eligibility. During the Rice game, North Texas completes an eight-play goal-line stand to seal the victory and earn bowl-eligibility. It's now known as “The Stand,” and is being viewed as the turning point for the new North Texas era.