There are plenty of changes and storylines along North Carolina’s offensive line. It begins with new offensive line coach Jack Bicknell taking over for Stacy Searles, who took the same job at Georgia. A new coach brings new coaching techniques, new philosophies, and new ways to motivate and coach his players — if anything, expect a different type of offensive line in 2022. Early reports indicate an offensive line that is more attacking in its pass protection Bicknell coached with UNC offensive Coordinator Phil Longo at Ole Miss, so he understands the Air Raid system and what Longo wants from his line. That should help create a more seamless transition for a unit that lost three starters to the NFL Draft. Gone are guard Joshua Ezeudu and Marcus McKethan and right tackle Jordan Tucker. The Tar Heels do add two veteran transfers Corey Gaynor (center) and Spencer Rolland, who is expected to play tackle.

Despite the changes, there is reason for optimism and room for improvement. The Tar Heels were a Top-20 team nationally in the run game in 2021 yet ranked 128th in sacks allowed (49). Bicknell has said he would like to play 10 linemen, although he acknowledged that eight is the most he’s ever had in a rotation. The left side of the line appears set with veterans in tackle Asim Richards and guard Ed Montilus. Miami transfer Corey Gaynor (28 starts for the Hurricanes) and senior Brian Anderson gives UNC quality options at center, while fifth-year senior William Barnes and five-star freshman Zach Rice are competing at both guard and tackle on the right side. Harvard grad transfer Spencer Rolland is expected to serve as a swing player on the edge to give Bicknell a trio of tackles. Junior Jonathan Adorno and sophomore Cayden Baker are battling for playing time at guard to round out the rotation.

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