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Heel Tough Blog: Tar Heels and Dré Bly Mutually Part Ways

Peyton Williams- Getty Images

Mack Brown said after the Tar Heels’ Holiday Bowl loss to the Oregon Ducks that he was taking time to reevaluate the future of the coaching staff. After a four game losing streak to end the season, he had more tough decisions to make, mainly on the defensive side of the football. This afternoon, the first of that group of tough decisions was made.

Just a short time ago, the program announced in a release that they and cornerbacks coach Dré Bly were mutually parting ways. "We all love Dre Bly and appreciate what he means to the University of North Carolina as a Hall of Famer, an unbelievable advocate for the program, and an excellent coach," Brown said in the release. "Dré and I mutually agreed to part ways so that he could explore other opportunities in the coaching profession. We appreciate everything he's done for the program over the last few years and wish him nothing but the best moving forward." The school also said in the release that they have begun a “national search” for a replacement. 

This is a move that feels like it had to be made, but it does have some drawbacks. There is no denying that Bly’s departure will have an effect on the recruiting trail. He has been one of, if not the best recruiters on this Tar Heel staff since he was brought in as part of Brown’s staff back in 2019. He has led the team’s charge into the state of Virginia, which has been a big part of rebuilding this depth and upgrading the overall talent on this roster. His departure combines with the fact that Tony Grimes and his father, who is a major influencer in the state of Virginia, are no longer a part of the program and leaves the future of the pipeline in the state a bit cloudy right now.

Even with these recruiting concerns, this was a move that simply had to be made. Bly has been bringing the talent into his position room, but simply has not been developing it. Many of the guys who have come through the room peaked in the first season with the team before steadily declining. Both Tony Grimes and Storm Duck are tremendous examples of guys who had bright futures with the team before dropping off in the next couple of seasons which led to their eventual departures. Right now, the focus for this staff on the defensive side of the ball needs to be on developing the players that they bring in more so than bringing in the high end talent. Bly just doesn’t feel like he is the guy to get that done.

This move is an important one for Brown. Many were wondering if he would be able to make a tough decision like this because of the relationships that he has with those on his staff and now he has. This is a good start, but there are some other moves that need to be made to help this team take the next step.

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