Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wednesday nuggets...

Carolina Panthers looking ahead to their Sunday meeting with Atlanta, and they'll go in without DT's (yes, plural) Sione Fua and Terrell McClain. Both players suffering injuries in Tampa Bay, severe enough to end their seasons. Panthers signed Jason Shirley off the practice squad, and Ogemdi Nwagbuo to the roster, and former NC State DT Demario Pressley to the practice squad.

This is a serious blow to the Panthers defense. Even though Fua and McClain are rookies, they had played every game this season, and were really getting comfortable with the scheme, as well as NFL life. Perhaps this is a good thing, as the first year duo may have been running into the wall a little bit. The Panthers are thinking long term about goals, so in that vain, that's likely how they are looking at this.

Also, keep in mind, the Panthers only had McClain available in Tampa, and that was only for the first half. Yet the defense did a solid job against the run. They'll need more of that this Sunday with Michael Turner rolling into Bank of America Stadium.

UNC football appears to be on the brink of naming Larry Fedora as their next Head Coach. Other than his win over Houston, I know very little about him. I do know he's a native of College Station, TX, which incidentally is where Texas A&M is located. The Aggies apparently have some interest in him, and if Fedora chooses Chapel Hill over his hometown, that would say a lot about what UNC is offering.

It would also say a lot about the coach. Fedora (or whoever would take that job), will be walking into a situation that would be considered less than desirable. The school is going to face sanctions of some kind, whether its the one's they imposed on themselves, or something from the NCAA. Fedora, and other coaches know this. They know that there will potentially be some lean times. They know it will be a tough assignment to keep Carolina trending upward.

Listening to talk radio on Wednesday morning, I had to laugh hearing some of the e-mails read on air. One UNC fan wrote in saying he opposed the Fedora hiring because a coach with 4 years Head Coaching experience is "beneath" UNC. Did I miss a memo? When did UNC football win a basket of national title? Oh, that's right, never. UNC football was at its pinnacle (recently) with Mack Brown at the helm. His name was brought up during the radio conversation as well, with fans recalling his back-to-back 10-win seasons. A history lesson: Brown didn't leave UNC to take the job at Texas because UNC treated him poorly or he viewed the school as a "stepping stone" job. Brown left because after winning 20 games in 2 seasons, and not getting into a BCS game, he viewed UNC as a place that wouldn't garner national respect in football.

I don't dislike UNC at all, and I know people will perceive my thoughts as hateful. the facts are this: UNC CAN be a national power in football. Making that happen is the job of a Head Coach, his staff, and the right mix of players. UNC hasn't had that combination since Mack Brown, in 1996 and 1997. It will be up the next regime to try and lead them back there.

As for Everett Withers, I commend him on being the company guy. He did his very best, but only a national title would have helped him stay on as Head Coach. It's my opinion that anyone connected with the Butch Davis era will be gone by next season. That house cleaning simply can't be avoided.

Mike Solarte

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