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Reviewing it: The O-Line

No, the season isn't officially over. Miami still has to play in the Emerald Bowl on Dec. 27. But even coach Randy Shannon has said the next few weeks are basically the start of 2009. So, in honor of that motto, let's close the chapter on 2008.

Over the next couple of days my plan is to take a look at each unit, from the preseason expectations to what actually happened on the field. I'll give you a breakdown of who did well and who didn't, pick an MVP, a pleasant surprise and a biggest disappointment. And then, we'll peek ahead to '09 and what we should expect.

>THE PRESEASON HYPE: Shannon basically said this was going to be the strength of the team, pointing to the starting experience of four players -- Jason Fox, Chris Rutledge, Reggie Youngblood and Orlando Franklin. The big questions were who would emerge at center, how would the interior of the offensive line do after losing veterans to graduation and would Miami have enough depth to survive the season?

> WHAT HAPPENED: The Canes' Big Uglies didn't turn out to be the strength of the team Jason_foxlike Shannon said, but they survived injuries to both of their starting tackles in Fox and Youngblood and still managed to win key games -- including against ACC champion Virginia Tech when Jason Fox was out. As a unit, UM surrendered 25 sacks (the same as 2007) and with the exception of the Virginia game really didn't draw many holding or false start penalties. Xavier Shannon, who transferred in from FIU, had his moments with a few high snaps at center, but was the only offensive lineman to start all 12 games. The running game certainly slipped a bit, averaging 130 yards -- 15 yards fewer a game than in '07. But part of the blame can go to the injury of running back Javarris James. OVERALL GRADE: B. It wasn't a great year, but a good one -- probably better than what they'll do in 2009.

Xavier_shannon> THE MVP: I got to give it to Xavier Shannon -- high snaps and all. Like I said, he was the only lineman to start all 12 games and he certainly filled a huge need. Where would have UM been this season without Xavier? Jason Fox is obviously the best of the bunch, but even he had a few mediocre moments with holding penalties. He did score a touchdown, however. First UM lineman to score since... shoot he might be the only one.

> WHERE UM SUCCEEDED: With the exception of Chris Barney's injury, Miami's offensive Aj_trumpline battled through injuries and stayed relatively healthy the whole season. Yes, Youngblood played through pain all year. But Jason Fox started 11 games at left tackle and Rutledge played in all 12 games at right tackle, starting 10. Where Miami impressed me the most were in the wins at Virginia (overcoming the Fox injury and a ton of penalties) to pull out the come-from-behind win. A.J. Trump (THE PLEASANT SURPRISE WINNER) came back from two seasons of injuries and proved to be the next best breakthrough player after Xavier Shannon. Trump started the final nine games. Sophomore Orlando Franklin started 11 of the 12 games at left guard and had a solid season.

> WHERE UM FAILED: Developing enough experience for next season. Aside from Fox (33 starts), Franklin (14) and Trump (9), Miami will go into next season with guys who have hardly played. Joel_figueroaFor the fourth year in a row, UM will go into the off-season having no clear-cut front runner for the starting center position. Trump could become that guy, but has become valuable at guard. Sophomore Joel Figueroa could be considered the biggest disappointment. He started three of the first four games of the season, but then appeared to have a drop off even though he played in all 12 games. Matt Pipho played in all 12 games, but didn't see any real action until the final three or four games of the season when Fox went down. Tyler Horn played in two games. And finally, has anyone seen or heard from Harland Gunn? This kid was the nation's eighth best center in the country coming out of high school in 2007 according to Rivals.com. But I'm on the verge of filing a missing person's report. I'm not even going to talk about Ian Symonette.

> THE COACHING: Jeff Stoutland has done a pretty good job getting at least one guy to overachieve in each of his two seasons here. Last year, it was Chris Rutledge. This year it was Trump. You'd think Figueroa or Gunn would have to be that guy next year. Either way, it's going to be another challenge for Stoutland, who obviously didn't have a lot to work with when he got here.

> LOOKING AHEAD TO '09: There's no question Miami is going to have to land some junior college kids who will be able to come in and play right away. Brandon Washington, who was a star in prep school this season after his great run at Miami Northwestern in '07, should contribute some. But there are still going to be major holes to plug -- center AND right tackle among them. Look for the Canes to nab a few guys over the next few weeks. I just don't expect any high-profile names. By the way, right now, Jacksonville's Cory White is the only current commitment outside of Washington who actually started on the offensive line this season. That's why the No. 1 recruiting priority right now is offensive line.


