5 Players to Watch: North Texas

Billy takes a look at five players to watch for North Texas in SMU's matchup against the Mean Green on Saturday.

QB Josh Greer

Former Navarro College quarterback Josh Greer will get the start most likely after starting against Texas even though he only completed two of 11 passes for eight yards and two interceptions. Andrew McNulty, didn’t fare any better, completing one pass and threw two interceptions as well. Greer completed 64 percent of his passes for Navarro and in Mike Canales’ short passing attack, is likely to improve against SMU’s bend, but not break defense. North Texas is replacing its two top wide receivers so Greer will be trying to break in his new receivers so he can improve from his tough debut at Texas.

WR Carlos Harris

North Texas leading returning receiver with over 500 yards and two touchdowns is going to be the top target for SMU to watch even at 5-8, 175 pounds. A former two-star recruit, Harris is shifty and will be an important option for UNT’s quarterbacks underneath to try and get some sort of passing game going. Harris didn’t have a catch against Texas, but no one really did, with just three receptions by all the receivers. Harris is used in the running game as well, having two carries for eight yards. SMU will have to watch this all-purpose player for the Mean Green. Harris averaged 7.8 yards per touch last season so he can make some plays with the ball in his hands.

DE Chad Polk

UNT lost their top three tacklers along the defensive line, but returning is junior defensive end Chad Polk, who had 14 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and three sacks last season. SMU had plenty of trouble protecting the quarterback against Baylor so the SMU offensive line will have to pay attention to Polk. Polk is undersized at 6-feet, 220, but he has the speed to be a difference maker if SMU lets him.

OLB Derek Akunne

A lot of talk has been about Oregon transfer Anthony Wallace, but Akunne is one of the leaders at linebacker for the Mean Green. The 6-0, 244-pound senior is trying to pick up the slack for departed Zach Orr, but after notching 67 tackles last season the dropoff shouldn’t be bad for the Mean Green. Against Texas, UNT’s front was able to limit Texas to 164 yards on the ground. SMU had some trouble against Baylor’s running game and will have to step up and get the ground game moving against a tough UNT defense.

SS Lairamie Lee

Gone is free safety Marcus Trice, but the hard-hitting Lee will be a big playmaker on the backend if SMU has the chance to go vertical in the passing game. The senior had 60 tackles last year and three interceptions as well. Lee is a playmaker for a UNT secondary that returns three starters and plenty of experience. The SMU quarterbacks will have to watch out for Lee on the backend if they’re going to avoid some of the mistakes from the Baylor game.

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