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New UNC football hires Chip Lindsey and Randy Clements talk future of North Carolina program

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UNC head coach, Mack Brown, exits Kenan Stadium on Nov. 25, 2022, as the Tar Heels lost against the NC State Wolfpack 30-27.

Since UNC football’s loss in the ACC Championship on Dec. 3 and the opening of the transfer portal window on the following Monday, there’s been a fair amount of turmoil surrounding the North Carolina football program.

The departures quickly followed, as the Tar Heels had nine players enter the portal within 24 hours of its opening — tied for fifth-most nationally. UNC also lost two offensive coaches: offensive coordinator Phil Longo and offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr., both of whom have made the trip up north to join head coach Luke Fickell at Wisconsin.

In mid-December, UNC football head coach Mack Brown announced the hiring of former Central Florida offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey and former North Texas offensive line coach Randy Clements. Lindsey will be the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach while Clements will be the offensive line coach this upcoming season.

Lindsey said in a press conference on Dec. 19 that he expects the transition to his job at UNC to be smooth because he’s “already familiar with what (the Tar Heels) do in the passing game and have been good at.”

“Every year I think you always want to evolve and improve,” Lindsey said. “That’ll be what I do. I’ve had the opportunity to work for some guys that have been really successful at running the football. We understand we want to get better in that area and red-zone offense, and if you can run it, you will. So, those are the kinds of areas we’ll focus on.”

As an offensive coordinator last season at UCF, Lindsey led a Knights offense that ranked top-15 nationally in total offense and rushing offense. Previous to his one year at UCF, Lindsey was the head coach at Troy for three years. 

Redshirt first-year quarterback Drake Maye was active in Lindsey’s hiring process, FaceTiming the coach to exchange specific questions before offering his approval to Brown.

Lindsey said being able to coach Maye was a huge selling point 

"The opportunity to get a chance to coach a guy that should be and is one of the better (quarterbacks) in the country is something that’s really exciting,” Lindsey said. 

The news of Lindsey's hiring came just a day after Brown named Clements as UNC's new offensive line coach.

Both Lindsey and Clements were touted in UNC's press conference for their track record of producing explosive offenses. The coaches, especially Clements, also took pride in their history of success on the ground in previous positions.

“When I coached against Randy before, they could run the football and that’s what he wants to do,” Brown said. “He started out the interview by saying ‘Run the damn ball.’ He had a hat that all the linemen (at North Texas) wore that said ‘Run the damn ball,’ and he had a T-shirt on that said ‘Run the damn ball’. So I said, ‘I got it, man. I’m in.’”

Clements has 35 years of experience, including running nine offenses from 2010-2020 that ranked top 13 in the country. Most notable of those was his stint at Baylor from 2013-2015, in which Clements helped coach the top offense in the country for three straight years. 

In his first press conference as UNC’s offensive line coach, Lindsey described his coaching philosophy as “be fast and physical.”

“You don’t want to tie them down with a lot of thoughts in between the time that they hear what the play is and the time that the ball is snapped,” Lindsey said. “Keep their minds clear. Keep them focused on the technique that they’ve repped over and over and over again that they’ve used and they’re going to rely on. Just don’t make it complicated. The fastest way to make a fast guy slow is to make him think.”

Both new hires shared this sentiment of simplifying offensive principles, which the Tar Heels hope can lead then to a more successful late-season run following the four-loss skid that ended this past season.

“At the end of the day, I’m an old high school coach,” Lindsey said. “So, we’re going to do the things that our players do well and try to get our playmakers the ball as much as we can.”

@shelbymswanson

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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Shelby Swanson

Shelby Swanson is the 2023-24 sports editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as an assistant sports editor and senior writer. Shelby is a junior pursuing a double major in media and journalism and Hispanic literatures and cultures.