Overall, the Miami Hurricanes could have, top to bottom, the best offensive line in the country. With senior quarterback Stephen Morris and sophomore running back Randy “Duke” Johnson getting most of the headlines this off-season, this may be seen by some as a shocking statement. However, the Canes return every starter from a very good unit last season, and have shown no reason why they shouldn’t be even better.
The most important position on the line are the tackles, and the left tackle specifically. The starting spot at that position is securely held by Malcolm Bunch. Miami coaches tried again and again to plug senior Seantrel Henderson in that spot. For a variety of reasons, he was never able to stick. Bunch is rock solid in both pass protection and in run blocking. He started every game last season as a sophomore and should do this same this year as well.
Backing up Bunch will be sophomore Ereck Flowers. Flowers saw some time last season and is a quality back up should Bunch get injured. He has not yet mastered the technique and footwork needed to be a starter, but offensive line coach Art Kehoe should have him ready to step in as the full time starter next year.
The right tackle position is occupied by the enigmatic Henderson. After spurning the USC Trojans for the Hurricanes, the ballyhooed high school recruit was being compared to former Hurricane Byrant McKinnie. Thus far, Henderson has just not reached those expectations. From weight and attitude problems to frequent missed practices last summer due to “family issues”, Henderson’s time at Miami has been a head scratcher. He is certainly physically gifted, and if he can finally put his personal problems behind him he could be an absolute beast.
Backing him up will be freshman Sunny Ogdogwu. Ogdogwu is huge. I mean really, really big. At 6-foot-9 and well over 300 pounds, he dwarfs even his offensive line compatriots. He is also very raw. A native of Nigeria, he only started playing organized football two years ago. He will need to be coached up big time, if he expects to see the field next season.
The pressure is on this unit to protect their star quarterback, but if last year is any indication, barring injury, they should rise to the occasion.