Sam Howell and UNC have gotten plenty of national attention this preseason. The team isn’t spending much time reading the lofty projections for them, however.
“I think we’re a really mature team,” Howell said. “I don’t think anyone has really let the hype get to us. We talked about it early on. Everyone knows the hype we have surrounding our program. I think it’s well deserved. But also, the hype isn’t going to win football games. We’ve got to put work in every single day. I think the team has done a good job of not letting the hype get to us. An amateur team would let that get to them and effect how they’re working. That hasn’t happened to us.”
Howell also discussed several other topics in his first press conference of the preseason.
On changes to the run-pass mix due to the offseason losses of Michael Carter and JaVonte Williams (both drafted in the NFL): “We’re going to do what we do. It’s the same system. We feel really good about the guys in the running back room. What I saw out there in practice today, I felt really good. Guys are going to have the chance to step up this year and make some plays, but w’re not changing anything we do. The running backs are still going to get the same amount of carries.”
On opening at Virginia Tech: “I like it. All three years I’ve been here, we’ve had a big opening game (South Carolina in 2019 and Syracuse last year). It’s good to not play a lesser opponent. It gives a sense of urgency going through camp. We know we’re going to get tested early on. Blacksburg is a hard place to play. We know what the challenge is week one.”