Mack Brown made his weekly visit with the media on Monday following UNC’s impressive win over Pittsburgh on Saturday. He gave an injury update for Noah Taylor, who went down with a non-contact knee injury in the first quarter on Saturday. Taylor will miss the rest of the season with that knee injury suffered against the Panthers. Brown wished the best for Taylor and said that he will make the trip to Virginia, his former school before he transferred to UNC this past offseason, this weekend. UNC will also be without Des Evans this weekend as well. Brown will be reaching deep into the well to find answers at these positions as he mentioned playing several new players.
Brown has stressed the importance of the final 5 minutes of the first half and the first 5 minutes of the second half, saying that you must play well in those minutes if you want to win the game. He liked UNC’s score late in the first half but did not like the inability to take advantage of getting the ball to start the second half. UNC got beat on the deep ball several times, one of which was on Pitts's opening drive of the second half, something that Brown has taken displeasure at. The Heels must get better at stopping that in order to continue to play well and win games.
Defensively Brown likes the way UNC held the Pitt running game in check and also limited the explosive plays by the Panthers. “I started seeing good defense.” The Heels coaching staff was worried coming into the game about the time of possession, but the Heels actually won the time of possession battle, something Brown was very proud of. UNC is showing clear improvement from the start of the season as they are holding ACC opponents to 23.5 points per game. “That’s a lot more like what we want to be.” While there is obviously still some room for improvement, he clearly likes the progression the Defense is showing.
As for the offense, a lot of hype has centered around Drake Maye as a potential Heisman candidate. You would think that might faze a freshman QB? “I don’t think it bothers him at all,” says Brown. The coach has been extremely impressed that he’s “this good this quick,” and has mentioned how unbelievable some of the throws he’s able to make are. It’s been incredible what Maye has done but he has certainly had help. Josh Downs and Antione Green posted some record-breaking numbers on Saturday, becoming the first receiver duo in UNC history to record back-to-back 100-yard games.
UNC plays Virginia in the South’s Oldest Rivalry on Saturday in a potential clinching coastal division scenario. With many different games on the line, the Heels could wrap up the coastal division. However, Brown does not like to talk about scenarios like that and instead just says, “we don’t need scenarios we just need to win.” UNC is 7-1 and ranked 17th in the country.