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Heel Tough Blog: Mack Brown Ready to Get Things Started Again

Associated Press

On Monday, we got to hear from the head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels, Mack Brown, as he provided some updates on the 2020 season and what he is hearing about the possibility of the Tar Heels being able to play in the fall. Here are some of the major takeaways from the virtual press conference with the veteran head coach.

Staff Preparing For “New Normal”

Coach Brown said that in speaking with chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz he was told to prepare for what will be a new normal. Brown mentioned how things like workouts, practices and even elevator rides in the facility will be much different, as people will still have to be practicing social distancing while trying to return things to a certain degree of normalcy. “Do you have to have two separte team meetings? Do you have to have an offensive and then defensive team meeting?” These are all of the different types of things that the program will have to figure out on the fly whenever it is that they return to campus later this summer.

Staff Is Planning to Return to Campus on June 15th

Brown said during his opening statements on Monday that the plan is for the staff to return to work on June 15th, the players to return to campus for conditioning and training in early July and for fall practice to begin in the first week of August. Brown told reporters that each position coach is working on a plan about how to get things restarted for their current players and with the recruits that they are responsible for. Brown also mentioned that he has told coaches to begin trying to get back into a bit of a work routine leading up to their return, suggesting coaches take a little time away from their families to do work each day, hoping that will help to make the transition back to a regular work schedule a bit easier.

Despite Success, Brown Doesn’t Feel Like Pandemic Has Helped the Tar Heels on 2021 Trail

While the Tar Heels have landed five commitments during the recruiting dead period, Brown says that the result of the pandemic is more “50/50” than anything. While 13 of the 14 commits in the class are from the state of North Carolina, Brown feels that the pandemic hasn’t played nearly as much of a role in those commitments as some think. Instead, Brown focused on the fact that the pandemic has hurt the Tar Heels with some of the key targets that they have not been able to get on campus. The goal for Carolina will be to get some of their major remaining targets on campus before their decisions, headlined by guys like 5✮ CB Tony Grimes and 4✮ DT Payton Page.

Brown Thinks Players Should Be Able to Decide When They Leave If New Rule Passes

In discussing the new name, image and likeness proposals, Brown brought up an interesting proposition that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has been pushing for. Brown believes that, like Harbaugh has proposed, if guys are just going to play football at the college level to reap the benefits of the new rules, why not just let them go to the NFL level whenever they feel ready. Brown points out guys like Herschel Walker, who may have the skills to succeed at the NFL level and that the NCAA may have been holding back from making money. This is an interesting concept and one that would likely have a drastic change on not only the way teams recruit. While this is just an idea that recently surfaced, this is an interesting proposal that is worth keeping in the back of your mind, especially if more coaches show support for the idea like Coach Brown did.

There Is General Confidence That The 2020 Season Will Happen

The biggest thing that should be taken away from this press conference is the overall positivity that Mack Brown had about the outlook for the 2020 season. Despite a lot of uncertainty that he addressed, Brown said that there was a good vibe around the Monday morning staff meeting, saying that he "felt a little buzz of excitement" because he said "it seems like people are planning on us having a football season." Brown mentioned that he has heard a lot about options like shortening the schedule and only playing regionalized games and says that he is not getting involved, but he is monitoring all of the conversations and is willing to do whatever it takes to make this 2020 season. There are still plenty of unknowns, but the positivity and willingness that Brown is showing should give Tar Heel fans some confidence that this college football season will happen at some point.

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