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1st poop

1st poop

Posted by: poop on a stick | December 08, 2008 at 03:50 AM


OLmen? UM's first recruiting priority THIS year. Isn't that what I said LAST year? Now where are we?

Good read...

Recruiting lineman... No Problem!... Do what Saban does. Think Alabama, Recruiting lineman 101...
Look for kids whos name starts with Bubba or Tiny and have ADHD and with Bi-polar disorders. They can be found under street lights at night, stepping on big fat bugs. Before the game... give them lots of candy and tell them their sister just serviced the entire opposing team... LOL

Lineman... I know Randy likes speed but give me the realy big ugly guys... 6'8", 330lbs and wears size 20 cleats...

Had this unit lived up to its expectations, We'd have won 2 more games. Both sides of the line need to be priorities.

The Atlantic Coast Conference becomes the first conference to have ten teams participate in bowl games in a single season as the ACC sends 10 of its 12 conference members to post-season bowl trips led by its 2008 champion--Virginia Tech--heading to the FedEx Orange Bowl in Miami to play Cincinnati of the Big East Conference on Jan. 1 in an 8:30 pm contest that will be nationally televised by FOX.

In addition the Conference posted an all-time best 37-11 record against non-conference foes this season, a .771 winning percentage. Including this year's total, the ACC has had 34 teams go to bowl games over the last four years. No other conference has had more during that time span.

Joining the Hokies, ranked 19th in the final BCS Standings, in participating in post-season bowls this year will be 14th-ranked Georgia Tech (Chick-fil-A), Clemson (Konica Minolta Gator Bowl), Florida State (Champs Sports), 24th-ranked Boston College (Gaylord Hotels Music City), North Carolina (Meineke Car Care), Miami (Emerald Bowl), Maryland (Roady's Humanitarian), Wake Forest (EagleBank Bowl) and NC State (Papajohns.com Bowl).

Manny "The Schlump" Navarra....who is our center, next year..

Shannon will get the recruits we need on the O-line. So far, he has gotten everything he has wanted in recruiting. I am actually very excited about these 270 lb tight ends we've recruited. There is no way they are being recruited to play tight end (we're still after Charles right?). They'll get to college and the strength training alone will get them to 285-290, and a year of weight gain will push them all to 300. Then we'll have athletic lineman that can run, stay low, and don't need to be rotated so much (remember Eric Winston?).

We need some 320+ dudes who have played o-line as well, but I think there is a reason guys like Symmonette have come up short a lot for us. It is rare for a high school kid to get that big that young and be able to move around well enough to keep up with fast college defensive lineman. You need the fat guys in the middle, but the athletic, fast lineman on the sides, and it looks like that is what Shannon is bringing in.

And by the way, I love Shannon using the practice time for this bowl game to work on fundamentals and to prepare for next year, rather than wasting this opportunity spending the extra practices game planning entirely for Cal. I want us to win the bowl, but who really cares about the Emerald City bowl. Get stronger and get better fundamentally, and move towards 9 wins and an ACC crown next year.

Go Canes!

By the way Manny, Shandel is ripping up your wardrobe over on his blog. I've never been kicked out of a bar because my pants were too baggy...pretty impressive.

"No, the season isn't officially over." Yea, it really is.

"UM surrendered 25 sacks (the same as 2007)." What's the excuse this year?

"The running game certainly slipped a bit, averaging 130 yards -- 15 yards fewer a game than in '07." The numbers don't lie. Well actually, the only numbers that conceals the truth is 86.

"By the way, right now, Jacksonville's Cory White is the only current commitment outside of Washington who actually started on the offensive line this season. That's why the No. 1 recruiting priority right now is offensive line." That is downright scary. A good team starts with a great O line and we don't have it, and won't have it for a while. You have to win in the trenches; have to get 3rd and 1/2 and we've been pretty bad with that.

Go back to Lamespace and talk about how Randy is great and the 'Canes are going to be National Champs in 2009. Go spew your propaganda with "The Truth." There's no spin here; we tell it like it is.

Xavier Shannon? Are you blind? He was 4 yards backwards every single play.

