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Calm amid the storm -- that's been Jason Fox

Left tackle Jason Fox enters his senior season with 36 career starts. The rest of UM's offensive line (Orlando Franklin 14, AJ Trump 10 and Joel Figueroa 4) has 28 combined.

He's blocked for two head coaches, three position coaches, three offensive coordinators and four different starting quarterbacks in three seasons at the University of Miami.

To say Jason Fox has been through a lot since arriving from Fort Worth North Crowley High School in Texas would be an understatement. But the truth is, if there has been one constant for the Hurricanes over the past three up-and-down years -- one real good constant -- it's been No. 64.

Jason Fox has been around for some ugly football at Miami. But with 12 more starts, he'll match Richard Mercier for the most career starts by a Canes offensive lineman. Fox has started 36 games at left tackle (it would have been 37 if he hadn't gotten hurt at Virginia) and has been the one familiar, calming voice in Miami's offense three years running. And if not for all the losing, he would probably be a lot more recognized than he is today.

Despite being among the few players in the country entering their senior season with more than 30 starts, finding Fox on any Preseason All-American lists can be as challenging as playing Where's Waldo. Some magazines don't even have him on the ACC's Preseason First Team.

Fox (6-7, 310) isn't complaining. He'll be the first to tell you his experience of mediocrity with the Hurricanes isn't what he signed up for when former offensive line coach Art Kehoe convinced him to come to Miami instead of signing with Texas A&M or Oklahoma State. But eventually, somebody is going to have to take notice of what Fox has done at Miami. Because he hasn't just been just good, he could make some Canes history this season.

If he stays injury free yet again, he'll match Richard Mercier and Mike Sullivan for the most career starts ever by an offensive lineman (48). If the Canes make it to the ACC Championship and then a bowl game, he'll tie William Joseph for the most career starts ever by a Cane (50).

"That would mean a lot to me," Fox said. "When I was a freshman I actually added it up. I definitely set that as one of my goals and now we can do it."

But individual goals aren't really what Fox is about. What matters more to him is being one of the leaders to break UM out of its funk. Truth be told, Miami is beyond lucky Fox is around. Because even with him, their offensive line situation isn't pretty.

Beyond junior guards Orlando Franklin (14 career starts) and Joel Figueroa (4 starts), and senior center AJ Trump (10 career starts), offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland has a group of college football virgins to break in this year. Senior Matt Pipho, penciled in as the starter at right tackle, saw his most action in four years last year when Fox went down against Virginia. But by the time Fox was back after Virginia Tech, Pipho was the fourth man on the offensive tackle rotation.

Jason Fox believes AJ Trump and Matt Pipho, expected to be two new full-time starters, will be able to handle the pressure of playing in the ACC The rest of UM's offensive line has about as much college football playing experience as I do. Redshirt sophomore Harland Gunn played sparingly against Charleston Southern, then went back to the scout team. Ditto for sophomore Tyler Horne. Redshirt freshman Ben Jones missed most of the season with an arm injury and began his first real college work this spring. The rest of the group? Freshmen. Tackle Jermaine Johnson and guard Brandon Washington come highly regarded and enrolled in January. But both were in prep school last year. Cory White, working at tackle, and Jared Wheeler, working at guard, are fresh out of high school.

It sounds daunting -- especially when you consider UM's first four opponents were all ranked among the Top 25 nationally for sacks last year. But Fox, somehow, has faith. When asked about his buddies Pipho and Trump, who have never had to be "the man," Fox exudes confidence.

"They've had playing experience, but it's different when you're out there all game long," Fox said. "They've been waiting for their opportunity and now they've got it. They're not going to take anything for granted. They're working hard."

But it's going to take more than hard work to protect quarterback Jacory Harris -- and Fox knows that. He's trimmed more fat off his body from the end of last season and improved his strength numbers. Among offensive linemen, his 455 pound squat ranks third and his 308-pound power clean is second.

And even if sports writers and magazines haven't noticed him, the NFL has. Among the seniors in the 2010 NFL Draft at tackle, he currently ranks 11th and projects to be between a fourth or fifth round pick.

Of course, that matters little to him in July. What he wants more than anything else is to leave this rocky place a little more sturdy than when he got here.

"I know a lot of younger guys look up to me," Fox said. "I've played so much here and started so many games. I welcome that role. I want that role. I think I try to lead by example and when the time comes I have to speak up. The great thing about us is we don't have guys that are scared to do that. I think this senior class gives us something we haven't had the last couple years."

No Jason, this team has always had it. It's just been hard for some people to spot you amid the mess.

Comments

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Fox should be a 1st rounder in 2010.

uno

Fox has been a mountain of positive energy and progress as a team leader and good example, for the younger Hurricanes.

No doubt this guy will be playing on Sundays next year.

His energy, example, and enthusiasm will lead the way for this OL and for the team. He'll be one of the keys for the big turnaround that's coming this year, both on and off the field.

GIVE 'EM HELL, JASON!!!!

Is losing Kent gonna hurt us. HE was an ESPN 150 CB< bot got beat by our own Jamal Reid in the allstar game? We are under the radar, like 1999, when we got all our young talent back, and then put it 2gether in 2000.

THE U BABY

I have always loved Fox. As prospect after prospect underachieved or transferred, this guy has been a rock. Now that he's a senior, it would be nice for this team to string a couple impressive wins together so that Fox can get recognized a bit more nationally. No reason, with our schedule, that he shouldn't have the opportunity to impress enough to get into the first round.

Of course, winning would be nice period. Go Canes.

It all happens on the offensive front. A good performing O-line makes everyone look really good. Running backs all of a sudden are tearing for 13 yards a pop, QB with time in the pocket looks like an All-Pro. The U has to continue to recruit the best of those big boys up front for it to have any chance at a comeback. And someone should kick whoever put together this upcoming season's first half season schedule where the sun don't shine. Kick hard!
Go Canes!

Va. Tech, and B.C. seem to be up at the top of the ACC every year,without a highly touted freshmen class to go with it. Yet you watch them play 2 things really stand out to me. One they play hard every down, two they are very well coached. I hope the canes can follow their example this year.

I think Kyle Wright would have been very good with Fox and a good o-line. Thank Coker for that one. Dont recruit and fire Kehoe. Dumb idiot.

Its very clear to see everyone has a sour taste in their mouth from Art Kehoe being fired. He was the epitome of Miami Hurricane football. Legal issue's, and suits against the school after his firing has made it next to impossible to bring him back as he is seen as a enemy to the University now, as they have been black balling him with other programs in regard to his reputation and professional work. Sad situation for a good man that could really be helping our program. Miami is where Kehoe belongs. I hope that the University can just swallow its pride and do the best thing for students, players, fans, and alumni.

Just came back from a visit through the Ivy leagues- Obviously not in thesame class as UM in athletics. But one thing stood out to me:

Stadiums. These pi$$-nt little schools and bastions of intellectual excellence all have s-t-a-d-i-u-m-s!!!!!!!
WHY CANT THE U HAVE A STADIUM?


DONNA SHALALA AND BOARD OF TRUSTEES: BUILD THE U A STADIUM!

Hey, Mr. "BUILD THE CANES A STADIUM"

You must be a Gaturd agent provocateur. You damn well know that for a myriad of reasons that there will NEVER be an on-campus or Canes-only stadium. How about a little course in Economics 101.

Nice try in trying to stir the pot up so you can come back later and mock the "shark" or the removable ring of honor. Dolphins stadium is just fine, thank you, and it's there we'll win our next NC.

Now go back to your Hogtown boards.

Canescanes canes- Pessimists like you will never succeed. There are ways. Go to the Hecht. Check outthe land (including the practice fields and lots). Measure it out (I have). A 55 K bowl-type stadiumlike VT's is more than doable. Excuses excuses excuses. One excuse I had heard before is that the cityof Gables wouldnt allow it. Then build it somewhere else!

Calculate out the $ that the school would make... It would pay itself off in 10 years!

There's too much traffic in this area for a stadium. It would be a disaster.

BUILD THE CANES A STADIUM???

Really?
An on campus would take a huge chunk of land from the school. No more beautiful green tropical campus. Additionally, the traffic would be a nightmare!

How are we going to fund said project?
Seeing as how the school is cutting jobs and costs as it is. IT would not "pay for itself" just look at how much $$$ the city of Miami is putting into Marlins Stadium. They don't expect profits for decades!

Build it somewhere else?
We already play in one of the nicest stadiums (pro or college) in the country. It's easy to get to, good parking, and a more centralized in location in South FL.

True Hurricane fans have always followed their team from the Orange bowl to the Rose bowl, and now Landshark. I'll be there with my season tix.

 Dolphins stadium is just fine, thank you, and it's there we'll win our next NC.  Posted by: canes canes canes

let me straighten U out on something.
It' proper name is University of Florida Championship Field at Joe Robbie Stadium. The UF name will be around MUCH longer than the HOKEY Landshark name. Time to dryclean you Starter jacket canefan.
Eventually we'll shorten it to U.F.C.F.
When U slam 79k fans in, we'll talk.

The look on Fox's face after the bowl loss says a lot about this guy. Clearly he cares about winning and losing. Hope he has a great season...we need him to.

When U slam 79k fans in, we'll talk.

Posted by: It suks to be UUUUUUU | July 13, 2009 at 12:27 PM


You talk about 79k people at your stadium, your school (our safety school) is 4 times bigger than ours; Obviously you have more fans... but we STILL have more championships! Think about that one. The U is where it's at!

GO 'CANES!!

The reason they have 79k fan is because it isn't anything else to do in Gainesville.

People flood in from ALL OVER the state. Thousands from out of state.

U are a dumb honk.

UM game at UFCF? Not so much

Further, we packed 79k (small Gator crowd) into University of Floruda Championship Field aka Landshark. We pack 95,000 people into Ben Hill Griffin U dumb cane honk.

They removed your temporary removeable plastic ring of honor when we ROCKED Oklahoma. They are going to smack U around GOOD!

You won ONE championship there, and you think it is your field??! You really are a moron. And foodstamp?!?!

I'll give you one thing, you have a bigger stadium. And South Florida fans are not always there when you are losing, but they are much classier and smarter!

You mean foodstamp UF??? I think there are MANY more people at uf that are on foodstamps than at the U. Go pack to your trailer.

The dumb foodstamp cat can't even spell Florida and u call urself a fan lol, typical gaytour nation trash.

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