Wednesday was a busy day inside of the Kenan Football Center, as nearly the entire football staff met with the media as part of the team’s 2022 Summer Media Days. Among those that we heard from was head coach Mack Brown, who spoke to the media for the first time since his post spring camp presser as he gave some important updates on where his team stands right now. Here are our biggest takeaways from what he had to say.
Feeling Much Better About Where This Team Is At As Opposed to Last Year
This is something that we heard from him during spring camp, but he doubled down on that on Wednesday, calling this the best spring that the team has had since he arrived back to Chapel Hill. Brown pointed to the fact that the mindset around the team is much better than a year ago with everyone in the building knowing that the team should have been much better in 2021. The other big reason that Brown says that he feels so confident is because of the depth that the team has throughout, primarily on the defensive side of the football. When asked later in the presser about that depth, Brown mentioned the fact that the ‘Blue Team’ (starters or backup with no dropoff) consists of about 15 players on the offensive side of the football and 22 on the defensive side, a significant upgrade from the past few seasons.
Staff Changes Have Been Smooth
Brown mentioned that another strength of this 2022 squad is the cohesiveness that the coaching staff has. Despite the new coaches that were brought in this offseason, this is a group that has apparently molded itself well so far, in large part due to the previous relationships that the three newcomers have with the returning staff. Brown says that Gene Chizik’s presence alone has made a difference in the locker room because of the immediate respect that the players have for a two-time national champion.
Quarterback Battle Proceeds, Bit Room Inspires Confidence
The position battle that everyone continues to talk about most with this 2022 Tar Heel team is at quarterback and the battle is still raging as the team roles through the summer. Brown said that he hopes there will be some separation between the two during the player-led practices, which was where the 2019 battle between Sam Howell, Cade Fortin and Jace Ruder and the 2006 battle at Texas between Colt McCoy and Jevon Snead were settled. Regardless of when the battle is decided, Brown is extremely pleased with where the quarterback room is at right now and wants to keep it that way after the room was part of the downfall in Austin.
Excited About Chance to Face Florida A&M in Special Week 0 Game
One of the first things that Brown talked about on Wednesday was just how excited he was to welcome an HBCU to Chapel Hill for the first game of the season. The Tar Heels will host the Florida A&M Rattlers on August 27th in a night that will focus on honoring HBCUs. Brown mentioned that the program will welcome former Tar Heel player and HBCU coaching legend Rod Broadway and HBCU coaching legend Bill Hayes as team captains for the game while HBCU coaching legend Rudy Hubbard will serve as the team captain for the program that he coached to a Division I-AA national title in 1978. During the game, Brown says that the team will honor some of the black fraternities and sororities on campus and the Florida A&M band will also be honored at halftime.