North Texas Mean Green

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Antonio Callaway #81 of the Florida Gators makes a catch for a touchdown during a game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Antonio Callaway’s status for Florida vs. UNT still up in the air

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On the surface, the availability of Antonio Callaway this weekend appears a little more realistic than it did just a couple of days ago.

In this past Saturday’s blowout of Kentucky, the Florida wide receiver sustained a quadriceps injury.  Monday, Jim McElwain stated he was “a little nervous about his leg” and uncertain about Callaway playing in the non-conference matchup with North Texas this Saturday.

Callaway didn’t practice Monday, and wasn’t at full-speed Tuesday.  On the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday, the head coach left the door open for Callaway to line up against the Mean Green.

“I’ll be looking, excited to see kind of how he looks today, especially as it goes through all the way through practice [today], because you could see he could run a little bit better as he worked through it,” McElwain explained.

That said, the Gators could very well sideline Callaway this weekend, if for nothing more than to give him additional time to heal up before a huge SEC East showdown with Tennessee Sept. 24.

With an offseason of off-field issues behind him, Callaway leads the Gators in receptions (13), receiving yards (201) and yards per reception (15.5).  He’s also tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with Brandon Powell with two.

Mountain West to consider expansion with or without Big 12 poaching

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 05:  The Championship Trophy, with the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Game trophies, sit on a table fieldside prior to the Mountain West Championship game between the San Diego State Aztecs and  the Air Force Falcons at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)
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Regardless of what happens in one Power Five conference, one Group of Five league could be expanding.

Air Force and Colorado State of the Mountain West have reportedly made the cut as the Big 12 looks to expand by at least two teams and possibly four.  That conference could make their expansion decision as early as the next month.

In the meantime, the MWC won’t be sitting idly by waiting to be poached as commissioner Craig Thompson confirmed Saturday that his conference will look to expand independent of what the Big 12 does.  And, more to the point, Thompson doesn’t hide the fact that the league would like a presence in the state of Texas.

“I can say this — and I said it at our [football] media days. We have a lot of people saying, ‘If there’s an opportunity to be in your league, we’re interested.’ So there are numbers there,” Thompson said, without getting into any specifics. “I’ve challenged our membership to think about expansion — with or without losing [current] members. Do we look east? Do we look at the state of Texas, for example?

“So that’s probably going to be something we have to confront this year.”

The Salt Lake Tribune mentions current Conference USA members North Texas, Rice, UTEP and UT-San Antonio as possibilities from the state of Texas.  The Sun Belt’s Arkansas State is also considered a viable option.

North Texas adds second K-State transfer lineman to roster

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Back in January, North Texas announced that it had added Kansas State defensive lineman Bryce English, who moved on from K-State to be closer to his cancer-stricken father.  Seven months later, the Mean Green has added another player from the same position group at the same school.

According to the Denton Chronicle, a UNT spokesperson has confirmed that Demonte Hood has been added to the Mean Green roster.  Hood has been at practice this week, although it’s unclear if that was as a participant or, for now, a spectator.

Unlike English, Hood will be coming to Denton as a graduate transfer, meaning he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2016.  The upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.

The 6-0, 303-pound defensive tackle played in 25 games for the Wildcats the past three seasons, including nine in 2015.  In that action, he was credited with 13 tackles, two tackles for loss and one quarterback hit.

Hood will be expected to immediately become a part of the Mean Green’s line rotation.

North Texas suspends leading returning receiver for opener vs. SMU

DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 01:  Fans of the UNLV Rebels cheer during a game against the North Texas Mean Green during the Heart of Dallas Bowl at Cotton Bowl Stadium on January 1, 2014 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
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An off-field incident will have an effect on North Texas’ offense on the field when the Mean Green kicks off the 2016 season.

Late last month, wide receiver Turner Smiley was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.  A few days later, head coach Seth Littrell revealed that Smiley will be suspended for UNT’s opener against SMU.

“It doesn’t matter if it is going to be tough on us or not, we are going to do things the right way in this program and this university,” a statement from the first-year coach began. “We are going to make sure we take care of our teammates and this university and are going to find the guys we trust to do that.

“There are consequences for your actions.”

Last season, Smiley was third on the team in receptions (25) and receiving yards (255).  He’s the leading returning receiver on the Mean Green, and the only player on the roster with more than 17 receptions last season.

Turner Smiley, UNT’s leading returning WR, arrested for DWI

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For the third consecutive day, it’s time to hit the reset button on the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker.

The latest to trigger a move back to double zeroes is North Texas’ Turner Smiley, with the Denton Police Department’s website showing that the wide receiver has been charged with driving while intoxicated.  The arrest took place shortly before 4 a.m. CST Wednesday.

No details of what led up to the arrest and charge are available.

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A UNT spokesman first confirmed that the football program is aware of the development, and later a statement attributed to head coach Seth Littrell was released.

We are aware of the situation regarding Turner Smiley from earlier this morning and we are still in the process of collecting all the facts.  Until I have an opportunity to talk with him I will refrain from further comment.  We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes and we take situations like this very seriously.  We will take an immediate and appropriate course of action after I speak with him.

Last season, Smiley was third on the team in receptions (25) and receiving yards (255).  He’s the leading returning receiver on the Mean Green, and the only player on the roster with more than 17 receptions last season.