Tyler Horn likes to think of himself as the ultimate big brother. With five younger sisters -- ages 20, 14, 13, 9 and 8 -- he almost has no choice.
"I'm pretty protective by nature," Horn said. "I have a sister who turns 15 in December. She's talking to guys, so I kind of wish I was back home to check those guys out, make sure they're OK. I feel like I could kind of use my size to intimidate them."
Horn, who enters fall camp as the team's starting center, pretty much feels the same way about quarterback Jacory Harris.
Although last season Horn (6-4, 305) hardly saw the field, he's well aware of the pounding Harris took last season. UM quarterbacks were sacked 35 times. Harris took the brunt of the pain. He took a hard hit on his throwing elbow against Florida State, hurt his thumb when he banged it against an opposing players' helmet at North Carolina and tweaked his ankle in the bowl loss to Wisconsin.
While the Hurricanes do bring back four linemen with starting experience, the overall feeling about UM's offensive line is that it is still very young and experienced.
What there is, however, is plenty of size and potential. Coach Randy Shannon has said this might collectively be the biggest offensive line he's ever seen at UM.
He's not lying. After Friday morning's practice, several of UM's big men had a hard time squeezing into the waiting ice baths. At one point, Seantrel Henderson (6-8, 350) and Malcolm Bunche (6-7, 328) had one of the five available rubber pools overflowing by themselves (usually you see at least three big players sharing a pool).
"Those are some big boys," said Harland Gunn (6-2, 315), who noticed the commotion when another big man failed to squeeze in with Bunche and Henderson and was forced out. "Maybe, a little too big."
> Gunn, who was last year's bench press champion in the spring, said he lost his title this spring to Bunche, who chimed in with a 435-pound lift.
> Left guard Brandon Washington said he's shed about 15 pounds from the end of last season and is weighing about 325. "When I first got here last year, I was 340 pounds. I was sluggish," Washington said. "I definitely feel a difference now."
Washington said he made a commitment to a new diet -- baked chicken, vegetables, brown rice and water. He said he also stopped drinking Gatorade.
> After their second practice in shorts, the Hurricanes will hold an open practice for season-ticket holders in shorts and shells (helmets and shoulder pads) at 8 a.m. Saturday.
> Be sure to check out Susan Miller Degnan's feature in Saturday's paper on Marcus Forston.