clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Texas versus North Texas: Five Mean Green players to watch

Who to watch during the season opener.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

When the North Texas Mean Green come to Austin on Saturday to face off against the Texas Longhorns in the 2014 season opener, there won't be a lot of recognizable names on head coach Dan McCarney's squad.

So let's take a look at five players Horns fans should get to know before the game.

Quarterback Josh Greer

The Navarro College transfer who succeeded Miles Onyegbule at quarterback for Arlington High, Greer wasn't named the starting quarterback for the Mean Green until Monday.

The 6'5, 220-pounder took a circuitous route to Denton, having chosen UAB over North Texas during his recruitment as a member of the 2012 class. Considered a pro-style prospect, Greer was a consensus two-star prospect who left Birmingham quickly and didn't manage to earn any more stars during his year in Corsicana, even though he won the SWJCFC championship in throwing for 256 yards and a touchdown.

After arriving during the spring, Greer beat out an older player in Andrew McNulty and Austin-area product Dajon Williams, who was simply too inconsistent with little seasoning out of Pflugerville Connally.

Since the North Texas offense tried to spread defenses out horizontally, look for the Mean Green coaches to ask Greer to make some simple passes to start out the game, while biding some time to take a shot or two.

And without  any film on Greer besides the spring game, the Texas defense is preparing for the overall scheme and coaching staff.

Running back Reggie Pegram

A member of the 2010 class, Pegram transferred from Purdue after the 2010 class and made his North Texas debut last fall, finishing as the team's third-leading rusher despite having his season ended against Southern Miss in late October when he tore his ACL.

Already healthy, Pegram is a stocky back at 5'9 and 230 pounds who will try to punish the Horns inside after the Mean Green spread the defense out horizontally.

Right tackle Cyril Lemon

There are some observers of the program who believe that the fourth-year starter is better at right guard, where he formed a productive trio with center Kaydon Kirby and left guard Mason Y'Barbo. At 6'3 and 315 pounds, the Marble Falls product is a bit on the short side for a high-level collegiate tackle. Three times an All-Conference selection, Lemon will be challenged by star Texas defensive end Cedric Reed, who not only has long arms, but is also two inches taller than the North Texas right tackle.

As a whole, the line has only given up 17 sacks in the last two seasons combined, but Lemon may have a tough time keeping Reed off the stat sheet in that category.

Defensive end Chad Polk

With 14 tackles last season, Polk is the leading returnee in that category for the Mean Green along the defensive line, which lost its three most productive players from last season. At 6'0 and 231 pounds, Polk is part of a massively undersized North Texas defensive line.

If Polk can't hold up against the Texas tackles, the Horns could find some serious success in the running game.

Safety Lairimie Lee

Known as a hard hitter, Lee patrols the North Texas secondary from his strong safety position and made an impact in a variety of ways for the Mean Green last season -- he registered four tackles for loss, three interceptions, two passes broken up, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. One of those interceptions he returned for a touchdown.

Texas starting quarterback David Ash will have to be aware of where Lee is in the secondary, especially if he scrambles or otherwise ends up in the open field -- Lee is the type of player who could imperil Ash's career if Ash doesn't make good on his promise to slide more often.

But the wideouts will have to be aware of Lee across the middle as well and Ash will have to help them out by not putting them into dangerous positions. Lee might be listed at 5'10, but he packs plenty of pop in his 197-pound frame.

Perhaps overlooked out of Tyler Chapel Hill because of his height and the fact that he played linebacker along with churning up yards at running back, Lee will have something to prove on a big stage Saturday evening.

He made plays in high school with eight interceptions and 10 forced fumbles as a senior and has continued to do so at North Texas. This weekend, Texas will have to minimize his opportunities to do so.


The Mean Green also feature a former Texas player and a former Texas target.

Wide receiver Darius Terrell

The former DeSoto star basketball player was more known for his lack of filter on Twitter during his time at Texas than he was for any contributions on the field. One of the big, slow wide receivers that the Horns tried to somehow turn into a fast tight end, Terell caught only one pass for three yards.

Now in his second season with the Mean Green, Terrell is back at his preferred position of wide receiver, but isn't starting and didn't make much of an impact last season with seven catches for 76 yards and a lone touchdown that came in his North Texas debut in last season's opener.

Linebacker Anthony Wallace

Texas recruitniks remember the name of former Dallas Skyline linebacker Anthony Wallace back when former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly's close, uh, friend and former player Baron Flenory was reportedly hanging around the Dallas-area powerhouse.

Rated as a four-star recruit out of high school, Wallace never made much of an impact for the Ducks and transferred after two seasons. He's ready to play after sitting out a season and will be critical to helping stabilize a linebacker corps that lost two starters and nearly 150 total tackles from the 2013 squad.

However, Wallace won't be starting after losing the starting middle linebacker job to sophomore Fred Scott, a former low three-star prospect from Kennedale who was rated as a fullback by 247Sports coming out of high school.