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Turnovers show an aggressive 2013 UNT football defense
Brett Medeiros / Senior Staff Writer
There is an old saying that defense wins championships, and since Dan McCarney took over the head coaching position two years ago, UNT has become a defense-first team.
Three games into the season, the Mean Green (2-1) has a turnover margin of plus four, a measurement of a defense’s success by subtracting the offense’s turnovers with the defense’s takeaways or turnovers forced. UNT’s turnover margin was plus one for the 2012 season.
“All throughout the spring, summer, and even now in the season, we do tackling drills and turnover drills every single day,” senior linebacker Zach Orr said. “We always want to be able to force turnovers and come away with the ball.”
Last season, the Mean Green defense forced 16 turnovers in 12 games. They are nearing that total already this year with 11 – seven fumble recoveries and four interceptions.
In last weekend’s 34-27 win against Ball State University (1-2), the Mean Green forced five separate turnovers including three recovered fumbles and two interceptions. The offense fumbled the ball only once.
“Any time you’re plus four on the turnover margin, you put yourself in the position to win games,” McCarney said.
Orr and junior safety Lairamie Lee lead the team in forced fumbles and fumble recoveries with two each this year, while four different players have an interception. Lee notched one of each in the game against Ball State.
“He’s a guy that is always a forced fumble waiting to happen,” McCarney said. “He can knock the ball out with the best of them.”
For UNT, the defensive output must be combined with good play from the offense and the special teams.
“When you have the opportunity to put all three things together, it becomes pretty hard to lose,” senior quarterback Derek Thompson said.
Next week, the Mean Green is taking on No. 9 University of Georgia (1-1), who has only turned the ball over twice all season. Kickoff is at 11:21 a.m. on Saturday.
Feature photo by Ryan Vance / Intern