Updated: Sep 6
The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the sports world over the past few weeks, but for the first time since the pandemic broke out, Mack Brown spoke to the media. Via a Zoom teleconference, Brown updated the media on everyday life around Tar Heel football during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are some of the major storylines that came from his press conference and some other tidbits that you may have missed over the past few days.
Mental Health is the Key Focus of Mack Brown and His Staff
There were many concerns brought up in Mack Brown’s virtual press conference on Monday afternoon, but the biggest one was the mental well-being of his student athletes. Brown said that every player of the team has access to counseling, something that is crucial during times like this. The concern especially lies with players who come from difficult backgrounds: “Our coaches are reaching out to the kids daily cause I've asked them to make sure that they over communicate”. As of right now, Brown says that everyone is doing well and is healthy.
Rehab Another Big Concern of Coach Brown’s
One of the other major concerns of Brown’s was how players dealing with injuries would be able to rehab. Brown says that head strength and conditioning coach Brian Hess has been working with the guys trying to find creative ways to help keep them on track to being ready to go for fall camp. Brown mentioned a guy like Patrice Rene, who is rehabbing knee injury suffered last season, as a guy he is worried about, especially with his local gym being shutdown, the place he was planning to rehab at with the help of Hess’ workout. Now, guys like him, Cam’Ron Kelly and many others healing from injury have to do their best to utilize the unorthodox methods to try and build up strength and get to a point where they will be able to play this fall.
Nutrition Habits Will Be Tough to Maintain
Workout schedules will be difficult for sure, but keeping the players on a steady, nutritional diet will be extremely difficult, especially for the players whose families aren’t in the strongest financial standing. Brown said that to this point, the NCAA has not told schools of any plans to help players during this time and that most guys are left fending for themselves in terms of trying to get food and stay in shape. Brown pointed out the work that nutritionist Kelsee Gomes has put in to try get guys on a plan that works best for them and keeps them in the shape they need to be in to play come fall. As Brown said, it’s pretty simple; the guys that do what they need to do to take care of themselves will return and have a chance to play and the ones who don’t will return and focus on getting back to where they need to be.
Tar Heels Crack 2021 3✮ OG Jared Wilson’s Top Schools List
The Tar Heels have already done their part to lock down the state of North Carolina in the 2021 class, landing ten of the state’s top 35 prospects thus far. On Sunday, the Tar Heels landed in the top eight for one of their top remaining targets in the class in Wilson. The Tar Heels are a slight favorite to land his commitment at this time, but they will have to hold off a loaded group of contenders that include Clemson and Georgia, a school that Wilson was once committed to.
2021 4✮ OLB Raneiria Dillworth Pushes His Decision Back
Dillworth was set to make his decision on April 17th, but as he announced on Tuesday afternoon, that decision will be pushed back. Dillworth was scheduled to take multiple visits during the spring and summer month, but with the recruiting restrictions that have been put in place due to COVID-19, he’ll have to wait to take those visits. The choice to delay his decision means that Dillworth will likely wait until he can take those official visits to make his decision. While the Tar Heels still have the edge in the crystal ball predictions, Alabama has made major progress in the past few days to become the favorite to land his services and he received an offer from Oregon today that he referred to as a “dream offer”. This delay will give Carolina a chance to regroup and make another push, but right now, it looks like Dillworth will head elsewhere.
2021 5✮ DT Payton Page Will Decide His Commitment Before Senior Season
The most sought after player in the state of North Carolina in the 2021 recruiting class made it known on Thursday morning that his plan is to announce his commitment before he plays the first game of his senior season. The extremely talented defensive tackle narrowed his decision down to five back in early January, one that contained the Heels. This still feels like a two-team sprint to the finish between Carolina and Clemson, but you can’t count out Tennessee in this race. The Tar Heels are in a really strong spot and with the staff already making major progress, this feels like a battle that the Tar Heels actually have a really strong chance of winning.