Player Focus: OG Chris Myers

At 6-5 and 285 pounds, junior Chris Myers had a solid season in 2002 and looks to step up both on and off the field this season. The offensive line will be under a lot of scrutiny this season and Myers is determined to make this unit a strength on the team, not a liability. We caught up with him for the latest during the offseason.

What were your overall impressions of the OL in the spring?
I didn't have any doubts that we would find a good rotation coming in. We had open spots to fill after the 2001 season and did a good job last season filling them. I think we had to work on some spots harder than last spring and we did that. Our backups are real young and we did a lot of moving around to see who does best and at what position so that we know that they can step in come game time and perform.

How did things end with all the shuffling once the dust settled?
I think it is tough on the coaches on who to put where. I have no clue to be perfectly honest. I think a lot of the shuffling was not because of guys weren't performing but more to see who can back up certain guys during the season. We have some guys that may have gotten reps at a certain position but it wasn't because they were going to be playing there as their primary position but if asked to come in and replace someone they will be comfortable there.

How did some of the younger guys perform in your opinion?
I think Eric Winston did an excellent job at tackle for his first spring. He has such potential and he does everything with perfect technique. Carlos has a lot of ability too but I think Eric has huge potential there. Rashad Butler has probably the best punch for pass blocking that I've ever seen and Tony Tella is very, very strong and is coming along. Alex Pou, Anthony Wollschlager and Robert Bergman are all progressing and I think their focus needs to be on technique as it doesn't matter how strong you are if you don't have the technique.

How is the OL progressing this offseason?
We are working as a group when the DB's and wide receivers are working out. We are doing our own drills and working as a unit. We work out as a group and not as first and second team. We know that no set spot is taken and we work as a group because of that. I think Joe McGrath is going to be real good this season and both Rashad and Tony will step up too. They just need to work through this offseason and they'll be fine.

Do you have a preference for where you'd like to play?
I don't have a preference. I love playing right guard next to Vernon though. I love pulling on running plays. I also liked playing center, that is a fun position where you get to run down the field and finish. I'd love to play either actually.

Anyone else outside of the offensive line group standing out beyond the expected leaders?
Alton Wright is really making strides in the weight room and I think he'll be ready for the season.

You are taking on a leadership role on this team I hear?
Yes, this is my time to lead and I want players to respect me. I just want us to be better and I'm becoming more vocal to make sure that happens.

The summers are notoriously grueling at Miami. Any different this summer?
No, coach Swasey has actually raised the bar. Guys dread the summer here but they know they will get better because of it for sure. Everyone here wants to work hard and we are working so hard right now it is great to see. We are doing more and more running and for the OL that is good. I'm power cleaning 300, benching 335 and squatting 445 right now but the most important thing is all the running because you're not going to play at Miami if you can't do the running.

What was it that brought you to UM out of high school?
My uncle Dennis played here from '85-89 so I was a diehard 'Canes fan when I was four. I actually committed when I was a junior.

No regrets in the decision I assume?
It has definitely been more than I expected. We've only lost two games in three years so I pinch myself every day. I'm starting for my dream team but I'm a bit used to it now. I wouldn't trade this for anything though.

What are your plans after college?
I am a History major and have a Political Science minor. I graduate in December so I'll be able to start grad school before I leave here. I'd like to continue playing football at the next level if possible and then I'd like to get into teaching or coaching perhaps. I don't really have a specific job in mind right now though.

What are some things outside of football you like to do in your free time?
My girlfriend is on the volleyball team and that pretty much takes up all the free time I have, which isn't very much. We've been together for almost a year and a half now.

What has been the single highlight in your time at UM after the National Title game?
I'd say the screen play by Willis McGahee in the Florida State game. I was out front and took someone out and hit the ground early and when I looked up and saw him taking off I was telling myself that I hoped he'd just score. I was so exhausted at that point (laughing). He didn't score but thankfully Jason Geathers scored on the next play for us.

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