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Heel Tough Blog: Mack Brown 09/26 Press Conference Takeaways

UNC Head Coach Mack Brown met with the media Monday following a 45-32 loss to Notre Dame. He had several points to be made with emotion that he normally does not show. Here is a recap of what the Tar Heel's coach said.

Overall he was pleased with the fight that UNC displayed against ND, “they were physically and mentally beating us, and they continued to fight. They saw hope that they could win the ball game and so they continued to fight.” In terms of frustration, UNC players showed, “what if they gave up? What if they just sat on the corner of the bench and didn’t talk to anybody? We want fight, we want flair.” He clearly likes the heart that his team is showing. He mentioned how good that ND was, saying that they had what would probably be the best lines that UNC would play in the year and that they held up really well for their QB.

Offensively the coach stressed the importance of first downs and UNC’s lack of success on them. “We’re having way too many one-yard gains and two-yard losses on first downs.” He wants the run game to be both more effective and more consistent so that they can possess the ball and keep the defense off the field and rested. “We get beat down on defense because they're out there so much.” Brown likes the improvement compared to last year in the sack department through four games, as UNC has given up 9 compared to 17 through those games last year. He has continuously lauded Drake Maye, “I’ve told the guys you’re never out of a ball game with Drake at QB. He threw for five TDs on Saturday and was mad at the ones he missed.” He does however want Maye to work on tucking the ball when he scrambles to avoid the fumbles as he committed his second fumble Saturday.

Defensively Brown was frustrated and “disappointed” in the defense after giving up 45 points to a struggling ND offense. He continuously stressed that the fourth down call that went against Cedric Gray changed the game, “We get a stop there we’re still in the game and it’s a huge lift for the defense.” On arguing the call, “I’m fighting for my team! These guys are struggling and fighting and I’m going to fight with them.” The coach was once again adamant that “We have got to stop the run.” He stressed that you can’t win games without stopping the run. On improvement, Brown thinks that by the end of the year this will be a much improved unit. “Will we be good statistically? No, because we’re already too bad. But they will be a much better unit by the end of the year.” Coach knows his defensive coaches are frustrated but says that there will be improvement there as well. He berated the inconsistency of the unit as well, “Why don’t we play a full game?” He talked with his coaches after the game but said that “we want to see results, not answers.”

In other notes, Brown talked about officiating, saying that he would like to see more consistency across the nation calling both pass interference and holding. He also mentioned celebrations, “we will allow a defensive lineman to dance after a sack, but we won’t allow a receiver to drop the ball and spin it a bit?” He also wants to revisit the rules regarding targeting and roughing the passer, claiming “If you’ve got a five-foot nine guys running low what are you gonna do?” Also Brown announced that Jonathan Kim will no longer participate with the team as he has the desire to redshirt and transfer at the end of the year. This means that Noah Burnette will handle kickoffs from here on out. Here are a few major takeaways from what Coach Brown said:

1. Brown Likes the Fight in This Team:

It was obvious that this team showed a lot of heart, as did Brown, over the course of the game on Saturday, and Brown really likes that. He would clearly much rather they show heart than just sit dejected on the bench.

2. Drake Maye Has Continued to Impress the Coaches:

Brown made it clear that there is room for improvement for Maye, but the praise he continued to give the young quarterback made it clear that he will continue to be the star of the show here in Chapel Hill. He would like to see Maye continue to improve with protecting the ball as well as avoid hits, but aside from that, it was all praise toward the redshirt freshman on Monday.

3. Brown Still Has High Hopes for This Defense:

He was obviously dissatisfied with the play of the defense on Saturday, but he mentioned the continued improvement he has seen day-to-day from the unit. He has talked with Gene Chizik and still has complete trust in his defensive coordinator to make this unit better as a whole.

UNC enters a critical ACC stretch over the next few weeks as they kick of their ACC season in Kenan Stadium on Saturday at 3:30 pm vs. Virginia Tech. Hope is still alive in the Tar Heel nation and I am looking forward to seeing this team's continued development.


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