Over the past weekend, the Hurricanes and Manny Diaz brought in their new offensive line coach, Garin Justice. This came after previous OL coach Butch Barry was let go after one year.
The Hurricanes struck gold finally! Garin Justice is an impact Coach, Teacher and Recruiter!— Blustein Recruiting (@larryblustein) January 11, 2020
Justice comes to Miami after spending two seasons with the UNLV Rebels, OL coach for both years, as well as offensive coordinator in 2019 on top of his line duties. This past year, Justice’s Rebel offensive line was ranked 51st in the nation, according to PFF, and they were 21st in run-blocking.
Under OC/OL coach Garin Justice in 2019, UNLV's offensive line ranked 51st, according to PFF. The Rebels' run-blocking graded out in the top-25 this past season. pic.twitter.com/Js3VfhLz6V— Josh White (@_JoshRWhite) January 11, 2020
In his final year in Las Vegas, two of Justice’s lineman were named to the All-Mountain West Conference Team, Julio Garcia and Justin Polu.
RB Charles Williams named first-team All-Mountain West, CB Jericho Flowers was second team, and OL Julio Garcia, LB Rayshad Jackson, OL Justin Polu and LB Javin White were honorable mention.#UNLVfb— Mark Anderson (@markanderson65) December 4, 2019
This won't be Justice’s first time coaching in South Florida either, as he spent 2016 and 2017 as offensive line coach for the Florida Atlantic Owls, with the second season under head coach Lane Kiffin.
2017 was a special year for FAU’s offense and it’s OL, as they were top-10 in college football in points per game (40.6) and rushing (285.3 YPG). Justice’s line paved the way for running back Devin Singletary, as he rushed for 1,920 yards. FAU also only gave up 16 sacks that year.
Prior to FAU, Justice spent five seasons as the head coach at Division II Concord University. In those five years, Justice compiled a 40-17 record, with two conference championships and two trips to the Division II playoffs.
He also spent two years in Tallahassee, working as a grad assistant for the Florida State Seminoles and legendary coach Bobby Bowden.
Justice played his college ball at West Virginia, where he was a three-year starter at left tackle for Rich Rodriguez. In 2005, Justice was the team captain when the Mountaineers went 11-1 and captured the Sugar Bowl.
While many Miami fans had to go to Google to find out who Justice was when the hire was announced, he’s definitely someone who new OC Rhett Lashlee wanted. Having played under Rich Rod and coached under Kiffin, Justice is very familiar with the high-tempo offense that Lashlee is looking to run at Miami. While at UNLV, Justice ran a no-huddle system, which is what Lashlee is known for, averaging around 80 plays per game.
Justice comes to UM with a huge workload ahead of him. It’s no secret the Hurricanes offensive line was downright awful in 2019, giving up 51 sacks (3rd most in nation) and ranking 120th in rushing (188 YPG).
What Justice will have to work with is a lot of youth, as well as experienced lineman who haven’t developed the way Miami would’ve liked them to. True freshman Zion Nelson started all 13 games at left tackle, which was Justice’s former position. Then you also have fellow true freshman Jakai Clark who stared 12 games at guard, and redshirt freshman John Campbell who started 2 games.
Justice also has incoming freshman Jalen Rivers, the highly-touted 4-star recruit who looks like he could the LT that Miami has been needing for years. How much production will Justice be able to get out of these young guys?
Reading great things about Jalen Rivers at UA prestige. That dude will be a blessing in a couple years to the Miami offensive line— Big Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) January 1, 2020
Then for the more experienced big guys, Justice will have Corey Gaynor, Navaughn Donaldson and D.J. Scaife. While this line show promise towards the end of 2019, it couldn’t outweigh the dreadfulness that epitomized the entirety of the season.
What is Donaldson and Gaynor doing here.....you know it’s bad when commentator says “wow” watching the offensive line pic.twitter.com/qtdVQfQVTJ— Big Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) October 1, 2019
Lashlee’s offense will naturally have the quarterback releasing the ball quicker, so his system already favors pass protection and the OL. The running game is where Justice needs his unit to make the biggest jump, with talented running back Cam’ron Harris, and now two incoming freshman in Don Chaney and Jaylan Knighton.
Look at the hole that the offensive line creates for Cam Harris. Gaynor, Zion, Campbell. This line continues to improve each week and you love to see it. pic.twitter.com/y3yMPw5Vxd— Big Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) November 11, 2019
While the quarterbacks definitely did struggle in 2019, the Canes offensive line was a major part of why they went 6-7. However, with the success that Justice has had, let’s see if he can work a miracle with this Miami OL.