It is almost impossible to believe, but in less than two weeks college football will be back filling the airwaves, and in about 10 days it’s North Carolina football’s turn to get back to business, as they host Elon at Kenan Memorial Stadium. With that being said it’s time for me to give you the next installment of my “12 for 12″, the multiple posts segment that talks about the persons/things that need to do their best in order for this season to be a success, no matter what the final record. In this post, the seventh piece of 12, I will be talking about a core of players, one that has been a liability in the past seasons, and might be the biggest asset in this one… the offensive line. Some call the lines, on both sides of the ball, the foundation of a football team. It will be interesting to see how well head coach Larry Fedora and his staff have built this one in the first year at Chapel Hill.Carolina’s O line should be one of the most experienced in the conference, if not in the nation, and needs to step it up in a new offense that the coaching staff has put in place. And while, like other seasons before this one, the line has already had a minor set back when it comes to injuries, as starting center Russell Bodine got nicked up, however he is already back at practice with the first team. Bodine is the only player on the line that is not a returning starter for the Heels, showing how much playing time this group has had in their years in Chapel Hill. With both senior OT James Hurst and OG Jonathan Cooper making the pre season All-ACC team, the latter one also being named to the SI pre season All-American 1st Team, there should be no excuse why this core of players can not be a solid group that will take charge during the 2012 campaign.
In a year that the squad has nothing to shoot for, except for pride, the offensive line could be the catalyst in finding just that. Working on keeping their man under center protected and giving him time to find his wide outs, doing all they can to open the holes for their back, and much, much more could be the things that keep this core motivated and this whole offensive unit moving forward, both on and off the field. This might not be such a hard task to do for a group of players that have plenty of experience, if it was not for the fact they will be doing it while learning a whole new offense and under new coaches. For people that have been watching football, like I have, one of the things I like most is watching how the lines keep working through both tough games and a long and grinding season. With a pair of players in the backfield, quarterback Bryn Renner and running back Giovani Bernard, receiving just one vote in the ACC pre season voting, the line could be the difference between proving the voters right or wrong.
As the coaching staff keeps working towards the first game of the season I am sure they are keeping an eye on how well the offensive is working together as a unit. Without a doubt the starting five are probably all in synch, but what will be key is how the ones behind them are doing, as they will be the future for coach Fedora and his staff. But first thing first, let’s see how well this experienced group those in this season and then worry about the future once the year is over. For more about North Carolina football and/or basketball make sure to come back often to isportsweb!