North Texas has lost tight end Marcus Smith for the season with a torn ACL.
Smith caught one pass for 4 yards this season. He will have surgery to repair the knee for the second time. The former San Antonio Warren standout tore his ACL in the same knee during his high school career.
UNT received much better news when it comes to the status of several other players heading into its game against Florida Atlantic.
UNT could have defensive end Brandon McCoy back. He has not played since the first half of the Mean Green’s season-opening loss to LSU.
Linebacker Jeremy Phillips returned to the Mean Green’s lineup against Troy and played 34 snaps. McCarney said his role should increase this week.
Tight end Andrew Power also should be back after playing just six snaps against Troy due to injury.
UNT starts 2-0 in Sun Belt
UNT swept its opening weekend of Sun Belt Conference play, beating Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe.
UNT topped ULL 2-0 before edging ULM 2-1.
“The important thing to me is to win these games and get into position to win another championship,” UNT head coach John Hedlund said. “We are moving to a new conference and have done well against all these teams. We are never going to schedule these teams again. We are going to get their best shot.”
UNT will move to Conference USA next season.
The Mean Green will face South Alabama and Troy this weekend before taking on Florida International, a team Hedlund said would be one of UNT’s key rivals for the Sun Belt title.
UNT off to good start in conference play
UNT swept its opening two matches in Sun Belt play last week behind Carnae Dillard. The freshman averaged 4.82 kills per set and was named the Sun Belt Player of the Week after leading the Mean Green to wins over Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe.
ULL took UNT to five sets.
“We had a battle and a half on Saturday with a five-setter,” UNT head coach Ken Murczek said. “We are excited about the result because you never know what is going to happen in a fifth set.”
UNT (16-5, 2-0 Sun Belt) has won six matches in a row heading into matches at Arkansas State and Arkansas-Little Rock this week.
UALR (6-8) is also 2-0 in the conference.
“I haven’t thought about winning six in a row,” Murczek said. “We finished nonconference and started conference play and a new season.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .