Despite UNC’s decision to move all undergraduate classes to an online-only format, the North Carolina football team is still gearing up to play this fall.
“Most of our guys were online anyway so yesterday’s announcement doesn't change much for us,” head coach Mack Brown said in a press conference on Tuesday. “And at the same time, play football. There’s going to be a time here where we’ll be kicking it off against Syracuse, and you do not want to be the guy who wasn’t prepared because you had so many distractions.”
On July 8, UNC athletics announced 37 positive COVID-19 tests among players, coaches and athletics staff members. Since then, the University has not released testing results within the athletic department. Four players — junior Bryce Watts, senior D.J. Ford, sophomore Javon Terry and redshirt first-year Triston Miller — opted out of the season in response to COVID-19 trends, UNC announced on Aug. 7.
The team was proceeding as usual at practice on Tuesday, even with the uncertainty at UNC and across the landscape of college football, Brown said during the press conference.
“This was our best practice because they were upbeat and they had fun,” he said. “I think they see that there’s a great chance we’re going to play.”