There were times earlier in Dan McCarney’s coaching career when he had to wait and wonder right up until the last minute how his freshmen would look heading into fall practice.
Coaches would sign their players in February during his tenure as a head coach at Iowa State and as an assistant at Iowa and Wisconsin and then hope that they arrived right before the start of two-a-days in late July in shape.
McCarney won’t have to worry about his newcomers heading into his third season at North Texas.
All of UNT’s freshmen reported on time for summer school and went through their first session of summer conditioning on Monday afternoon.
McCarney said he does not anticipate any late problems with NCAA qualifying standards that would prevent any of UNT’s incoming freshmen from being eligible this season.
The question for UNT now is whether or not any of the team’s freshmen and late-arriving junior college players can help the team right away.
Having all of them on campus is a good start.
“We have to see how well they will learn the system, but I sure like this class,” McCarney said. “It helps a lot to have them here. When camp starts, conditioning won’t be an issue.”
UNT’s coaches won’t be able to work with the team’s players until the official start of two-a-days. Until then, UNT’s newcomers will work with strength coach Frank Wintrich.
McCarney has consistently praised Wintrich for his work in developing UNT’s players.
UNT is hoping that at least a few of its newcomers can make an impact this year after working with Wintrich over the summer, including tight end Chris Loving.
UNT’s staff was pleased with the progress of several of its junior college signees and Football Bowl Subdivision transfers during spring practice, including Zed Evans, a safety who transferred to UNT from Louisville.
Loving, who weighed in at 272 pounds, will have his opportunity to move into UNT’s plans over the next few weeks. One of UNT’s top players last season was tight end Andrew Power, who played a key role as a blocker in UNT’s running game.
“The clock is running fast,” McCarney said. “We want to see if anyone is ready to help us. It’s so hard to tell with new players.”
The fact the clock is running with defensive tackle Sid Moore on campus is an added bonus for UNT.
Moore had planned to grayshirt at UNT, delaying enrollment until December before a late spot in the Mean Green’s recruiting class opened just before signing day.
Moore signed with UNT but had some work to do late to qualify academically.
The lone defensive tackle in UNT’s class reported with the Mean Green’s other freshmen and is expected to be eligible this season.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 or via Twitter at @brettvito.