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Dan McCarney Talks North Texas Football

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Dan McCarney leads North Texas into Conference USA. Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images.
Dan McCarney leads North Texas into Conference USA. Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images.

DALLAS — Here are some questions and answers with North Texas head coach Dan McCarney from Conference USA media day.

How excited are you guys about coming into Conference USA?

Real excited. There's been so much success in recent years and well- documented from teams, some are still here and some have moved on to other conferences, but when they lined up in Conference USA they did a great job. What does that do? Well, there's more people that know about our conference because we have the respect.

Talk about the ability to win in this conference.

Teams that are average, teams that are below average are forgotten easily. Teams that win or have success are remembered forever. That's what you've got to do and especially with the program (North Texas) that I have stepped into.

Talk about turning North Texas around.

This was a team that was respected by none. A team that everyone wanted to play and counted the days until North Texas (showed up) on its schedule so they could kick their tail in between their should blades. We want to put ourselves in position to really have a chance to win and bring honor to Conference USA and to North Texas.

Talk about having numerous teams from the state of Texas in C-USA.

Yeah, get some rivalries going! To this day I haven't figured out who the rivalries were at North Texas before I got there. First of all, you have to win games. That's how you draw a line in the sand. Your fans and their team, and our team, our players and their players, our coaches and their coaches don't really know who's going to win these rivalry games. We haven't done a good job of that for a number of years, we're hoping to get toward that and then you trade victories and teams have a chance. I'm not talking about hating the other team, the other coaches, the players. I'm talking about respect. The better our program gets, the more rivalries we have. We don't have a lot of rivalries because people have been kicking North Texas.

You were at Iowa State. Talk about the rivalry between Iowa State and Iowa.

When I beat Iowa, I stopped the 15-year losing streak. We were a 30-point underdog. We won, 27-9, in Iowa City and all of a sudden the rivalry came alive and well. How the hell do you call it a rivalry when one team beats another one 15 years in a row? It's a laugher, not a rivalry, and that's what we turned that thing into.

Talk about this year and what you need to do to win.

We've got to follow the plan to win: play great defense. We showed a lot of improvement with that last year, but we need to get more turnovers. We didn't force many fumbles last year. Offensively we were horrible on third downs, ridiculous in the red zone. Those are things that we need to improve. We have experience in every position coming back other than center and punter. So if they develop, we develop, we grow, we mature, then I think we have a chance to have a real competitive team this year.