About a month shy of his 69th birthday, North Carolina head coach Mack Brown refuses to fret his newest label: at-risk.
Brown, who celebrates his birthday on Aug. 27, hopes to be leading the Tar Heels onto the field for their opener on Sept. 4 against UCF. But the Atlantic Coast Conference could follow the lead of the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences by eliminating all non-conference games in 2020.
An advocate for wearing masks and distancing when possible, Brown said no one person or team is going to decide whether college football launches next month.
“If we help our country and we help each other, football will take care of itself,” Brown said Tuesday.
Should Brown contract the coronavirus, his understanding from the NCAA is a short-term replacement could be named. Brown said Tuesday in a conference call with national media that interim coaches can be added to the staff from a pool of graduation assistants and analysts.
In his typical swagger-filled drawl, Brown said he plans to leap into his workdays as per usual.
“I am not afraid,” he said. “I am in. I am all in.”
Brown has already dealt with the coronavirus in Chapel Hill during early workouts when multiple players yielded positive COVID-19 tests, but is optimistic there will be football this season.
“When we have 19,000 students show up in early August while our guys are practicing, they’re just going to have to do what they’re supposed to do,” Brown said. “Because we had some positives they’re probably listening better.”
The Tar Heels don’t have a conference game scheduled until Sept. 26 against Georgia Tech. The conference schedule could be altered to account for dates potentially opened by eliminating nonconference games.
While not the first time he made the suggestion, Brown doubled down on his request for a commissioner of college football on Tuesday.
“Right now we seem to be disjointed,” Brown said. “I’d like to have seen more people talking about when we’re coming together as a group, how we’ll play, when it’s safe to play. It’s all over the place right now.”