CHARLOTTE- Last season, Drake Maye produced Heisman like numbers, accounting for more than 5,000 yards of offense and scoring 45 total touchdowns.
However, for North Carolina’s quarterback, this season he is focused more on team results as opposed to any individual accolades. As the Tar Heels get set to begin fall camp, one of the biggest goals for Mack Brown’s team is being better at finishing off opponents.
North Carolina started out the 2022 season 9-1, only to lose four straight to end the year. Three of those were tightly contested contests. The Heels lost 21-17 on the road at Georgia Tech. They lost 30-27 in double overtime at home to NC State. Then to end the season, Oregon beat North Carolina by one point, 28-27, in the Holiday Bowl.
“Obviously the way we ended last year, lost a lot of close games,” Maye said at the ACC Kickoff. “Any way you end the season like that, I use it as motivation. That’s all we talk about. We were 9-1 rolling into Georgia Tech, and we finished 9-5. Just finding ways to use it as motivation, but at the same time get over that hump and look forward to this season. We’re excited. That’s our goal to get back to the ACC championship, that’s what we’re working towards.”
During that four game slide to end the season, there was also the 39-10 blowout loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Maye came away from the game feeling like the team missed some opportunities, but at the same time, it was the kind of loss that he feels will ultimately make him a better quarterback.
“First off, take what the defense gives you,” Maye said. “I tried to stretch the field some plays when I should have just checked it down. Down there in the red zone, just find ways I can hurt them. In the air and on the ground. I think the first drive I ran one in and I thin they were worried about me running a little bit.
This season the two teams are once again set to face off at Death Valley on November 18, and this time Maye will be better prepared for what he might see from Wes Goodwin’s defense.
“They have great players,” Maye said. “I think, the best thing with Clemson, before the snap, study them up down there. Study them up with every look they got. They threw some different stuff at us that we didn’t see in the film. They brought in some new personnel. And they have great players at the end of the day. They are going to have players make plays. You are not going to win every play. So just bouncing back from negative plays and going back after them.”
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