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Mack Brown Gameday Breakdown: Offense, Defense and Special Team Notes

In his weekly press conference, Brown highlighted offense, defense, and special teams as they equip for Saturday against Virginia Tech.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.- No. 8 North Carolina (2-0, 2-0 ACC) is preparing for their upcoming Saturday opponent, Virginia Tech (2-0, 2-0 ACC). The Hokies come to UNC ranked at No. 19, but head coach Mack Brown recognizes their threat and sees their potential as a top 10 team.

Boston College served as a restart for the Heels after 21 days off due to COVID-19 precaution and a 'bye' week. UNC is ranked third in the country for allowing only two yards per rush. Still, for Brown, the statistics are skewed and don't serve as actual numbers because Syracuse is rebuilding an offensive line along with two running backs that opted out for the season, and Boston didn't force the run; The Eagles had 40 rushing yards on 19 attempts.

The Hokies present a new challenge for the Heels, an equal match-up, and an opponent who can easily contest and push the Heels into confirmation of who they're expected to be this season. Last year, the Hokies hosted the Heels in what turned out to be the longest game in ACC football history; VTech defeated UNC after six overtimes, 43-41.

Carolina's last win in Chapel Hill against VTech was a 48-34 result in 2012. Brown is 1-1 all-time against Virginia Tech. At Tulane, Brown defeated the Hokies, 57-38, in 1987.

In his weekly press conference, Brown highlighted offense, defense, and special teams as they equip for Saturday.

Offense:

  • The running backs did a super job Javonte Williams had a couple of great blocks and protection. His biggest play of the game is when there's a sack-fumble, and the ball's going back to about the 40-yard line; There's three or four Boston College guys going ready to either scoop it and score or lay on it, and he goes between them and fights them off. A lot of those plays go unnoticed, but they're huge plays during the ballgame.
  • We felt like we've got to be more patient in our passing game for two weeks in a row. Last year, we had so many deep balls, and we could score so quickly. Right now, people are backing off, and they're making us hold the ball longer and get the ball out of our hands. We've got to get the ball into people's hands more quickly and not have as many sacks.
  • So we've just got to be smarter as a group and be more patient. We took care of the ball pretty well. We just had the one turnover where we got hit in the back because of poor protection.

Defense:

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  • Many of the guys played well; Chazz Surratt, Tyrone Hopper, Tomon Fox, and Jeremiah Gemmel played well.
  • We need to tackle the quarterback when we get him in our grasp and force more turnovers on defense.
  • Tyrone Hopper forced the quarterback (Paul Jurkovec) out of the pocket for the two-point play. He had to throw back across his body and made it an easier interception for Trey (Morrison).

Special Teams:

  • Jonathan Kim is doing everything perfectly on kickoffs.
  • Ben Kiernan is doing the same he punted the ball directional punts and kept it out of their hands. They had done an excellent job with their punt returns.
  • The other one, we didn't do a good job of is holding up their gunners. Their gunners played better than our hold up guys; We still have to improve in that area.

The two undefeated teams meet in Chapel Hill on October 10 at noon.

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