Cooper said Hurst is one of his best friends on the team, and after playing beside each other all season last year, the two linemen form an imposing left side of the line.
“We are comfortable with each other now,” Hurst said. “We can do our own thing and learn blitzes and trust one another completely.”
Senior Cam Holland brings experience at the center position, making 19 starts during his sophomore and junior seasons.
On the right side, juniors Travis Bond and Brennan Williams will likely start at right guard and right tackle, respectively.
While experience is important, there is no substitute for size on the offensive line — and North Carolina has plenty of it. The starting offensive line averages 319 pounds, a size that could be tough for opponents to overcome.
The Tar Heels will have depth off the bench with senior Carl Gaskins and redshirt freshman Russell Bodine expected to see significant playing time. Cooper also praised freshman Landon Turner for his drive on the field and in the film room.
“We do have a lot of depth, and I think that’s going to be a huge advantage to us,” Hurst said. “I know that was one of (coach Sam Pittman’s) big recruiting goals, to build a 10-man offensive line.”
Most importantly, Renner has the utmost confidence in the men charged with keeping him out of harm’s way.
“In these first seven practices, I have never seen an offensive line like we have just explode off the ball and create holes,” Renner said. “I can’t say enough about them.”
Typically an under-the-radar part of a team, the offensive line has been vocal about their desire to lead the way on offense.
“We want that pressure in order to make our offense go,” Hurst said. “We’re excited about it, and we’re glad the people are seeing it now.”
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