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Miami Hurricanes Football 2015 Year in Review: The Offensive Line

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In this series we take a look at everything that went well, went wrong, in between, and what needs to improve for 2016 to be a successful year.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Most disappointing unit on the team??

One can make a case for the defense as a whole being the weakness of the team.

After all, the offense did manage 28,9 ppg and right at 400 yards a contest.

But given the 'Canes talent at the skill positions, including a much better than average QB in Brad Kaaya, RBs Joe Yearby and Mark Walton, and WRs Stacy Coley and Rashawn Scott, those numbers are modest at best.

In fairness, this was a very young unit.

Their 2 deep featured:

0 seniors.

2 juniors in Alex Gall and Danny Isidora

5 sophomores in  Kc McDermott, Nick Linder, Sunny Odogwu (redshirt), Hunter Knighton and Trevor Darling

&

2 freshman in Tyree St. Louis and Joe Brown (redshirt).

And there is talent in the group.  Darling and McDermott were highly recruited, and Linder played spectacularly at times as a freshman.

Whatever the breakdown,  they clearly  under performed this past season.

How bad were they?

Kaaya was sacked 24 times.  Not terrible.

But this is very misleading.  In the Hurricanes biggest games, he was not protected well at all (think back to the punishment he took at FSU, not to mention in the Sun Bowl Vs WSU).

In essence if not for Kaaya's quick release, that number could have been up in the 30's or worse.

The low point....

More bad signs:

The 'Canes finished 117th in the country in rushing offense.

They were 112th in ypc (3.7) and 118th in yards per game.

Now you might be thinking it's because of a heavy reliance on Brad Kaaya.  But in actuality, UM attempted 449 passes this season, and ran the ball 423 times.

That's pretty balanced.

But the ground game never got it going consistently.  These stats looks even worse if you take out the Bethune Cookman and FAU games where they put up some pretty decent numbers running the ball.

If you add to that ineffectiveness the amount of penalties this unit produced (Miami led D1 in penalties as a team, this unit contributing heavily to numbers with Walton alone having  3 TDs called back this season for infractions...you get the drift) and yeah it was a pretty ugly 2015 for the "big uglies."

Bottom line, the offensive line didn't get the job done.  Not even close.

Change is on the way...

Let's be clear on this.

Former offensive line coach Art Kehoe is a legend at the University of Miami.

But it was time to move on.

Kehoe could not get through to this year's group, as evidenced by the penalties, lapses in concentration, and overall effort.

Perhaps no one could have?

And I am not sure I ever understood the rotating of players in and out (perhaps an Al Golden thing, as it seemed to subside some under Larry Scott).

Why not just go with your best 5 all game long, perhaps with an occasional blow, like most teams do?

Moving forward.

A new voice will have a shot this coming season.

Mark Richt brought in former VT O line Coach Stacy Searels to replace Kehoe.

Searels has previously served at Texas, LSU, and Georgia as well.

Here's a look at his personality:

Can he get through to this group and produce a better Hurricanes offensive line in 2016?

Searels will have his work cut out for him, but there are reasons for hope.

Projecting 2016 -

It's very early to try and come up with a starting unit.  But here's what I'd guess it looked like for next season....

LT - Darling Jr.  -  Given he played well as a freshman, there's a chance for a huge bounce back.

LG Tyree St Louis So. - has the size and ability to play tackle, but have a hunch he cracks the line-up to try and get the 5 best on the field.

C Linder  Jr. - Can be all conference with some consistency.

RG Isidora Sr.  - Has all the experience in the world.  Needs to step up.

RT McDermott Jr. - Time for him to live up to the 5 star potential and beat out Odogwu.

With experienced reserves like Odogwu, Brown, and Gall behind them, on paper this isn't a bad unit.

Add to the mix RS Fr.Bar Milo and Hayden Mahoney,  who former offensive coordinator James Coley pointed out were very good for the scout team this past season, and the depth is there.

They'll also like add some freshmen (the 2016 class currently has zero O line verbal commits).

But given the returning players, there is a very good chance this until will be much improved in 2016.

Let's face it, they need to be.

Summary:

The offensive line was offensive in 2015.

Penalties, poor protection, and sub par push were the themes for this unit.

Like much of the roster though, it returns a lot of players who have ability and experience.

The hope going forward has to be the Richt and Searels get through to this group a lot more effectively then Golden/Scott and Kehoe did.

It is hard to imagine they could play worse in 2016 than they did last season.