Mack Brown has big plans for the first season of his second tenure at North Carolina.
That includes beating national champion Clemson.
Yes, the Tar Heels went 2-9 last season and fired Larry Fedora, setting the stage for Brown to return to Chapel Hill after leaving the school in 1997 and spending 16 seasons with Texas.
But that doesn't mean much to Brown, who spoke to reporters Thursday night after participating in a booster event in Raleigh.
Unlike most first-year coaches, he wasn't trying to downplay optimism to fans and his players. He was setting expectations high for his team to achieve big things in 2019.
Mack Brown was introduced as North Carolina's football coach on Nov. 27, 2018. (Photo: Robert Willett, The News & Observer via AP)
“We’re going to believe in our team, we’re going to be disciplined, we’re going to play hard every week, and we plan on winning every game,” Brown said.
“Some of the fans will laugh and say, you play Clemson and I said, you know, ‘if you don’t believe you can beat the national champ then why play the game. So it’s not always the best team, it’s whoever plays best that day.”
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There is some reason for Brown's optimism. North Carolina lost five of its games by seven points or less in 2018 – including overtime defeats to Syracuse and North Carolina State.
The Tar Heels also return several key performers from both sides of the ball and welcome freshman quarterback Sam Howell, who enrolled in the spring after spurning Florida State. Howell could take over the reins of an offense that has struggled in the two seasons since Mitch Trubisky departed.
Brown's comments surely won't go unnoticed by Clemson, which visits Chapel Hill on Sept. 28. Expect Dabo Swinney to remind his team of them the week of the game.
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