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The start of the college football season is getting closer, with conference media days already underway. Locally Clemson will garner most of the national hype, as they look to end their College Football Playoff absence. South Carolina will also get a lot of publicity after the way they finished last season, upsetting top-ten teams in Clemson and Tennessee. Another local program that is going to receive some hype, with be North Carolina, even after they lost their final four games last season, to finish 9-5, after a 9-5. The main reason for the hype is because of quarterback Drake Maye, who is a Heisman hopeful, and a top NFL Draft prospect for 2024. But Carolina will need more production from the guys around him, as last year was a clear example, one guy can’t carry you to a conference title.

Former UNC tight end, Deems May joined Mac & Bone earlier this morning to preview the upcoming season, and one of the reasons he expects Carolina to be better is an improved offensive line, that has allowed 40 sacks or more back-to-back years. Over the off-season, Mack Brown hired Randy Clements, who has a lot of offensive line experience. When you look at Drake May’s struggles to the end of the season, you can look at the amount of pressure he faced on a game-in, game-out basis. Maye faced an average of over 20 pressure over the last four games, as his offensive line crumbled, as the competition got stiffer.

Furthermore, Carolina’s defense needs to be improved, and May referenced that he believes the unit never recovered from the App State game. Gene Chizik has a history of turning around bad defenses before, having done so before already in Chapel Hill. May noted that there was a lack of communication and trust in the defensive unit, which should be cleared up after Mack Brown made some changes on that side ball, most notably moving on from former UNC standout Dre Bly. The defense is led by local products, Power Echols and Cedric Gray, both of whom could earn All-ACC honors, if the defense takes a step forward.

Ultimately, the success of the Tar Heels on the field in 2023, will depend highly on the play of Drake Maye, who is clearly the best QB in the ACC. But last year showed that he needs more help around him, and that was something that Mack Brown focused on doing during the entire off-season, which is why Maye sat it on offensive coordinator interviews. Has Carolina learned from past mistakes? We’ll find out in Week One, when they play South Carolina on a neutral field, at Bank of America Stadium, in primetime to kick off the start of the college football season.

You can catch the Mac & Bone Show, every weekday from 6-10 AM, on Sports Radio 92.7 WFNZ, and the WFNZ app.