UNC football is back to work. The entire team successfully reported to campus earlier this week, and yesterday had their first practice prior to the fall semester. There are only 29 days until Carolina kicks off their season at Virginia Tech, and the team has many questions to answer.
Coach Mack Brown answered questions in a virtual press conference after practice #1. Overall, he acknowledged that the UNC football program was in a different space than when he took over two years ago. With the success they’ve experienced, expectations are higher, as you would expect. But the players have let some opportunities fall through the cracks, and there’s a real sense of unfinished business, particularly after the Orange Bowl loss to Texas A&M.
Coach Mack was pleased with Tennessee-transfer running back Ty Chandler. He said it was important to have an older head in the running back room after the departure of Michael Carter and Javonte Williams to the NFL, especially with experience in the SEC, telling the media, “He won’t be intimidated walking into Blacksburg.”
Defensive line depth and special teams were touched on. Coach Mack said that recruiting success has given him confidence in more linemen, which should lead to additional rotation. The drop-off between the first and second team defense is no longer calamitous, and he’s more comfortable rotating bodies. He wants players playing fewer plays, getting more rest, but making more impact.
The team’s improved depth will also help special teams. Coach Mack will not have to use starters in special teams, further wearing them down, saying, “We’ve been average (in special teams). We need to start winning games with special teams, not be in the middle of the league.”