Miami Hurricanes Preview: Offensive Line

By Mike Tuck
Host, Tuck & O'Neill

Seantrel Henderson was the #1 recruit in America.  He committed to USC, and then backed out and ended up at Miami.  Canes fans saw that as a sign of a program on the rise.  Unfortunately, like Henderson, it has been a sign of inconsistency, frustration, and false hope.

Below is the depth chart for the Hurricanes offensive line.  Nowhere will you see the name Seantrel Henderson.

LT – Malcolm Bunche, Ben Jones

LG – Jon Feliciano, Ben Jones or Jeremy Lewis

C – Shane McDermott, Jared Wheeler

RG – Brandon Linder, Jermaine Johnson or Danny Isidora

RT – Ereck Flowers, Jermaine Johnson

Henderson has faced numerous problems on-field and off since arriving in Coral Gables.  Heading into fall camp, Henderson was projected to be the starting right tackle.  However, Al Golden revealed to the Palm Beach Post’s Jorge Milian that Henderson will likely miss the season opener versus Boston College.

“Seantrel, right now, has to get his house in order before he can help us,” said Golden.  ”That’s the truth.  He’s got a lot of things going on.  I’m going to keep it private with him.  I think I owe him that.  I think he’s got to get himself together and then he can help the Miami Hurricanes.”

So with that out of the way, the Canes offensive line can still be a strength on the team despite losing 3 starters from a year ago, including 2nd team all-ACC LT Brandon Washington and 2nd team all-ACC C Tyler Horn, as well as LG Harland Gunn, who was a 2.5 year starter.

The sophomore LG Feliciano and the junior RG Brandon Linder are returning starters.  Sophomore C McDermott appeared in 10 games as a freshman.  The freshman RT Ereck Flowers has impressed enough to start over the junior Johnson and the senior Lewis, which can’t be a bad thing.  And the sophomore LT Bunche is just a beast, having played through back pain most of his freshman year, is one of the strongest Hurricanes having bench pressed 225lb. 30 times!

The line is physically imposing, averaging 311 pounds a man, with only the center McDermott weighing under 300.  He is the runt of the litter at 6’4″, the others all coming in at 6’5″, 6’6″, and Bunche at 6’7″.  By the way, if he ever plays, Henderson is an intimidating 6’8″, 350.

Canes quarterbacks were sacked 19 times a season ago (5.6% of dropbacks), a number that Miami would like to see improve as that put them in the middle of the pack in the nation in sacks allowed.  The Canes were 80th in rush yards, but an encouraging 47th in yards per attempt.  Miami would like to have a balanced attack, so the line will need to be proficient in both areas.

This year’s line features seven players in the top eleven that were highly recruited players.  4/5 starters are underclassmen, so there could be growing pains, but I believe this unit can be one of the most stable on the team, and Canes fans should be encouraged about the future with this group.

 

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