It has been a week since Phil Longo sent Tar Heel football into a bit of a tailspin with the news that he was leaving for Luke Fickell’s new staff at Wisconsin. Jack Bicknell Jr., who just completed his first season in Chapel Hill, announced that he will be following him to Madison, leaving the Tar Heels searching for their third offensive line coach in as many years. Earlier today, the team announced that they have found the man to take on that challenge and may also point in the direction that the offensive coordinator search could be heading.
Earlier this afternoon, the Tar Heel football program announced that Randy Clements will be taking over as the team’s offensive line coach after spending the past two seasons with the North Texas offensive line. As the team’s offensive line coach this season, the Mean Green ranked 24th nationally in rushing yards (201.7), 20th in tackles for loss (52.0) and ninth in the country in both sacks (11.0) on the way to an appearance in the Conference USA title game. In 2021, with him as a volunteer assistant for the offensive line, the team ranked 5th in the country in rushing yards (234.1), 24th in tackles for loss for loss (62.0) and eighth in sacks (15.0). All of this was done with an offense that strongly resembles the type of offense that the Tar Heels ran these past four seasons under Longo.
Prior to his time at North Texas, Clements was the offensive line coach for an extremely successful Ole Miss offense in the 2020 season that set conference records for total offense. Before that, he spent time with Florida State and Houston. That was his second stint with the Cougars, as he also spent time with them from 2003-07. Both of his stints there proved rather successful, as his offensive line helped engineer some of the nation’s best offenses consistently.
His most successful stint, though, came in Waco, which is just down the road from his native Wichita Falls, TX, from 2008-16. While some of the early years were a little rough as the program rebuilt, he was a part of building the Bears into a team that led the country in both total offense and scoring offense in three consecutive years, joining BYU as the only FBS teams to ever accomplish that feat. During that time, the Bears won back-to-back Big 12 titles, produced 13 All-Big 12 members along the offensive line and six All-American, as well, three of which were unanimous selections. His lines also produced the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year for four straight seasons from 2012-15.
The Clements’ hire is a strong one considering his track record and recent success, but it is a bit of a confusing one. Hiring an offensive line coach before an offensive coordinator is a bold move, but it could be giving us a clearer picture as to who the hire may actually be. Clements’ recent success with Seth Littrell is extremely notable and seems to be the most logical explanation as to where things could be heading. At the least, this shows that the team wants this to be a high-powered air raid based offense, similar to what has been in place for the past four seasons.