Article Originally Published by Zachary Cottam on North Texas Daily
Article Originally Published by on North Texas Daily
Following the introduction of the #6ForHeisman campaign earlier this summer, senior quarterback Mason Fine is preparing to begin his final season at North Texas. Fall training camp began August 2 and will conclude August 23.
Fine’s junior season saw most of his numbers decrease, excluding passing percentage, from 2017. His completions fell from 324 to 303 and attempts decreased from 511 to 469. He threw for 259 fewer yards, four fewer touchdowns and 10 fewer interceptions. His TD-Interception ratio improved from 2.07 to 5.4 in 2018.
The Peggs, Oklahoma native enters the 2019 season leading multiple historical categories for the Mean Green, including passing attempts (1,241), passes completed (782) and passing yards (9,417 yards). The 3-year starter is third in passing touchdowns (64) but is on pace to end his career as the program leader.
Going into his last season, Fine acknowledges the challenge but won’t let the pressure or emotions get to him.
“Each day isn’t promised [and] you don’t want to waste a day, so I’ve really been trying to put that in the grand scheme of things and take no days off,” Fine said. “I want to have no regrets.”
Head coach Seth Littrell has seen major strides from Fine in his skill and technique, attributing it to him being comfortable in his role on the team.
“I think [Fine’s] arm strength has gotten stronger,” Littrell said. “He’s worked really hard this offseason. Early on as a quarterback, you’re just focused in on doing your job and then you start getting comfortable and it slows down, then you start reading coverages. Now you’re starting to see fronts.”
Despite introducing a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach following Graham Harrell’s departure to Southern California, Fine’s production hasn’t fallen off, according to Littrell. The addition of Bodie Reeder presented a challenge that the quarterback was able to overcome.
“Anytime you bring in a new quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator, you’re going to see a little bit different perspective on things,” Littrell said. “You’re going to continue to learn and grow and kind of see it through a different set of lenses [sic]. Which is good, because you’re just continuing to learn football.”
The improved play of the offense through Fine hasn’t gone unnoticed on the defensive side of the ball, either. Senior safety Khairi Muhhamed noted that the Mean Green offense has continued to have a fiery kick.
“The offense has been doing good, they’ve been very explosive on their end,” Muhammed said in relation to the offense’s performance during fall camp. “We’ve been competing every day.”
Outside of his pursuit of the Heisman, Fine has been named to the preseason watch lists for the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Davey O’Brien Award and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, all of which are presented to the best all-around college athlete, voted on by different panels. Fine received the preseason C-USA Offensive Player of the Year nod to compliment his back-to-back C-USA Offensive Player of the Year awards from 2017-18.
Pro Football Focus listed Fine as their fifth-best quarterback out of the 130 starting quarterbacks in FBS, behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Houston’s D’Eriq King. North Texas and Houston face off at Apogee Stadium on Sept. 28. At No. 5, Fine ranks nine spots above the next Conference USA quarterback (Alabama-Birmingham’s Tyler Johnston III).
North Texas welcomes Abilene Christian to Apogee Stadium for the first game of the season on August 31. Fine is confident in the offense he has around him to be successful.
“What I’ve seen in the fall is that we’re all on the same page, receiver-wise,” Fine said. “I have a lot of great weapons around me, I just got to make sure I distribute the ball and put it in their hands.”
Feature Image: Senior Quarterback Mason Fine speaks at the preseason press conference in the Athletic Center on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. image by Jordan Collard
Source: North Texas Daily