Mack Brown is changing the culture at North Carolina. In his first year of his second stint at school, the Tarheels have already surpassed their win total from last season.
One week after giving then-No. 1 Clemson all it could handle in Chapel Hill, the Tarheels went on the road to Georgia Tech and defeated it 38-22 to move to 3-3 on the season.
“I was very impressed,” Brown said postgame on ACC Network when asked about his team’s effort. “We haven’t been headlocked, but all of our games have come down to the last drive, so at halftime we didn’t know how they’d respond.”
All five of North Carolina’s previous games were decided by six points or less. It led 17-0 at halftime.
“We had a couple of lapses on defense, we had some penalties on offense, but this really helps us moving forward. It gives us another win, it givs us a week off to get ready for Virginia Tech. This was huge for us, we needed to show that we could win after we had a lot of energy last week. We didn’t do that as well against Wake [Forest] and App [State], but we did it tonight.”
Brown was then asked about the play his freshman quarterback, Sam Howell. The signal caller completed 33 of 51 passes, threw for 376 yards, and had four touchdowns to just one interception.
“So impressed with Sam, especially on third and long and fourth and long. He doesn’t seem to know what down it is, he just goes and plays. We have a great future ahead with him.”
Through six games, Howell has thrown for 1,544 yards to go along with 15 touchdowns and three intercceptions.
Howell arrived in Chapel Hill in January as part of UNC’s 2019 recruiting class. The Monroe, N.C. product was ranked the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback and No. 93 overall ranked prospect in the 247Sports Composite.
Brown said that after two weeks of preseason camp the staff had a strong idea who was set to lead the offense.
“We’ve got some very experienced analysts and some quality control guys, and they’re watching every play,” Brown said. “So, we have pretty good evaluation of everybody on our team every day. We spend an hour and a half in a staff meeting every day and a lot of that is talking about who are the best players, who are the toughest players, who are the most passionate players for football and how many plays can each one play.”
The Tarheels will play Virginia Tech next Saturday in Chapel Hill. The Hokies bounced back from a blowout loss at home against Duke and defeated Miami on the road, but did so in exhilirating fashion. The team held a 28-0 lead and saw that evaporate, but ended up doing just enough to escape with a 42-35 win.