2003 Outlook: OL

Starters Brett Romberg and Sherko Haji-Rasouli have completed their eligibility at Miami after starting 61 games between them. There are three starters returning this season; Carlos Joseph, Vernon Carey and Chris Myers. This spring, offensive line coach Art Kehoe shifted around the line to try and get the right combination of players.

They did not provide a lot of protection for the quarterbacks in the spring game, nor were there a lot of holes open for the running backs. However, the unit should continue to improve through time and will be ready to go come August.

Eric Winston (6-7, 295) was a highly regarded tight end out of the high school powerhouse at Midland Lee in Texas. As a freshman last year, he caught two passes for thirteen yards while backing up Kellen Winslow. This season Winston has moved to the offensive line and is projected to start at left tackle. He has gained about 30 pounds since his freshman season. Winston should be an asset to the line as he gains experience. His development has impressed coaches and his positive work ethic is desirable.

Vernon Carey (6-5, 350) is back and looking forward to a great senior season this year. He moves from right tackle to left guard and has fit in nicely. Expect Carey to hold down the left guard position and to be a leader on the field. He has tremendous size and strength which allows him to be a good run blocker. Vernon went to Northwestern High School in Miami and did not allow a sack during his junior and senior seasons.

Joel Rodriguez (6-3, 286) is looking to replace former All-American Brett Romberg at center. Rodriguez is a junior from Monsignor Pace High School in Miami where he was a three-year starter. Joel had a good spring and should be the starter come fall. He has improved immensely since arriving at Miami and gained experience when Romberg suffered minor injuries during several games.

Chris Myers (6-5, 276) is another prep star from Miami as he went to Palmetto. Myers is a junior who is looking to start at right guard where he started 13 games last season. He is a very intelligent player with a strong work ethic. During the spring he was shifted to center while Joe McGrath moved to right guard. Myers is a better guard than center but can play either position effectively.

Carlos Joseph (6-6, 334) switches from left tackle, where he started all 13 games last season, to right tackle. Joseph was named to the 2002 Coaches' All-BIG EAST 2nd team. The former Edison High School (Miami, Florida) star possesses tremendous size and quickness. He was a highly touted recruit as an offensive and defensive lineman. Carlos is the younger brother of former defensive tackle star William Joseph.

Joe McGrath (6-5, 292) is a senior from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. McGrath started in one game last season at right guard. This spring he has been shifted in with the first unit playing mostly right guard. He could be the odd man out as a starter this upcoming season but will still get playing time. McGrath was a three-year started at Vanir High School.

Tackles Rashad Butler, Tony Tella, and Derrick Morse should be solid backups this upcoming season. Guards Robert Bergman and Alex Pou possess great strength. Anthony Wollschlager has moved from tackle in high school to center at Miami. Senior guard Jim Sikora is still battling back from injury and missed spring practices. Incoming freshman from Ely High School in Pompano Beach, Andrew Bain and Cyrim Wimbs have a tremendous upside but will have a hard time cracking the lineup and could be potentially redshirted. John Rochford, a freshman from Linwood, New Jersey, might be given the opportunity to be a long snapper.

The offensive line returns three starters and should be a solid unit once the players settle in at a particular position. It is important for them to show up for fall practices August 5 in good shape after the summer. Cohesiveness in the offensive line units is very important and it will be interesting to see how this unit comes together. The development of Eric Winston has been promising and with seniors Vernon Carey and Carlos Joseph leading the way, this unit should provide solid protection for the quarterback and holes for the running back to run through.

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