With the game against UNC-Charlotte canceled and attempts to find a week three replacement game not materializing, the North Carolina football team is slated to play its next matchup on Oct. 3 at Boston College.
During a press conference Tuesday, head coach Mack Brown emphasized his disappointment with the situation.
“Were we disappointed about not being able to play last weekend? Of course we were," Brown said. "Guys were excited. We actually had a great Thursday practice and were preparing for the game really well.”
The lack of potential game reps for some of the younger players was something Brown said the team lost with the Charlotte game being canceled. The head coach said there has been even more of an effort to get the younger players reps in practice.
“We’re working a lot with fundamentals in some team periods with the older guys and then we’re doing a lot of scrimmaging and work with the young ones," Brown said. "We’re trying to just balance the older ones, the experienced ones and make sure that they know what to do against Boston College … but we’re still working a lot of the young ones in right now that would’ve gotten some playing time against Charlotte, that we lost.”
Brown also said he understands that trying to find an opponent on such short notice is something new and comes with many obstacles. The goal, Brown said, is to find an opponent that “fit us and fit them."
A positive he highlighted was that the team will be healthy and fresh for the game against Boston College.
In light of the three week gap between the Syracuse and Boston College games, Brown said he has instilled a new mentality for the team.
"Start the season over," Brown said. "Syracuse was a game, it’s done. We’re two weeks out from the opener, lets just go back and restart.”
Brown also touched on the situation at safety after redshirt senior Myles Wolfolk was deemed academically ineligible. Brown said he is proud of Wolfolk for his time with the program.
“We’re disappointed that Myles will not continue to be with us, but he does have his degree," Brown said. "He did so many great things for us and we’re proud of him and happy for him. Myles was a spokesperson for the team… He was definitely the coach on the field in the secondary and that’s something we’ll miss.”
Brown said junior Trey Morrison will move from nickelback and start at strong safety. The nickelback position will now be occupied by first-year Ja’Qurious Conley. Brown acknowledged that the extra week off gives the defense more time to get acclimated to the changes, and said the team isn’t too worried about starting Conley, even with his lack of experience at the collegiate level.
"Ja'Quirous is one of the best athletes on our team," Brown said. "So a lot of those freshmen are getting more looks now that we’ve been practicing eight or nine weeks. We’ve been practicing a long time, so hopefully they'll know what to do. Those are guys we’re just going to throw out there and let them play.”
In terms of trying to find a replacement game, Brown said the week before the Notre Dame game is still a potential target. Brown said a cancellation could take place again, labeling this season as the “Year of Uncertainty.”
“Don’t get into ‘I’m up, I’m down, I hate this, it doesn’t matter,'" Brown said. "It is what it is.”
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