Mack Brown kicked off a Duke’s Mayo Bowl press conference on Wednesday by recalling how he watched South Carolina coach Shane Beamer grow up, and how Brown considers Frank Beamer, the legendary Virginia Tech coach, a friend.

North Carolina and South Carolina will meet on Dec. 30 in the bowl game in Charlotte.

“We didn’t meet our expectations this year and South Carolina did. Look forward to competing against him (Shane Beamer) in this bowl game,” Brown said. “Obviously Shane’s dad Frank is a dear friend of mine…I’ve watched Shane grow up and I’m so proud of him.”

One of the biggest storylines to the game will be if North Carolina QB Sam Howell decides to play in the game, or sit out and prepare for the NFL Draft.

“Really excited about Sam Howell playing,” Brown said. “It could be his last game, but he hasn’t told us anything.”

Brown added that none of the Tar Heel players have talked to him about not playing in the bowl.

H/T SportsTalkSC and Ben Portnoy.