Mac & Bone Podcast
The Tar Heels will head to Louisville on Tuesday night as they look to continue the momentum that they built off a three-game homestand that they swept last week in the Dean Dome. The hope is that this can be the turning point for a season where the Tar Heels have had a lot of inconsistencies especially on the road and has left many fans frustrated after similar issues to close the Roy Williams era, even with the fact that this is Hubert Davis' first season as a head coach at the varsity level.
The Tar Heel basketball entered last Monday meeting with the Virginia Tech Hokies needing a win about as bad as any team in college basketball as they had fallen squarely on to the bubble. While it may not have been the prettiest win, that was the starting point for a 3-0 week which included a 100-80 win over NC State on Saturday that was desperately needed for this Tar Heel team to avoid falling completely out of the tournament field.
The Panthers have a lot of work to this offseason as they look to turn the rebuild back in the right direction under Matt Rhule in Year 3. It starts at quarterback and left tackle, the two spots that have been talked about since the middle of the season as glaring question marks for this team. These are two positions where there is a strong chance that the team addresses this at all costs, whether that is through the draft or in free agency.
Tuesday, the future of the NFC South was shaken up a bit around the Carolina Panthers when Saints head coach Sean Payton announced that he was stepping away from the New Orleans Saints after a 16-year stint as the team's head coach. This is a major blow for a Saints team who was already going through the process of replacing the legendary Drew Brees and will now have to find a way to replace the most successful coach in franchise history.
It's no secret that the Panthers are in desperate need of offensive line help and late last week, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had the team addressing that need. In his first mock draft of the season, he had the team taking Mississippi State offensive tackle Charles Cross, the third tackle off the board behind Alabama tackle Evan Neal, who he had going 3rd to the Texans, and Ikem Ekwonu, who he had going 5th to the Giants.
Jim Phillips, the commissioner of the ACC, is one of the main reasons that the College Football Playoff committee has not been able to agree on a deal to expand the playoff field. On a call with the media a couple of weeks ago, he explained that this is not an issue with the playoff itself, but rather with everything that is going on with college athletics at one time. Phillips has said that he wants to take a more "holistic approach" to the expansion and that right now the idea of staying at four teams is best for the time being.
The Panthers' offensive line issues are extremely well known locally and might be the biggest thing holding this Panther offense back under Matt Rhule. While there may not be an easy solution to the question mark that is this Panther team in the trenches, Joe Marino of The Draft Network released an article the other day breaking down how he would go about repairing this offensive line and allowing them to draft a quarterback this offseason in one fell swoop.
The Hornets suffered one of, if not their most disappointing loss of the season on Friday to the Orlando Magic in Charlotte, but they had an opportunity to get things back on track against a New York Knicks team that appeared to be getting themselves together after a rather disappointing start. They did just that with a dominant 97-87 win which was led by a career performance from Miles Bridges, who dropped 38 points on 14-20 shooting, and another nice afternoon from Terry Rozier, who finished with 22 points of his own.
Arm length had been a big storyline around Matt Rhule and the Panthers ever since he made the comments about them thinking of Brady Christensen as a guard because of his short arms. Rhule told the Mac Attack on Thursday that one of his biggest regrets from the season was not sticking with Christensen at left tackle after the Giants game where he struggled, making many fans angry that this was something that he didn't realize in season. Combine that with the fact that he revealed to the Mac Attack in his interview that the staff passed on second team All-Pro Rashawn Slater because they felt that he was a guard and the team wasn't willing to take a guard that high.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule's job status might be the most polarizing storylines in both the city of Charlotte sports and in the NFL as the days go by and the owner of the team remains silent. Albert Breer of Monday Morning Quarterback said in answer a mailbag question on the site yesterday that nothing can be officially ruled out here because of what happened with Jeffrey Lurie and Doug Pederson a year ago where Pederson was let go more than a week after the conclusion of the season. On Thursday morning, Rhule took to the airwaves of WFNZ and talked to both the Mac Attack and the Wilson & Norfleet show to discuss his job status heading into year three and much, much more.