Extra time off giving Tar Heels chance to hit restart button on season


CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA – SEPTEMBER 12: Head coach Mack Brown of the North Carolina Tar Heels watches his team play against the Syracuse Orange during their game at Kenan Stadium on September 12, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 31-6. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina football had a 31-6 win against Syracuse in their season opener. That was almost two weeks ago.

The next game, not until October 3 at Boston College. The Tar Heels were scheduled to play Charlotte on September 19, but it was canceled due to COVID-19 issues for the 49ers.

“Everyone is in a good place mentally. We know this season any game can be taken away from us at any time so we challenge ourselves to stay sharp every day and be consistent whether we have a game that weekend or not,” said quarterback Sam Howell.

“From what we’ve learned about 2020, you can expect the unexpected. Nothing is unthinkable or out of the ordinary anymore. You have to be prepared to switch things up if something doesn’t go your way,” added linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel.

Now, UNC will have three weeks between games. Because of that, the coaches are taking a different mindset: hit the restart button.

“What we told our players and coaches was, let’s just start the season over. Syracuse was a game, it’s done. So we are two weeks out from the opener. So let’s just go back and restart it. And that’s what we’re trying to get their mentality to be,” said head coach Mack Brown.

Howell is taking advantage of the extra practices. Extra practices means extra reps with receivers.

“Honestly, the timing stuff will probably get a little better now that we have more practice. Because I don’t throw it to every receiver during the game. We only throw the ball between 20 and 30 times a game. But really having more time to practice and make that better. So we’ve been taking advantage of these past couple weeks and improving our timing and stuff like that,” he said.

The Tar Heels travel to Boston College on October 3 for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.

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