by Jacob Swiger
It's becoming comical how thin the 2009 Tar Heels' offensive line has become. Starting center Lowell Dyer will miss three to four weeks after straining a muscle in his right shoulder, UNC spokesman Kevin Best said in an e-mail Wednesday.
A senior on the Rimington Trophy watch list, Dyer (pictured) missed the second game of the season against UConn and joins the vast list of offensive linemen who will miss significant time this season. The Heels lost tackle Carl Gaskins to an ACL injury that occured during preseason practice. Backup guard Kevin Bryant left the team, and Aaron Stahl, a former starter at guard and center, decided not to return for his final season of eligibility.
Redshirt sophomore Cam Holland replaced Dyer in the game against the Huskies, and coach Butch Davis talked about Holland on the weekly ACC teleconference.
"I think Cam Holland came in and did a very good job in his first opportunity to get a chance to start a ball game," Davis said. "We’re very young in the offensive line, and as guys get more game experience and more playing experience, our expectations are that they will continue to improve.”
UNC also will be without starting tight end Zack Pianalto for three or four weeks. Pianalto dislocated his foot while celebrating the tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter Saturday against the Huskies. He caught seven passes for 87 yards against UConn -- both career highs for the junior.
Davis said the offense won't change much despite the injuries to several starters.
"We’re not going to recreate the wheel in three days of practice," Davis said. "We’re just going to try to plug some guys in and continue with our identity. I think it would be somewhat detrimental to our entire offensive football team to totally deviate and go in a different direction just because some guys got injured.”
UNC athletics website Tarheelblue.com also announced Wednesday that Carolina will open next season against the LSU Tigers in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.
"While our focus is on our 2009 season, being selected to participate in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against LSU is a wonderful honor," Davis said. "This game is recognized throughout college football as the premier event of college football's opening weekend, and it offers an exciting opportunity for our team, staff and fans.
LSU beat the Tar Heels in five out of the six previous meetings with the latest in 1986. Carolina has not beaten LSU since the first meeting in 1948.