Mack Brown (and staff) has had an undeniably stellar start to #ReturnoftheMack, Mack Brown 2.0, #MackisBack, or whatever other clever catchphrase you want to attach to it.
The first chance to see the fruits of his labor in-person is coming up on Saturday, April 13, and you should be a part of it.
I am under no influence or pressure to promote Carolina’s Spring Game, but I do feel like showing support is a vital step in raising the profile of Carolina Football— and Brown agrees.
From a Carolina Athletics release last week:
Greetings from Chapel Hill!
We have just finished our first week of spring ball and we couldn’t be more pleased with the energy and passion of our players. We told our team we’re not far off from being a very competitive football team. Every day, we talk about effort, details, toughness, competing and finishing, which is a mantra that our outstanding strength and conditioning coach, Brian Hess, preached during winter workouts. It’s now our job to help the players create an edge so we can turn those narrow losses into victories.
I promise you we’ll put a team on the field next fall that will make you proud. Our players will be tough, resilient, disciplined, and focused. They’ll conduct themselves before, during and after the games in a manner consistent with our wonderful university.
Now, we need YOUR help.
You need to be in Kenan Stadium on April 13 for our spring game. We have to make a statement that Carolina football is important, that you care about it more than anything else you could be doing that day. You’ve done it before. I’ve seen photos from the spring game in 2010, when 30,000 of you came and the game was shown on ESPN. There is no reason we cannot do it again— or even better!
Many of the top programs around the country draw 50,000 or more spectators for their spring games. We had 46,000 at Texas in April 2013, my last year coaching the Longhorns. So we’re starting a new tradition at Carolina next month— that a trip to Chapel Hill on a gorgeous April weekend becomes a tradition for you, your family and friends. The spring game will be a major recruiting event for our 2020 class and beyond, and recruits pay attention to how passionate and vocal a fan base is. That’s your job: Make Kenan Stadium a lively and energetic place when we kick off at 5 p.m., April 13.
Bubba Cunningham and his staff have organized a full day of activities on campus, including lacrosse, softball, family fun, plenty of food and a concert in Carmichael Arena on Saturday evening by Grammy-nominated 6LACK.
And, of course, you’ll get a chance to see how coordinators Phil Longo and Jay Bateman have implemented their systems on offense and defense, how much our veterans have improved from last year, and how our newcomers are fitting in.
We’ll do our part to make sure April 13 starts a great new tradition at Carolina. Now we need you.
See you in Kenan Stadium— no excuses!
First of all, the grammar nerd in me appreciates that Mack and I have a shared love for the em dash.
Secondly, he said everything that any amount of editorializing could possibly hope to accomplish, but I’ll break it down a little bit more:
- The spring game is setting up as a MAJOR recruiting event. 4-star linebacker Trenton Simpson, who is considered a Carolina lean, was quoted saying he was planning to return to a “packed out” spring game. Top quarterback target Jacolby Criswell, traveling on his own dime from Arkansas for a second visit to UNC, echoed those sentiments. The UNC 2020 class is currently ranked 13th in the nation by 247sports, and simply adding Simpson would push the Heels to 7th (behind Alabama, Clemson, Miami, LSU, Ohio St., and Florida) per their class calculator tool. Criswell would put the Heels at #6, with additional commits having the ability to place Carolina in the top 5. In the country. In football recruiting. That can only happen if, as Mack says, we fill Kenan and give them something to look forward to being a part of.
- The old excuse of “watching the Masters”, which I interpret from Brown’s comments, shouldn’t fly in 2019. You likely have DVR. Use it. I’ll give you special dispensation to skip if you are planning on attending The Masters. Tickets for that Saturday are currently starting at $1,948 on Stubhub. The spring game is free.
- Chapel Hill is pretty nice in April, if you remember from your days as a student. If you didn’t attend UNC, it’s magical— azaleas are in full bloom, the humidity is not overwhelming, students are out and about before exams become a reality.
- The Heels have three legitimate options at quarterback, which is three more than in the past two years combined! I’m curious to see who among Cade Fortin, Jace Ruder, and Sam Howell appears to have taken to Longo’s offense the best. In the meantime, we can appreciate glimpses like these:
Again, I wish they were paying me to promote the spring game. I’d be great at it. But it really is a wonderful opportunity to get up close and personal with the team, enjoy a beautiful April weekend in Chapel Hill, and support a team that so badly needs our support after the past two seasons.
I’d love to meet some of the Tar Heel Blog community.
Oh, and getting some of these recruits committed will give us something to write about, as would a better football product from our Tar Heels.