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With injuries mounting, UM coach Al Golden says he doesn't feel good about offensive line depth

According to the roster, the Miami Hurricanes have 15 offensive linemen on the team this season.

But all of those guys certainly aren't practicing right now.

Miami's starting offensive line unit, expected to be one of the best in the country this season with six returning starters (tackles Ereck Flowers, Seantrel Henderson, Malcolm Bunche, guards Brandon Linder and Jonathan Feliciano and center Shane McDermott), remains intact and pretty much 100 percent through the first two weeks of camp. That's the good news.

The bad news? The guys behind them keep going down.

Golden said Wednesday that freshman Hunter Knighton (6-5, 278) will miss the rest of the season following shoulder surgery on Tuesday, and backup guard Danny Isidora, who had foot surgery last week, will be sidelined at least eight weeks. That's at least half the season, not counting recovery time.

New to the injury list this week: freshman tackle Sunny Odogwu (6-8, 318), who was banged up in Sunday's scrimmage, and freshman guard/tackle Alex Gall (6-5, 304). Golden said the plan is to keep Odogwu (knee) out of practice a few days so he regains his health. 

"His MRI came back OK," Golden said of Odogwu. "I guess if we were playing he would be like questionable or probable.

"Gall has an infection in his hand," Golden continued. "It doesn't cause me distress other than getting lined up in practice. I think someone said he got a bite, a spider bite or something that got infected. I don't know the specifics of it other than it blew up on him and we're trying to get him antibiotics to get it settled down."

Although there is plenty of reason for optimism this season with the Hurricanes considering they've got 19 starters back from a 7-5 team, Golden is in mid-camp form these days when asked how he feels about a particular unit or group.

"I do not feel good about the offensive line situation," Golden said. "I say this constantly, but I don't feel good about anything right now. I just think we're not in a situation where we can just sit back and go on automatic pilot and just let the depth take care of itself. We're still growing and learning. In a lot of places we're still not veteran."

Of the four injuries, the one that hurts the most is Isidora. He was clearly the backup at guard if something were to happen to Linder, Bunche or Feliciano.

Senior Jared Wheeler is listed as the backup at center, but could slide over to guard if needed. Sophomore Hunter Wells and redshirt freshman Taylor Gadbois are healthy and practicing, but they were seen as the eighth and ninth guys on the totem poll behind Isidora.


> Receiver Rashawn Scott was wearing a red non-contact jersey at practice Wednesday afternoon. It's unclear when he was injured. But he wasn't wearing any braces on his knee or appearing to be in a great amount of pain.

> Golden said defensive lineman Jalen Grimble asked for his release Monday night from the team.

"Jalen's a great young man. He wanted to make a move," Golden said. "At the end of the day, we released him. We're going to help him any way we can to help him find what he's looking for. The rest of it is private. He's a great kid. There's nothing [troublesome about his departure]. It's just a situation where he wants to move forward. Sad to see him go given our situation at defensive line."

> Grimble obviously saw the writing on the wall after the arrival of four new defensive line transfers this fall.

Asked about how his new defensive linemen looked in Tuesday's practices, Golden said: " I'm excited about all the guys. All of the young guys are trying to make their way in and whether its [Ufomba] Kamalu and those [new arrivals] they're bringing some maturity where we desperately need it. We're not out of the woods yet on the D-line. You guys know that. We've got a long way to go to be the type of defensive line we want to be both in development and then the acquisition. They give us some maturity right now and help us recover from a tough two years in the recruiting end."

> Golden said he wants to see tackling and blocking by his receivers and tight ends improve in UM's next scrimmage Friday. He also said he wants to see Stephen Morris have a better day throwing the football.

"I'd like to see our completion percentage go up," Golden said. "Stephen was much better yesterday as was the offense than it was on Sunday. Our completion percentage can't be as low as it was on Sunday."

> Kicker Matt Goudis was 3-for-3 in Sunday's scrimmage on field goal attempts, connecting on 45, 45 and 47-yard kicks. But he missed a pair in Tuesday night's special teams scrimmage Golden said.

> Golden said he's more than happy with the conditioning level of his kickers. He compared punter Pat O'Donnell to fictional movie villain Ivan Drago of Rocky fame.

> Golden said he likes the competition right now at tight end.

"There's three that are in the rotation. Beau [Sandland], Asante [Cleveland] and Clive [Walford]," Golden said. "Beau has really changed his body and conditioning. He's a different person than he was in the spring."

> Golden said camp will officially close next Wednesday. The team's final scrimmage is Friday.