CHAPEL HILL — Whether UNC has found its next Mack Brown won't be known for a least a year and probably a lot longer.
But five minutes into Larry Fedora's first day on the job as football coach, there was no doubt the Tar Heels had rounded up a Brown sound-alike.
Fedora even dropped Brown's name into the conversation, mentioning that he often has sought the former UNC coach's advice.
Gen. George Patton's blood and guts were a part of Fedora's recipe. A lot of coaches in the Big 12 came up and probably several folks whose names were mentioned so fast that the words buzzed by, like pellets out of a Roy Williams BB rifle.
Talk about a Tommy-Gun verbal delivery. Fedora sounded just like Brown - "Be there early! Be loud! Get involved!"
"Life's short - ya better go no-huddle!" he said later during the afternoon on 99.9 radio.
"It's hard for me to sit in one spot!"
Fedora appears to have two settings - frenzy and fire drill.
Like Brown, Fedora apparently came straight out of the delivery room with a fully developed recruiting spiel.
"Good recruiters can recruit anywhere!" he yelled.
But even as Carolina fans everywhere and even a few innocent bystanders rushed to enlist in Company-F on Friday, it's worth mentioning that Brown almost got buried under his own passion and enthusiasm.
Brown's first two teams - 1988 and '89 - each went 1-10. The '89 team failed to crack double digits six times. The last game was a 41-0 stinker against Duke that Steve Spurrier turned into a photo-op under a Kenan Stadium scoreboard.
By spring drills before the 1990 season, Brown and then UNC athletic director John Swofford were trying to sell season tickets out of a foxhole.
A losing record in '90, and there never would have been a Mack Brown legend or a strong movement for Swofford to lead the ACC.
It was dang close, too, as Brown put it.
That '90 Tar Heels team lost in Kenan to N.C. State and didn't really have a quality win. But a 13-13 mid-season tie against eventual co-national champion Georgia Tech lead to a bowless 6-4-1 record that gave Brown breathing room.
From there, his recruiting hauls took over and UNC gradually became a national power.
Fedora will inherit a roster with three or four times the talent Brown found.
While Brown's first four games at UNC were at South Carolina, vs. Oklahoma and Louisville and then back on the road to Auburn, Fedora's non-league foes in 2012 will be Elon, ECU, Louisville and Idaho.
But one thing Brown never had to fret was an NCAA probation. Rather than a shortage of talent, the NCAA will be Fedora's monster in the closet.
Before that first game against Elon on Sept. 1, 2012, Friday's eruption of enthusiasm and optimism in UNC's fan base will be tested by the sting of a possibly severe NCAA ruling.
Fedora promised UNC fans a "wild ride" Friday. He told them to "buckle their seat belts." But a buckled-up ride on the wild side has been where UNC fans have lived for almost 18 months.
More than a pep talk, what many Tar Heels want from their new coach is something quick and simple - like a win over State.