Kehoe The Reason for Line Success

The Canes now field what many say is the best offensive line in college football, and it's due to coach Art Kehoe. Who remembers back to the 1995 season, at the start of the down years in this program, when the Canes were playing for a share of the conference title against Syracuse?

If so, remember the Canes had six scholarship offensive linemen that day. Six! Meanwhile, the programs at the top of colleg football were competing with anywhere from 15 to 20. Miami and coach Kehoe had six to work with.

Those days are long gone, and all the credit goes to Kehoe, who has to be considered amone the top assistant coaches in all of college football.

Kehoe bleeds orange and green, and has been a part of the UM program for over 20 years.

Kehoe was just beginning his college coaching career when the Canes starting making some serious noise on a national level. He was serving as a graduate assistant on the 1983 team that went on to win the national championship.

Then in 1985, he was promoted to become UM's offensive line coach. Since then, Kehoe has developed several All-Americans at the University of Miami, such as Leon Searcy, who at one time a few years ago was the highest paid offensive lineman in pro football.

He's coached several others who later played on Sundays, such as Indianapolis Colts starter Kipp Vickers.

Kehoe, 44, was probably the one coach who was hit the hardest during probation in recent years at UM. The interim head coach in 1995 when Dennis Erickson left for the NFL, Kehoe was lacking in numbers.

That carried on even after probation was over. Take last offseason for example. Kehoe graduated five offensive linemen off the 1999 team, and when two-a-days started in August, he was playing with just two new offensive linemen.

The current group that Kehoe has rivals any in college football. He molded right tackle Joaquin Gonzalez from a walkon to an All-American. He's the one who convinced Davis to give left tackle Bryant McKinnie a scholarship, despite not being heavily recruited out of the Junior College ranks. His right guard is from his home state of Pennsylvania, where it's very difficult to land players the caliber of Martin Bibla away from Penn State. And Kehoe was responsible for recruiting center Brett Romberg, who started 12 games as a sophomore, from Canada.

Now that Kehoe has more depth and talent to work with, watch out. Despite the fact that Kehoe will lose three of his linemen to the NFL after this season, the future looks brighter than ever. Tackle Carlos Joseph is McKinnie's replacement to protect the blindside of Ken Dorsey next season. Vernon Carey is on the brink of becoming the type of player Kehoe expected him to be at this time when he recruited him three years ago. Redshirt freshmen Chris Myers and Joel Rodriguez were about as impressive on the scout team, in conditioning drills, and inside the weightroom as any redshirt offensive lineman has been in recent memory at UM.

So while Kehoe turned things completely around, going from a depleted unit in '97 to having a dominating unit last season, don't expect things to change anytime soon as long as this guy's around.

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