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Coach Mack Brown Interview (7-7-20)

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
July 7, 2020 5:46 pm

Coach Mack Brown Interview (7-7-20)

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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July 7, 2020 5:46 pm

Coach Mack Brown joins The Drive with Josh Graham to discuss coaching during COVID, to give an update on his Tar Heels, and more.

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Mac Brown and his staff, they've been on a recruiting tear of late.

And hopefully everybody wears a mask, we can control the coronavirus issue over the next month and change. So that way there's going to be a college football season right around the corner and we get to watch our next guest Tar Heels take the field. It is Mac Brown, of course, right here with us on Sports Hub Triad and let's start with recruiting. You know, being in South Carolina has been essential to your recruiting success and you've located a ton of talent where we are here in the Triad.

So give me a sense for how you've been able to successfully prioritize this state. Like, how many high school coaches do you know on a personal basis? Well, Josh, first you've got to be lucky enough to be in a state that has a lot of really good high school football players. And we not only have that but then we extend our footprint into South Carolina and Georgia, down to Atlanta and up through Virginia to D.C. and that's some of the most fertile football ground in the country for recruiting. So we start with our state and then we expand to our footprint. Secondly, you try to hire coaches that really know a lot of the coaches in the state that have recruited this state before and know this state and they're passionate about the state and the area. And when you look at our staff, all of them have experience in our footprint except maybe one or two guys. So that's really, really helped us. And then there's no doubt, to answer your question about high school coaches, so many of the coaches I knew before, I knew these current coaches' dads before, some of these guys were young assistants, some of them played in the state while I was coaching. So the previous relationship that I've had and the familiarity with this state and high school football here has made it a lot easier to reenter. Obviously, you worked in the media.

You're somebody who's tuned in to what's going on. So I'm interested in what you make about a couple of headlines. There are schools across the country that are saying they're not going to have on-campus classes this fall.

USC, for example, being one of those. But the Pac-12 still is planning as if there's going to be a football season and that it's going to start on schedule. Have recent headlines at all dampened your confidence that there's going to be a season?

Josh, they haven't. But all of us have to learn how to handle this stuff. You read every day on Twitter that you've got some NBA teams that are shutting down for a week or you've got pro baseball teams that aren't practicing right now or different people that have gotten sick.

So this is real. And it's something that all of us have to manage. And one of the things that we all like to do is have answers.

And there's a lot of unanswered questions still to this virus, especially when it comes to sports, because we've never done it before. So we're having to make sure that our players are safe. We're all having to do different things and trying to make sure that it works. And when something doesn't work, you try something else.

And you're always leaning on the side of safety. Mac Brown with us here, Tar Heel Head football coach on Sports Hub Triad. I think Chris Fowler was the first person to suggest that ADs and behind the scenes people were looking at, is it plausible to potentially have a spring football season? And that, of course, would be a last resort option if it even came into play. Just thinking from a coach's perspective, though, what would be your primary concern or question about that concept of a spring season? Josh, really, what I've tried to do is stay in my lane and think about starting the season on time.

Because that's the only thing I've been told right now is a possibility. The second option people talked about was to move it back to October. Well, if that's the case, then when we find out we're not playing in the fall in August, then we start working on the next option. And then if they decide at some point they're not going to have football in the fall, then you go to spring. So I really haven't gotten that far yet because I'm preparing our team and our coaches like we're going to open up with Central Florida on that first Friday in September.

Yeah, and I can hear it in your voice. I mean, I don't think people realize how many people you're responsible for as a head coach of a major college football program. Because unlike the NFL, which is a 53-man roster, you're talking about 103 kids or 100 plus. You're talking about recruits. You're talking about a coaching staff, too. I mean, just give me a sense on a daily basis how many times you're having to assure or answer questions about coronavirus or something that's happening in the news. Well, Josh, if you think you've got 120 players on our team, and people will have from maybe 100 to 130, and then you've got their parents, you've got their high school coaches, and then you've got all of your staff and their families involved.

And that's probably 53 to 60 people on a daily basis. And then you've got your administration that you're dealing with. And you're dealing with the doctors. You're dealing with the heads of the CDC to try to make sure that everyone's safe. And at the same time, you're trying to keep them safe from the virus, but you need to also be working in the heat some so you'll be prepared when we start playing. So there's a lot of things right now that are on the plate, and you just constantly are trying to get answers to questions so that you can keep everyone confident, keep everyone safe, but also make sure that they understand they've still got to go to school. They still need to be healthy, and they've still got to take care of themselves.

And when they feel good, they've got to make sure that they're working on their conditioning. The last headline I wanted your reaction to is your former boss two weeks ago announcing that he was going to retire at about this time next year. John Swafford, of course, the AD at Carolina, who hired you for your first tour of duty, ACC commissioner since 1997.

Take me back 30 years ago. You're coming off back-to-back one in 10 seasons. And John, he ignored the outside criticism and kept you on for that third year, and we saw how the program was able to blossom from that point. To me, I think that speaks to everything, as somebody who's gotten to know John Swafford a little bit, that he kind of represents in stories that I've read and getting to know patients, leadership. How did that exactly look behind the scenes, though, and what does that say about John? John knew that the program was not in good shape when I was coming in, so he didn't plan on us being 2 and 20, and neither did I. But we also said, I agreed by contract to stay three years for him if he would keep me five. And that was an early contract that was a little bit different than others at that time because we knew it was going to be a struggle. And I was really worried about it after the second year. I could see we were recruiting well, things were going well. In fact, I told John once, why don't you get somebody else after the second year?

And he said, no, no, no, he kind of laughed and said, I don't know who'd take it right now, as bad as the seasons going. But he and Paul Harden, the chancellor at that time, hung strong with me, and then we were able to have time to turn it around. And I wish more athletic directors and presidents would do that today because we're losing some really, really good coaches just because of the people getting impatient. And really and truly, sometimes we're hiring people after you get rid of somebody that aren't as good. So I would lean on the side of John, if you think your guy's good, don't worry about what people are saying publicly.

Just hang in there with him and give him a chance and give him the opportunity to make it. Last thing for college football Hall of Famer, Mack Brown, the head coach of the Tar Heels. I use that way to describe you because I've had more time than I care to have the last few months, and I had a chance to look at some of the high school tape down in Nash County of a kid that you recruited and never got a chance to coach at North Carolina. Somebody who's eligible to get into the college football Hall of Fame. Of course, it's Tar Heel crate Julius Peppers, who we got to know at the Panthers as well.

I mean, some of the tape I watch is just ridiculous. He's playing running back and just plowing over people. I felt so badly for those defenders trying to tackle him at the high school level. What's the best story you have of recruiting Julius Peppers, the best memory? I think, Josh, the best thing was I didn't feel sorry for those guys that were trying to tackle him. I got excited about him playing for us. That was when I would sit at 6'5", 235 pounds just running through people.

Then when he came, he was very quiet anyway. He was very reserved, and we actually redshirted him the first year. We were that good. But then the fact that he actually could be a great player on our basketball team and one of the best ever, and we'll be in the Hall of Fame at some point. In fact, he and I are going in the North Carolina Hall of Fame together next year and to be one of the greatest to ever play in the NFL. I'm really, really proud of Julius and all he stands for and the way he represents UNC football, but also the Panthers at this point.

Mac, it's just good to hear your voice. I hope things are going well in preparation and that we're going to see games very soon. I know you're encouraging people to wear a mask, as we are doing as well. Stay safe, and we'll try to hold it down here in the Triad for you. Thank you, Josh.

I think that's the biggest thing. The virus has spiked again across the United States, so let's all take it on ourselves. If we want to have football season, we want to have kids back in school, whether it's K-12 or in college, let's all make a real strong effort to keep everybody healthy. Thank you, Coach. Well said. Thank you, Josh.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-16 06:05:01 / 2023-05-16 06:09:30 / 4

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