College Football

UNC's Brown pushing for more from Tar Heels in spring drills

(AP Photo/Hans Deryk, File)

By AARON BEARD

AP Sports Writer

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Mack Brown isn't spending spring practices at North Carolina in a happy-just-to-coach-again mood.

No, Brown - starting his second stint as coach of the Tar Heels - and his staff are pushing for more of everything: sharper focus, better execution and a lot of urgency.

"We haven't asked them, we've told them," Brown said. "And we have said: `This is the way it's going to be. We've won with this process and we know this process works.'"

Brown has reasons to mix blunt words with his typically positive and affable demeanor. Part of it is the recharged coaching drive after years in broadcasting following his exit from Texas in 2013. Yet Brown also knows he inherited a struggling team that won twice last year while repeatedly surrendering leads and finding ways to turn wins into losses.

That has created the awkward mix of having a team that appears close to more wins yet also has shaken confidence. It's on the 67-year-old College Football Hall of Fame member to fix it.

Hired in late November, Brown is down to about two weeks of drills before UNC's spring game on April 13. The Tar Heels open the season Aug. 31 against South Carolina in Charlotte.

"Ever since he got here," rising junior defensive end Tomon Fox said, "it's been all gas, no brakes."

For Brown, it's the latest stop in a career that included a strong run with the Tar Heels in the 1990s - including top-10 AP poll finishes in 1996 and 1997 - before winning a national championship during 16 seasons with the Longhorns. That track record resonates with players desperate to stop a steep two-year slide, which saw the Tar Heels lose 21 of 27 games since November 2016 and prompted UNC to move on from former coach Larry Fedora.

"This isn't about building for the future," rising senior offensive tackle Charlie Heck said. "This is about we want to win now. We want to change the culture instantly."

Brown was candid this week about what it will take to do that.

The players are retaining more from the installation of new offensive and defensive schemes. But Brown said there's a lack of "great attention to detail" and too many mental mistakes, such as defensive misalignments along with too many dropped passes in Tuesday morning's practice. He also wants more vocal leaders, a challenge for a group that "has not been a confident team."

Brown said coaches are pushing players to prove now they deserve playing time before incoming recruits arrive for preseason camp.

"I didn't think there was ever a honeymoon period for the guys, because we jumped on them the day we got here and we've been really hard on them," Brown said.

"We've got to find out who steps back now and who steps up now. You don't want it in the fourth quarter with South Carolina. So practice has to be so hard that if a guy is going to give into it and he doesn't want to play and he doesn't want to compete, let's find out now. Let's don't wait until next fall."

---

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

---

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

Updated March 29, 2019

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2019 by STATS.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Teams Score Time
NCAA FB
NC State   Sat 12:00pm
Boston College  
Duke   Sat 3:30pm
Virginia  
North Carolina   Sat 3:30pm
Virginia Tech  
NHL
Carolina 2 F
San Jose 5
Teams Score Time
Pittsburgh   Fri 7:00pm
Syracuse  
Ohio State   Fri 8:30pm
Northwestern  
Auburn   Sat 12:00pm
Arkansas  
Clemson   Sat 12:00pm
Louisville  
Florida   Sat 12:00pm
South Carolina  
Georgia Tech   Sat 12:00pm
Miami  
NC State   Sat 12:00pm
Boston College  
Purdue   Sat 12:00pm
Iowa  
West Virginia   Sat 12:00pm
Oklahoma  
Wisconsin   Sat 12:00pm
Illinois  
Duke   Sat 3:30pm
Virginia  
LSU   Sat 3:30pm
Mississippi State  
Minnesota   Sat 3:30pm
Rutgers  
North Carolina   Sat 3:30pm
Virginia Tech  
Oregon   Sat 3:30pm
Washington  
Temple   Sat 3:30pm
SMU  
Tulsa   Sat 3:30pm
Cincinnati  
UL Monroe   Sat 3:30pm
Appalachian State  
Baylor   Sat 4:00pm
Oklahoma State  
Missouri   Sat 4:00pm
Vanderbilt  
Arizona State   Sat 6:00pm
Utah  
Kentucky   Sat 6:00pm
Georgia  
Kansas   Sat 7:00pm
Texas  
Florida State   Sat 7:30pm
Wake Forest  
Michigan   Sat 7:30pm
Penn State  
Tennessee   Sat 9:00pm
Alabama  
Boise State   Sat 10:15pm
BYU  
Teams Score Time
American League
Houston   Postponed
New York  
Houston   8:08pm
New York  
Teams Score Time
Detroit 116 F
Charlotte 110
Atlanta 100 F
New York 96
Memphis 124 F
Oklahoma City 119
San Antonio 128 F
Houston 114
Portland 126 F
Utah 118
Golden State 93 F
Los Angeles 126
Miami   7:00pm
Orlando  
Atlanta   8:00pm
Chicago  
Minnesota   8:00pm
Milwaukee  
Portland   9:00pm
Denver  
Dallas   10:30pm
Los Angeles  
Teams Score Time
Kansas City   8:20pm
Denver  
Arizona   Sun 1:00pm
New York  
Houston   Sun 1:00pm
Indianapolis  
Jacksonville   Sun 1:00pm
Cincinnati  
Los Angeles   Sun 1:00pm
Atlanta  
Miami   Sun 1:00pm
Buffalo  
Minnesota   Sun 1:00pm
Detroit  
Oakland   Sun 1:00pm
Green Bay  
San Francisco   Sun 1:00pm
Washington  
Los Angeles   Sun 4:05pm
Tennessee  
Baltimore   Sun 4:25pm
Seattle  
New Orleans   Sun 4:25pm
Chicago  
Philadelphia   Sun 8:20pm
Dallas  
Teams Score Time
Colorado 2 F/OT
Pittsburgh 3
Dallas 2 F
Columbus 3
Toronto 3 F
Washington 4
Philadelphia 3 F
Edmonton 6
Buffalo 2 F
Anaheim 5
Carolina 2 F
San Jose 5
Minnesota   7:00pm
Montreal  
New York   7:00pm
New Jersey  
Tampa Bay   7:00pm
Boston  
New York   8:00pm
Winnipeg  
Vancouver   8:00pm
St. Louis  
Detroit   9:00pm
Calgary  
Nashville   10:00pm
Arizona  
Ottawa   10:00pm
Vegas  
Buffalo   10:30pm
Los Angeles  
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES AT TALLADEGA
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 12 Ryan Blaney 9
2 6 Ryan Newman 13
3 11 Denny Hamlin 40
4 10 Aric Almirola 5
5 34 Michael McDowell 22
6 3 Austin Dillon 20
7 32 Corey Lajoie 33
8 9 Chase Elliott 1
9 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 7
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT DOVER
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 00 Cole Custer 3
2 7 Justin Allgaier 8
3 22 Austin Cindric 2
4 11 Justin Haley 11
5 98 Chase Briscoe 1
6 1 Michael Annett 16
7 9 Noah Gragson 7
8 23 John Hunter Nemechek 17
9 8 Zane Smith 10
NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES AT TALLADEGA
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 20 Spencer Boyd 25
2 4 Todd Gilliland 6
3 51 Riley Herbst 7
4 24 Brett Moffitt 8
5 52 Stewart Friesen 10
6 16 Austin Hill 13
7 17 Tyler Ankrum 2
8 88 Matt Crafton 1
9 2 Sheldon Creed 5