Head Coach Mack Brown met with the media on Monday following UNC’s 27-24 victory over the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday. The head coach’s opening comments talked about something unrelated to the Miami game. He made the announcement that British Brooks, UNC’s injured RB who was expected to be the starter at the beginning of the year before sustaining his injury, will be back next year. He will likely be one of the top backs in UNC’s rotation as UNC has struggled to identify a top back in the run game.
The defensive player of the game for the Heels was Deandre Boykins, who “continues to play at a high level,” according to Brown. Des Evans also was talked highly about by the coach as a key contributor in the game as he was getting pressure and tackles for loss. Brown could “talk about the linebackers, (Ced Gray and Power Echols,) every week,” as major contributors. Both had double-digit tackles and the coach continues to praise their ability. UNC gave up the fewest rushing yards, 41, since the Virginia game last season when they only gave up 24. Obviously, the coach was pleased with that stat as he has stressed all season the importance of stopping the run. He says that you have to stop either the run or the pass in order to win but also says that it's impossible to fully stop both.
The offensive player of the game according to the head coach was Caleb Hood, who made key runs and catches in key situations to help the Heels win. The Heels emphasized blocking on the perimeter by the wide receivers leading up to the game and Brown was proud of Antione Green, as well as JJ Jones and John Copenhaver for the solid perimeter blocking, they gave the Heels. He would have liked for the Heels to be more consistent in the second half. Which makes sense, UNC had two solid drives for field goals but also had three punts. He will also continue to talk to his offensive coaches regarding tempo, but he liked the 18-play, 8-minute drive the heels put together late in the game. In addition, he would like better red zone efficiency as the Heels struggled to score touchdowns in the red zone. He did not like the two turnovers, saying that with the value of possessions you cannot have turnovers.
The questions from the media were about the defense first as the media wanted to know how Brown felt about the way the defense played. He talked about the defensive backfield first, saying they needed to cover just a little longer to give the D-line time to get to the QB. Speaking of the D-line, Brown said that they all did a fantastic job stepping up and playing hard in the Florida humidity. UNC rotated frequently as twelve defensive linemen played vs. Miami, and Brown said that “the guys handled it well.” He likes the confidence the defense continues to show and says that UNC must continue to show confidence vs. Duke.
Offensively Brown was asked about Drake Maye and his two picks. According to the coach, Maye is way too hard on himself, and he is always telling him to settle down and is constantly picking him up. “He beats himself up way too much, he makes an unbelievable throw to Downs and doesn’t give himself any credit.” Maye played a key part in the 18-play drive that was a key series in the game.
All and all, Mack Brown was proud of the team as he always is following wins. UNC needed a strong coastal win, they got it and now will have a chance to get another one this weekend vs. Duke.