Dan McCarney is reaching back to his past in the hope of making his first spring game as the head coach at North Texas a memorable one.
UNT will have its No. 1 and No. 4 offenses and defenses team up as the Green team, which will face the White team that will be made up of the No. 2 and No. 3 offenses and defenses in the 1 p.m. game Saturday at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. The game will consist of four 12-minute quarters and will begin with the White team having a 17-0 lead.
UNT announced the format for its spring game on Wednesday before going through its last practice ever at Fouts Field.
"It's something we did at Iowa State," McCarney said of the format. "I have gone with 17 to 24 points for the twos and threes. When you shorten the quarters, there is a lot more urgency and game-like situations. The ones can't go out and waste possessions. My ones have never lost, but there have been some close games. My first year at Iowa State we were bad. My ones had to go on a two-minute drill to win the game 7-6, and that wasn't because of great defense.
"We get a lot more out of it that way."
The White team will be coached by linebackers coach Anthony Weaver, while the Green team will be led by running backs coach Mike Grant.
UNT has made significant progress throughout spring practice, but McCarney said there is still a lot to be gained in the spring game.
"It's one last evaluation and it is an important evaluation," McCarney said.
Chancellor progressing as a wide receiver
Brelan Chancellor established himself as one of top kick returners in the Sun Belt Conference last season when he averaged 28.0 yards on 33 attempts with two touchdowns.
One of UNT's goals in spring practice was to help the sophomore begin to translate the talent he showed on special teams to being a threat as a wide receiver.
UNT has seen Chancellor improve throughout the spring.
"We are seeing bits and pieces," McCarney said. "Last year they had him in one spot and left him there. We are not doing that now. All of our wide receivers need to be able to play multiple positions. We are throwing a lot more at him mentally. I am glad he is on this team. He works hard and hardly says anything. Right now he is a solid receiver and an outstanding kick returner. We want him to be an outstanding receiver. He will be. He just needs a lot of practice."
Dunbar has turf toe
Running back Lance Dunbar developed a case of turf toe in UNT's final practice at Fouts Field.
The senior will be fine, but McCarney was thrilled to leave Fouts behind for the final time. UNT will have its final practice of the spring at the Darrell R. Dickey Practice Facility later this week. When UNT reconvenes in the fall following its spring game, its new stadium will be ready.
"That is why I want to get out of here," McCarney said. "It's bad turf. We had two knee injuries in the inside drill and two turf toes. It's all worn out. It's like playing on a street. We didn't have a choice because we would have had to practice without 20 guys if we went at 3:30 on Wednesday."
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .