Countdown to Kickoff: The UNC Offensive Line Preview

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Oct 18, 2014; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels running back T.J. Logan (8) reacts with wide receiver Ryan Switzer (3) and wide receiver Bug Howard (84) and offensive tackle John Ferranto (77) and wide receiver Mack Hollins (13) after scoring the winning touchdown with 11 seconds left in the game. The Tar Heels defeated the Yellow Jackets 48-43 at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Right Tackle

RT 1a John Ferranto (#77) 6-6 295 lbs Redshirt Junior

Ferranto was the starter at left tackle during most of 2014. He switched over to the right side of the ball as Spain came on strong and to give Jon Heck some competition. His battle for the nod at right tackle with Jon Heck will be one of the main position battles of fall camp.

RT 1b Jon Heck (#71) 6-7 300 lbs Redshirt Junior

Heck, a two-year returning starter at Right Tackle, has faced stiff competition with Ferranto switching to the right side of the line. Ferranto’s move stems from Bentley Spain solidifying first team left tackle.

Right Tackle, as of the publication of this article, remains the most “up-for-grabs” starting position on the offensive line. Between Ferranto and Heck, you have two players that have at least a year of starting experience each. However, both players were vulnerable to speed rushers last year and often showed flaws. Either Ferranto or Heck will have to step up to solidify the apparent weak spot on the offensive line.

Comfort Level with the Offensive Line: 3.75

A year ago, I don’t think I would have awarded this group a “2” or a “3.” But, as well all know it, players develop a bunch over a year through study, training and experience. Across the front line, this group must be very effective in establishing a dominating run game for the first time in a couple of years. The road graders are in place, it’s time for the front line to carry out their blocks with nastiness. What concerns me most about Carolina’s is how quick can this team gel both during games and throughout the course of the season. We’ve seen too many slow starts to games and to season on the offensive side of the ball. In order for this offense to click, the play on the line will have to look like it did in the Duke Game last year. The offense rides or dies by the performance of the big boys up front. Time for the Hawgs to get after it!