The strength of the team was the d line, everything else was bad to fair by Miami standards. It is possible to bring in a lot of O line guys like last yr, the U brought in receivers. Problem is linebackers and d backs were run over ,, when attacked all season. That leaves huge holes to fill in many areas, best hope is that physical maturity and great strength training will progress the weak links to the next level.

Hey Ponce, missed U at the ACC Championship game. Kenny Calhoun and I were looking for U everywhere?


buy space on miamiherald.com ...


documented liar, thief, plagiarist, parasite, megalomaniac, libeler, creep ...


I'm on the outside looking in because of media credentials.

Posted by: 86Cane | June 02, 2008 at 08:35 PM

access denied …


I don't know what's the deal with Figs. When he's in there you seem him blowing up dudes. But then he's asking to come out 3 plays later. I'm guessing he's not in good enough shape at this point. He didn't play poorly, just didn't play enough. That's on him to do what he needs to do to be out there more.

I offered Stock (ITU) and Richardson (SS) several invites to work with us at C_______, but they both declared, all of a sudden, that they are "too busy".

Posted by: 86Cane | August 02, 2008 at 01:07 AM

take a hint …


I have been playing nice because I had invited the UM athletic department and ticket office to snoop around here. I even offered FREE advertising, but they will not even return my emails.

Posted by: 86Cane | April 13, 2008 at 02:52 PM


pegged as an opportunist ...
using Eye on the U to recruit, advertise & leverage manny navarro for access ...


your niche aside …
reviled throughout the Hurricane blogosphere …


THE STRENGTH OF NEXT YEARS team will be the Linbackers of course. Spence is our best player agruably Marcus Forston, I personally love Colin McCarthy just look at his season in 07, and finally Jordan Futch and Arthur Brown the Linebackerss should be on point.

This is a sobering report, especially this:

OVERALL GRADE: B. It wasn't a great year, but a good one -- probably better than what they'll do in 2009.

I think Manny's a lenient grader. I don't think it's a coincidence that the performance of the O-line has been mediocre/poor since Art Kehoe was jettisoned by Coker. We need solid O-line play to let our QBs develop.

Get rid of Stoutland, he sucks! We need o-line development, guys like Gunn and Youngblood never amounted to what was expected of them. Bring back ART!

Just bring back all the coaches from 99-03 (Not Cooker) and Keep Shannon. Lose Shannnon and we lose dade-county

Maybe if 86 hadn't posted everywhere he could that miami was suspending half its team for the first game of the year when it was only 5 guys and named guys who werent even in trouble he wouldn't be persona non grada. Im sorry but why should miami bit at his offer. This guy pretty much smeared the entire team with no proof and expect them to get back to him. Theres a reason no on on this blog likes him anymore. Im pretty sure most players dont either after that poast.

Why would you fire stoutland gib. YOU want to fire all the coaches don't you. Shannon needs 5 years get me. he needs to have time to fix the mess coker made by ignoring south florida. Stoutland has done a great job with mediocre talent. Fire him and miami ol will be in a lot of trouble. Nix maybe i can see i don't think he realizes you run on bad run d and pass against bad pass d not the other way around. Nix coaches scared also at times. I understand if randy keeps him so his qbs have stability but firing a guy who gets his players to overachieve regularly is stupid.

Nix interviewing for Auburn HC position.


WOW even auburn fans and the alumni do even want nix !!!! LOL LOOK


I hope they take him, even as an assitant or somethiig. Please just take him.

Even his ( Nix )own people are saying this:

-Not sure about Garner as a head coach. No way on Nix. Let's get real Charles. What are you doing. Sounds like all this is smoke and mirrors.


You have got to be kidding me Nix! Have they not watched his body of work the past 3-4 years....horrible

DO you coker lovers finally see what he did to the U dynasty? No OL, no LBS, No Playmakers on O, NO qb's for 3 yrs, No DBS, NO DEPTH. Was this the worse job of taking over a top program in the history of ncaa? We are starting from the ground up. We are coming back. Watch, its silent now, but randy is going to reel off some late verbals and we will vault to a top 3 class again.

O Line and D Backs should be top priority in this years recruiting class

It's a done deal guys! My sources have just recieved confirmation that Nix is OFFICIALLY the new head coach at Auburn!

LOL!!! You've got to be kidding me, Nix as a head coach....LOL!!!!

Why is there not talk about Ben Jones being the mix, for playing time on the OL next yr.? Anyone know?

Giving this O-Line a B is a joke.

They deserve a C- at best

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