top of page

Heel Tough Blog: Mack Brown Press Conference Takeaways- 1/15

Inside Carolina

Monday was the first time the Tar Heels have talked to the media since the staff changes were made to the defensive side of the ball. Head coach Mack Brown discussed the hires of Geoff Collins and Ted Monachino, as well as plenty about the program's new push for NIL help. Here are our biggest takeaways from what we heard from the head in his first presser since National Signing Day.

Fans Have to Embrace the NIL Collective

Yesterday began a push from the Tar Heels NIL collective to start keeping up with the rest of college football and it was the main talking point of Brown’s meeting with the media. After once again expressing his frustrations with the system, the Tar Heel head coach, who is entering his sixth season at the helm in his second go-round in Chapel Hill, says that this is a crucial step towards being able to go from good to great like he has been talking about since last summer. “Regardless of how small or how big, we need your help in NIL,” he said on Monday. “Heels4Life got us started, but it needs to get bigger and better fast.” Not only is that money important for bringing in the talent from the high school ranks, but it’s crucial to keeping your roster in shape. Unfortunately, the Tar Heels witnessed this first hand this offseason when they weren’t able to match what Ole Miss was willing to pay to keep offensive tackle Diego Pounds. Heels4Life started a Hold the Line membership campaign with the goal being to hit the $1 million goal by the end of the month. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that this push is coming right now after what we have seen from the other team’s in the state this offseason, primarily rival NC State, with their NIL collectives.

30 Early Enrollees Will Participate in Fall Camp

Brown revealed that the team will have 30 early enrollees, easily the most that the program has ever had. This group consists of 22 members of the 2024 early signing class that the team just signed, six of the team’s transfer portal additions from this window and three preferred walk-ons. Of that group, the only one that will not participate on the field is true freshman tight end Timothy Lawson, who will be rehabbing a knee injury that he suffered this past season. The expectation is that he will be ready to go in the fall.

Still Looking For Help at Offensive and Defensive Line in the Portal

Brown said yesterday in his presser that the team is still searching for help in the trenches and hopefully this is still the case after the team landed a DIII offensive lineman yesterday. The defensive line needs some new blood, primarily on the interior, but this is not as pressing of a need as the offensive line is right now. The Tar Heels have landed three portal commitments along the offensive line so far this offseason, but only one of them should be looked at as a potential starter right now. There are still some good options available in this room that are in the portal right now, primarily on the interior and the team needs to take a serious look at adding at least one of them to join the team in the summer.

Trying to Keep Our Roster Building Strategy the Same While Still Being Competitive

Despite the push for this program to get more aggressive in the portal, Brown said on Monday that the team’s strategy behind roster construction will not shift. The staff’s focus will remain on building through the high school ranks, which they proved this season when they signed 27 players in the early signing period. The transfer portal will continue to be used to fill the remaining holes, a mindset that Brown has used since the transfer portal’s inception. The hope is that there will be a little more balance between the two moving forward so that they will have the ability to fill those important holes that might be left open this season.

Coaches Said Collins Was What This Program Needs

One of the more interesting comments from Brown on Monday came when talking about the process of hiring Collins. Brown said the staff had two separate meetings with him and they were simply blown away by what they heard from him. “All of the coaches are all in. They came to me and said this guy is exactly what we need.” The fiery, aggressive style that the head coach mentioned when talking about the hire is probably the reason that the staff was so drawn to him because it is the exact opposite of what we saw from Gene Chizik in his time in Chapel Hill. Collins track record of success certainly doesn’t hurt either as this defense looks to become a unit that can be relied on for the first time since 2008.

Clyde Christensen Will Return

This was a passing note from Brown, but a significant one at that. Christensen will be returning in his offensive analyst role this year, a position that Brown is hoping the NCAA will allow to be involved in actual coaching this season. Even if that doesn’t happen, having him back as an advisor is huge for a quarterback room that is tasked with finding a starter capable of keeping this offense as one of the most productive in the country. His connection with the Johnson family could play a big role if Max is able to win the starting job this offseason.

Adjustments are Being Made to the Offseason Program

When asked about the culture of the program, Brown pushed back on the idea that they have a problem, but he did mention that there are some things about the offseason that are being tweaked. “We’re gonna go back and do more of the county fair grass drills that we were doing the first two years we were here that we got away from some in COVID. We’re gonna move spring practice back a week so we can have more time for the offseason program.” The hope that these tweaks can help return this defense to being a respectable unit, which they were at for the most part in those first two seasons under Jay Bateman.


bottom of page