In 2015, North Texas’ defense surrendered 41.3 points per game (122nd in FBS) and allowed opponents to score in the red zone 87.3 percent of the time (97th). But under first-year defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler, the Mean Green have vastly improved, jumping to 74th and 39th in those categories through six games, respectively.

Ekeler, of course, was Georgia’s linebackers coach from 2014-15, playing a vital part to a staff that finished with a top-10 defense last season. But he wasted no time when accepting the opportunity with North Texas, citing that his while his time in Athens was rewarding, it was also “miserable” in some facets.

“I’ve worked at some of the greatest schools history-wise in the game,” Ekeler told the North Texas Daily. “But what it boils down to is people. You can be at the University of Georgia and be miserable if you’re working with shitty people. I really enjoy my work environment and the players here.”

Earlier this year, Ekeler sat down with‘s Chip Towers for an exit interview and was rather vocal about his thoughts on some of the staff changes that were made.

“I’m pretty proud of the new record I set,” said Ekeler. “I’m the only coach in the history of the NCAA to be part of two staffs that get fired after winning 10 games and finishing with a top-10 defense.

Ekeler also wanted to make sure Georgia fans knew that he didn’t have “sour grapes” about how things went, he just wasn’t happy with some of the decisions that were made and the rift among the coaching staff.

“I want people to know I really, really enjoyed the University of Georgia and really appreciate the opportunity Mark Richt gave me. I did not know those other guys before I stepped in,” he said. “… I knew no one when I came here. I’d never met Jeremy Pruitt; I’d never met Tracy Rocker; I’d never met Kevin Sherrer. Coach Richt gave me the opportunity and I’ll forever be grateful for that. Everywhere I’ve ever been, I’ve learned things, and I learned some valuable lessons (at Georgia). I’ll take away some things that I’ll value.”

Please note, Ekeler has responded, saying he was misquoted and loved working for Mark Richt: