Mack Brown views his lack of staff changes during his tenure at Texas through a different lens now. The continuity he once championed, he now views as a reason for complacency.
That hasn’t happened at North Carolina.
Aside from the staff coaching positions he had to fill, Brown has supplemented roles with a number of analyst hires with the thought that more eyes and more ideas will help the Tar Heels go from a good season to a special one.
“We’re getting some really, really good coaches across the board,” Brown said. “And I think they feel that we’re headed in a good direction. And they know that we need to take another step.”
Clyde Christensen brings the kind of experience that college staffs rarely get. He’s joining the staff as a volunteer offensive analyst after spending the past four seasons coaching Tom Brady as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterbacks coach.
Ted Monachino was hired as a senior defensive analyst and brought in to specifically help the Heels’ pass rushers. He’s got invaluable experience with that too, having coached 16 seasons in the NFL, including the likes of Terrell Suggs, Khalil Mack and Elvis Dumervil.
“You look at what they’ve done in college, but you look at what they’ve done in the NFL,” Brown said. “They bring things to our staff that we haven’t had in the past — and you can’t have.”
Christensen lettered at UNC in 1977-78 and was once an Ehringhaus suitemate of Lawrence Taylor. His love for Carolina is one of the reasons he wanted to be involved with the team. His wife is also from Winston-Salem, and they wanted to be closer to her parents.
Christensen won two Super Bowls as an assistant coach and has also worked with Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck while he was the offensive coordinator and later quarterbacks coach with the Indianapolis Colts.
He said UNC quarterback Drake Maye has similar mobility and athleticism to Luck, and he added that Maye’s “Pentium processor” is a trait he sees that already would translate to the NFL.
“He has that processing ability that he can do it quickly,” Christensen said. “That would probably be the trait that I would say the good ones, the really good ones, have just that they can process information and what’s going on around them really fast. And he seems to be able to do that.”
Monachino served a year as an analyst at Missouri in 2018 before going back to the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons the past four seasons. He’s charged with helping defensive line coach Tim Cross with improving a pass rush that ranked last in the ACC in sacks last season.
“My job specifically with those pass rushers is going to be to add tools to their toolbox, I’m not going to try to remake any player,” Monachino said. “I believe that or that pass rush is based on two things: It’s based on effort and violence, and those guys that show those traits are the things that I’m going to be looking for first.”
Just as Carolina received good news that defensive end Tomari Fox, who missed all of last season, was cleared to participate fully in practice, it announced its Jack lineman Malaki Hamrick is out for the season with a lower body injury.
Both Christensen and Monachino will be limited by current NCAA rules that prevent them from actually coaching players directly. However, the NCAA is expected to change its by-laws to allow additional staff like analysts in football or a director of operations in basketball to be able to coach on their respective fields of play.
“One of the great things about bringing in new coaches is new ideas, a new set of eyeballs and they are critical,” Brown said. “…Everybody understands we got a chance to be good, I think that’s probably why the guys have responded so well the first four days of practice. They’re excited about the changes and the thoughts moving forward and it’s good for me, I haven’t had people like this.”