2008 UNC Season Previews: Offensive Line

Probable Starters: Kyle Jolly (#72), Calvin Darily (#79), Aaron Stahl (#73), Byron Bishop (#76), Garrett Reynolds (#75)

Key Reserves: Mike Ingersoll, Kevin Bryant, Lowell Dyer, Morgan Randall, others

Overview: An offense lives and dies by the offensive line. There’s no getting around it; speedy receivers and powerful running backs can only help you so much if the guards get knocked back three yards behind the line of scrimmage.

How this offensive line will perform this year is a bit of an enigma, especially considering the extremely difficulty one can have quantifying any offensive line with stats. Four out of five starters from last year return in 2008, and everyone is a Junior or senior. It follows logic that the line should play like a veteran, cohesive unit. On the other hand, they didn’t play particularly well in 2007. Carolina had one of the worst rushing attacks in college football, and gave up 37 sacks to opposing defenses. Greg Little, Jamal Womble, and other running backs will definitely help improve those stats, but the line must make leaps and bounds for the offense to be effective.

Kyle Jolly and Garrett Reynolds are the returning tackles, with Calvin Darity returning at right guard. The only newcomer is senior Byron Bishop at left guard. Aaron Stahl is taking the responsibility of playing center after the departure of Scott Lenahan.His development at center will be key to the line’s success this season.

Outlook: This offensive line is now a more experienced unit. More importantly, they’re experienced together, so they’ll definitely improve over 2007. As for where they stand amongst other lines in the ACC…we will have no bleeping idea until September.