football Edit

Player Meetings Are Underway


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CHAPEL HILL – With the regular season now in the rearview mirror, North Carolina’s football team will spend the next week in limbo with respect to what bowl game it will participate and who it will play. But the week will be loaded, otherwise.

Player meetings began Monday, as position coaches, and in some instances head coach Mack Brown, will meet with each Tar Heel by Thursday evening to discuss their standing within the program, possible future playing time, and to get a gauge of what the players are thinking.

“We’ll say, ‘Are you happy,’” Brown said they will ask each player. “And I’ve told (the coaches) to be really honest with them. I think that’s the best way to do it…

“We’ll sit down with every player and say, ‘You’re not playing, here’s the reasons you’re not playing. Here’s the three guys ahead of you, and I don’t see you playing. You can stay, but if you want to play, don’t be mad, but here’s the way I see it.’”

With the transfer portal now a heavy weight to lift at this time of year, and it opening December 4, these meetings are more important than ever. Getting on the same page with players is paramount, even if they plan on looking for a fresh start at another school.

Though one more game remains before the 2023 campaign is put to rest, the beginning of the 2024 season actually commences this week. The impact of decisions current Tar Heels will make can serious affect next year’s team.

“That’s why we’ve been so honest with our guys and ask them, like we’re honest with our coaches,” Brown said.

Tar Heels players and coaches will meet this week to discuss their future in the program.
Tar Heels players and coaches will meet this week to discuss their future in the program. (Kevin Roy/THI)

The tricky and complicated nature of this week has multiple prongs:

*Some Tar Heels have seekers from other schools dangling wads of cash as a lure to their programs.

*Some players that can help next year’s team may have an over-inflated opinion of their value on the portal market, and leaving could be a mistake, but staying and having an issue not getting on the field as much as they believe is justified could create an environmental problem within the UNC program.

“There are players on our team right now that are talking to coaches and agents on other teams about transferring,” Brown said. “I know that. We’re getting all kinds of calls from people that are on other teams and their agents getting ready to go into the portal next week.”

*What coaches are looking at other jobs, and how might that affect current Heels’ decisions?

Brown must get a healthy gauge of where the current players stand with respect to being a part of the program moving forward, those looking at the NFL, who may or may not play in the bowl game, and who will be on his staff.

“I’ll sit down with the coaches over the next three weeks, because I’ll be out recruiting with every one of them,” Brown said. “And when you’re in a car all day with a guy, everything comes up. And they don’t get me very often by myself.”

Graduate tight end Kamari Morales, who was in the high school class of 2019 and redshirted that year, gets the Covid year from 2020 back, and still has a year left announced on social media Sunday he is entering the portal. He will be the first of however many Heels move on.

Also, defensive lineman Kedrick Bingley-Jones and running back Elijah Green had announced their intentions on entering the portal by the time this piece was posted.

UNC’s coaches hit the road recruiting Friday when the dead period ends, but between now and then, it’s all about roster management, at least the first wave of it. The portal will be the second, and that begins next week.