North Carolina coach Mack Brown: ‘I did a very poor job preparing our team’

On3 imageby:Noah Fleischman11/26/23

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After NC State handled North Carolina 39-20 at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday night, Tar Heels coach Mack Brown owned the loss in the visiting media room.

“I did a very poor job preparing our team, obviously,” Brown told reporters. “I thought it was very much like the Virginia game, we were awful in the first half. It was as bad as I’ve ever seen us. We were awful on offense, we did some good things on defense early and then stayed out there too long and let them score.”

NC State was able to string together eight consecutive scoring drives to open the game and it did not punt until there was about three minutes left in the third quarter. The Pack logged four touchdowns and four field goals before the Tar Heels forced NC State’s offense off the field. 

And Brown did not have many answers as to why the Wolfpack was able to cruise down the field, and the Tar Heels’ offense struggled in the first half. 

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye did not complete a pass until the second quarter — he started 0-for-3 as the Tar Heels went three-and-out on their first _ possessions.

“It was bad,” Brown said. 

The Tar Heels’ slow start might have been because North Carolina was battling injuries throughout the week, but Brown said he did not want to make excuses for the loss.

“We had a whole lot of people hurt, so we didn’t put pads on and that obviously wasn’t a good decision,” Brown said. “But that’s not an excuse. It’s late in the year, it’s part of the deal.” 

NC State quarterback Brennan Armstrong, on the other hand, did not throw a pass all week as he battled a rib injury and still threw for 334 yards and three scores against the North Carolina defense. 

The 72-year-old coach raved about Armstrong earlier in the week with his response to being benched and then being reinserted into the lineup. He continued that after the signal-caller torched the Tar Heels’ defense.

“Brennan Armstrong did a tremendous job,” Brown said. “We didn’t put pressure on him, and they were all open. He made some great throws, got to give him a lot of credit. I thought he played really well since he’s come back in.”

Ans as Armstrong played well, so did freshman wide receiver Kevin Concepcion, who caught seven passes for 131 yards and two scores. He also added 11 carries for a team-best 55 rushing yards. 

“I don’t know,” Brown said of Concepcion’s ability to make plays against the Tar Heels. “We just didn’t do a good enough job.”

While Brown did not know what went wrong in defending NC State’s playmakers, he added the same about why his offense, which was outgained by the Wolfpack 504-384, struggled.

“I did a poor job preparing this team to play or we wouldn’t have looked that bad,” Brown said. “That’s me and a group of assistant coaches. It has nothing to do with the kids because they played their guts out in the second half.”

NC State and North Carolina scored the same amount of points in the second half (13) after the Wolfpack jumped out to a quick 23-0 lead in the first half. 

The Wolfpack finished third in the ACC with a 6-2 league record, while the Tar Heels finished tied for sixth at 4-4 in conference play.

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