UNC knows the feeling after Notre Dame-Wake Forest game is postponed

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Notre Dame vs Wake Forest is the latest COVID postponement.

The game this weekend on hold after the Irish found seven new positive tests on their football team. That and the associated contact tracing nixed their trip to Winston-Salem.

North Carolina knows all about that pain having had its game against Charlotte canceled last Saturday for similar reasons.

"I said Charlotte's not coming and they said, 'now come on coach that's just not funny,' and I said, well it's not funny, it's really true," UNC coach Mack Brown said.

Brown tried to deliver the news with a smile last week but losing the Charlotte game two days before it was to be played was a gut punch.

"We really wanted the game because you've got 120 players on a team, and only 11 play at a time," Brown said. "So, the more snaps that you get, the more opportunities it is for people to play."

With their game against the 49ers a COVID casualty and another week off to follow, the wheels were set in motion to find a game for the 26th.

"We were looking for anybody who wanted to play. We wanted a game." UNC senior associate athletic director Rick Steinbacher said.

He spent his weekend and more glued to the phone.

"I think it was almost 20 schools in total. Yeah, Coach Brown knows everybody and everybody knows Coach Brown. Bubba Cunningham, he's the exact same way." Steinbacher explained. "I talked to them, found out, you know, what Coach Brown's priorities were and Bubba said 'hey, let me know what I can do to help,' and then just worked the phones nonstop for about four days."

It was nothing like Brown's ever experienced.

"It was a roller coaster because he'd say yeah this guy thinks they may be able to play and then I get excited and then Rick could call me back say no," Brown said.

In the end for one reason or another, there wasn't a deal to be made. Money, Steinbacher said, was not the predominant issue.

"Most of them did not have much to do, if any at all with financials. It was more about the fit," he said. "Who is that team playing the week before? Did they want to be on the road two weeks in a row? Who were they playing before us, who would they be playing after us?"

So now that the Heels are indeed left with two weeks off, Brown is hitting reset on the season.

"What we told our players and coaches is let's just start the season over," Brown said. "Syracuse was a game, it's done. So, we're two weeks out from the opener."

UNC continues to seek a replacement non-conference game. The next targeted date is November 19 or 20, the week before they host Notre Dame at Kenan Stadium.
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