Mack Brown made his weekly media appearance on Monday ahead of UNC’s key ACC Coastal matchup vs. Pittsburgh on Saturday. UNC is coming off of a bye week that the Heels badly needed. The team watched the games that involved UNC’s upcoming opponents, as well as some teams the Heels have already played. Brown said that it was a good chance for his players to learn more about college football and how crazy it really is.
Leading up to the all important Pittsburgh game Brown has been working to get the team focused on Pitt, not the polls. “It’s exciting to be ranked, but the only poll that matters is the end-of-the-year poll.” He does feel that this team is more mature and will be able to handle it better than the previous teams. He reminded the reporters how good the Pitt games have been as of late. “Both came down to over time and we lost both of them.” He feels that Pitt has “been tougher than we have,” and that it has contributed to the losses over the past few years. He feels the time of possession will be key against Pitt, as they are 9th in the country and 1st in the ACC in time of possession. Time of possession was how he feels Notre Dame beat the Heels, so he clearly is aware that they must prioritize time of possession by having long drives on offense to rest the defense.
Brown went on to say that the Heels must convert third downs, something that they have struggled to do in the last few games against the Panthers. Stopping the run will be another top priority as Pitt is 37th in the country in YPG rushing. He complimented the Pitt running backs, especially Israel Abanikanda, saying that they are “really, really good.”
Brown provided an update on the defensive tackle depth, saying that Myles Murphy and Jahvarie Ritze will have to step up to stop the Pitt run game. He expects Kevin Hester to continue to play a big role without Ray Vohasek in the lineup. He does also expect Kendrick Bingley-Jones and Keeshawn Silver to factor in at some point as well.
UNC plays Pittsburgh on Saturday in what will be a crucial ACC Coastal matchup for the 6-1 Tar Heels. Heels Nation let's pack the stands and cheer our Tar Heels to victory!