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Miami Hurricanes Football Needs Offensive Line to Step Up

Through two games the 'Canes big guys have produced mixed results. For 2015 to be a step up season for the program, they need to find chemistry and dominate going forward. Plus injury update.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

We all knew coming into the season that the UM offensive line was going to have question marks.

Gone from the unit that was so sturdy last season: Ereck Flowers, Jon Feliciano, and Shane McDermott (all in the NFL).

New starters Alex Gall, Sunny Odogwu, Nick Linder, and Trevor Darling (though the latter two got plenty of game experience in 2014) were going to need some time to gel.

Through two games they have helped RBs Joe Yearby and Mark Walton combine for 313 yards and 6 TD's against lesser name opponents Bethune-Cookman and FAU.

There's been a few excellent moments as well.

But the holes haven't always been huge.

And Brad Kaaya is taking more hits and having to move more in the pocket then he ever did last season.

Case in point the play below.   Sophomore Trevor Darling gets beat bad on a simple speed move.  Kaaya has to step up and deliver his pass off balance and with an Owls defender draped on his shoulder.

Only the poise and quick feet of the 2014 ACC Rookie of the Year prevent disaster and allow the big gain.

"We have to protect him a little better,"  Golden pointed out this morning.

Darling especially has to do a better job with both his feet and hands to prevent these type hits.

And there's been a fair share of mental mistakes too:

Against the bigger, faster, and better teams on the schedule these shortcomings can kill drives, or worse yet kill your QB.

This weekend the Cornhuskers feature two outstanding DTs in Vincent Valentine Jr. and Maliek Collins.

As Coach Golden pointed out on today's ACC Coaches teleconference, "they (Nebraska) get a lot of penetration and can rush the passer with just there front four."

Interior lineman Linder, Isiadora, and Gall really need to be at their best.

Later in the season they face some serious players as well, including Daddi Nicholas (best name ever) and Luther Maddy of Va Tech, Shaq Lawson of Clemson, and GT defensive tackle Adam Gotsis.

The UM big men need to find their groove, and they need to find it fast.

I've always said the quickest way for any team to self destruct, is to have serious deficiencies along the O line. You can mask a lot of problems with a roster through scheme, and team speed.

But if the guys protecting your QB aren't up to par, things can go downhill in a hurry.

The first two games on Miami's schedule probably weren't fair indicators of how good this unit can be, as one the one hand they haven't had a lot of work together and one the other the competition hasn't been too stiff.

And players like Kc McDermott (who's seem action at both T spots with the starters), Linder, and Darling are clearly talented.

But starting Saturday we'll have a better idea of what Art Kehoe's group can do. Certainly Golden recognizes the importance of the unit.

"Kc (McDermott), Joe (Brown), Hunter (Knighton)  all need to get better.  We're challenging them everyday. We're fighting and scraping. They need to be strong and stay together."

If the results aren't positive this weekend, the promise of what could be an explosive offense and in the bigger picture a great season, could go down in a heap.

Injury Update: Al Golden says Braxton Berrios will not play vs. Nebraska. Everyone else is good, including Stacy Coley and Juwon Young.