Q&A with Brett Vito of the Denton Record-Chronicle

Brett Vito of The Denton Record-Chronicle approached me earlier this week with an idea I should’ve embraced long ago. We traded questions and answers about each other’s beats. Vito’s answers to my questions about North Texas follow.

1.  Much has been made about Dan McCarney changing the culture there. What have you been able to witness and what can you tell about the difference he’s been able to make so far?

I don’t think there is any question that McCarney has changed the face of the program. UNT’s players have a lot more confidence now and really believe in what McCarney is trying to do. He has tried to instill a hard-edged mentality and is creating competition among UNT’s players. UNT’s players are responding well.

2.  By all accounts, the difference between Fouts Field and Apogee Stadium is night and day. What’s your take?

Apogee has really made a difference in the program and sets UNT up for success down the line. Fouts really was a terrible college football venue. UNT spent $79 million on Apogee and did a really good job designing it. I have been to a lot of different venues at non-AQ schools around the country and Apogee is as good or better than any of them.

3.  Exactly how good is Lance Dunbar and what has impressed you about him?

Dunbar is as good a running back you are going to see at a non-AQ school. He has pretty good size, great speed and vision and is a complete player. He can run between the tackles and get to the corner. He is also a great guy. There just isn’t anything not to like about Dunbar.

4.  How closely do outsiders associate the program with the Texas State Armadillos from the movie “Necessary Roughness?” Yes, that’s a serious question.

Any time I mention that I cover UNT to anyone, the first question most people ask is about “Necessary Roughness”. That’s especially true for people who don’t know a lot about UNT. I guess the other big question is about Mean Joe Greene, who is also a great guy, by the way.

5.  What’s your prediction?

I anticipate this will be a pretty good game. UNT will be sky high while playing in its new venue and will have a lot to play for. Indiana will have an edge when it comes to overall talent, but will be on the road. I officially picked UNT in the upset, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Indiana win, either.