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2017 Miami Hurricanes Position Preview: Offensive Line

Can the Miami Offensive Line improve enough to protect an inexperienced QB?

Florida Atlantic v Miami

The game of football is won or lost in the trenches. It’s an old adage but it’s true. The teams that win championships have a good offensive and defensive line. The O-Line makes running backs look better, protects QB’s, and allows receivers to get open. A bad O-Line turns QB’s into David Carr, makes backs look like they have ‘no vision’ and limits an OC in their play calling. Over the past few years, Miami’s O-Line has been bad. Not horrid but bad. However, 2017 brings some glimmer of hope.

The Tackles

KC McDermott is definitely a better LT than a guard. That said, I’m not sold on him just yet. However it looks like George Brown (LSU transfer that can finally play) isn’t the answer either. Tyree St. Louis will be the starter at RT. Herbert and Hillery can hopefully redshirt and add technique and proper size. A massive guy with a lot of upside is Tre Johnson- dude has to get on the field and steal a job because at 6’8 300+ there has to be more than just ‘first guy off the bus’ looks to him.

For McDermott, you just can’t have a veteran player with that many snaps causing false starts in critical moments. The era of expecting the #Canes LT position to be dominant has feigned and Miami needs to get back there soon. I did love the reports of him teaching Donaldson the offense though.

NCAA Football: Russell Athletic Bowl-West Virginia vs Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Guards

The starting guards to end spring looked like Trevor Darling at LG and Navaughn Donaldson at RG. Darling seemed to be under fire from Coaches Searles and Richt while Donaldson received big praise. Knowing Gus Felder- he’s high on Donaldson, that’s his kind of kid. One of Linder and Gauthier will round out the “next man in” at guard and Jahair Jones and Hayden Mahoney being there for far depth.

With one of the centers backing up guard I think that’s enough depth for minor injuries but one of the freshman between Hillery, Dykstra and Herbert will have to play, or Gaynor to guard, if depth becomes a serious issue.

The Centers

If Gauthier can beat out Linder that’s a good sign because I think Linder can bounce back post surgery for his senior season. Linder has a lot of experience at the position and Gauthier could play a Gall type role and play above his means to get this O-Line opening lanes for Mark Walton. Corey Gaynor is the player I’m really high on and hope he can steal a starting role but the more complicated offensive schemes get the harder it will be for a freshman to start at center right away. Either way, it’s a great trio to have with experience and upside.

NCAA Football: Miami at Appalachian State Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports