Asim Richards is one of five players with starting experience who return to the offensive line in 2021. Richards played in nine games as a true freshman, then started 11 of 12 games in 2020. Now headed into his third season on the line, Richards and the line are ready to be a strength of a Tar Heels team that has high expectations.
“There’s no difference (from last year) really,” he said. “We just have a lot more people that can come in and contribute. The different thing for me is just working on staying square and placing hands. For the team in general, we have the goal we want to win every game. That’s it.”
Richards says things are coming more naturally to him.
“Last year was a real learning experience for me,” he said. “I just needed to work on staying square with my sets, my placements, keep hands on people, just playing without thinking. That’s coming to me more. The game is slowing down for me so I can play faster without thinking so much.”
Sam Howell has high expectations as well, including being on the short list of Heisman contenders. The line will be tasked with protecting him and his chances to bring home the award hardware.
“It’s no pressure, honestly,” he said. “Just go in and do your job. It’s Sam, so he’s going to do his thing. We just block more. We’ve been doing that for the past year. We’re going to do it this year as well.”
Richards is buying into the expectations for the offense and has set a high goal.
“If we do what we do, we won’t have that much pressure on us,” he said. “We know what we can do. I don’t really feel it. I know the team doesn’t really feel it. We’re going to play, have a good year for everybody, and we’re going to get Sam that Heisman.”